A new document from the Entertainment Services Association of Canada (ESAC) has shown the vast impact of the games industry on the country's economy. Some of the stats make for incredibly good reading.
The video gaming industry now has 596 studios, up 21 per cent since the last time the stats were collected in 2015. Jobs are up too with over 40,000 people now employed, either directly or indirectly, due to the industry, up 11 per cent.
A lot of this is also local business as 87 per cent of all the studios are owned and controlled by Canadian companies. While its share of the overall economy is down in revenue, the games industry now makes up $3.7 billion to Canada's GDP every year. Not only is that figure up 24 percent since 2015 but the industry is growing faster than the rest of the Canadian economy (4 per cent).
“As we’re seeing this sector grow and evolve with new technologies and trends, it’s also playing a central role within a critical innovation ecosystem,” said the ESAC’s president & CEO, Jayson Hilchie.
“Although the share of the industry that develops games for mobile devices has reduced, Canada is still a powerhouse in Web, console and PC game development. With VR/AR development now finding its footing, the industry is embracing new ways to stay relevant with evolving consumer demands.
"The diversity of companies within the industry is part of its strength. We have Canadian owned and controlled companies and multinationals of all sizes, a variety in the specialities and genres they develop, and strong connections with other emerging sectors like VFX and innovative start-ups.”
The mention of multinationals is an interesting point and one that might be of keen interest to British observers. The larger studios in Canada are owned by US or European based publishers, which means they are also hiring the largest workforce. 87 per cent of all employment in the Canadian games industry is from non-Canadian companies.
As the reality of Brexit edges ever closer, it's interesting to see how foreign investment and offices in the industry help an economy. As mentioned by Rick Gibson at this week's Future Games Summit, the lower value of the pound and the importance of London as a trade centre can make opening a studio in the UK very appealing to foreign companies. King and Rovio are just two examples of development companies who have opened a London studio in the last 24 months.