Country is largest producer of games per capita, claims report

Game industry worth $2.3bn to Canadian economy

A new report claims Canada is the world’s largest producer of video games on a per-capita basis, with games accounting for $2.3 billion of the nation’s GDP.

President & CEO of the Entertainment Software Association of Canada Jayson Hilchie revealed the findings of the survey in a keynote address at the Ottawa International Game Conference, and claims the research shows that Canada’s game industry is still growing.

“This industry – with its marriage of high-skill creative, artistic and technical disciplines – is a source of national pride,” said Hilchie.

“Many people are still surprised to realize that Canada is the largest producer of video games on a per capita basis, producing critically acclaimed video games on nearly all platforms and enjoyed all over the world.”

The survey was conducted by Nordicity, and asked Canada’s 329 reported studios what they thought of the future of the industry.

“Video game developers and publishers have a positive outlook on the future,” said Hilchie.

“Four out of 10 respondents expect to grow by over 25 per cent in the next 24 months, while 17% expect to grow by 15-to-24 per cent in the same period. Although there have been studio closures and shifts in the types of games produced here, there is an optimism about the future of the industry in Canada.”

The majority of studios, 84 per cent, are working on mobile games, with 66 per cent working on PC games, and 48 per cent working on console games. Web and social games accounted for 46 and 29 per cent respectively.

Console development might not have as many active studios, but this could be due to the larger budget requirements.

Mobile developers reported an average per-game budget of $300,000 for a team of seven working for 156 days, as compared to an $8.7 million average budget for console titles which took 65 workers 583 days to complete.

Though much of the news about the Canadian industry in recent months has to do with layoffs and closures in Vancouver, games companies still employ thousands.

“There are 16,500 men and women working full time in Canada’s video game industry – up five per cent from where we were in 2011,” said Hilchie.

“But our industry is responsible for generating employment for approximately 27,000 people across the Canadian economy. These are high paying jobs – paying on average just over $72,000 – going to young workers in creative/artistic disciplines, technical fields and business/administrative functions.”

The full report is expected to be released this summer.

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