In recent years, the expansion of pre-existing companies, and the creation of new ones, in Canada has sky-rocketed, particularly in the gaming industry. In fact, Canada has the third-largest video game industry in the world (second to the US and Japan), and employs approximately 20,400 people, in 472 companies across the country. It is also beginning to be seen as the rival to film and television companies as a leading contributor to the economy, which is unsurprising as, in 2015, over $3 billion was added to Canada’s GDP just from this industry. But why is it so popular for these companies?
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One reason is the generous tax incentives that are provided in the region of Ontario. With the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC), eligible businesses could receive up to 40% of the money spent on artists, developers, and marketing costs back. And for an industry that requires huge numbers of all these things, that is a very serious saving, one which companies would be very enticed by. The OMDC also offers a grant, called the Interactive Digital Media (IDM) fund, which can cover up to 50% of a project’s budget – it has been extremely successful and, in 2014, it was reported that 23 Ontario-based gaming companies received this grant.
For many years, Canada has simply been seen as America’s ‘friendly neighbor’ but as more and more companies expand, Canada’s position on the world stage becomes stronger. There is an increasing number of companies also accepting and offering Canadian dollars as well as American. This has become especially common with online casinos, for example, CasinoGames.ca, who list casinos that offer deposits and withdrawals in Canadian dollars. This is also an unsurprising development; in 2017 alone, it was reported that Canada earned $17.3 billion in gambling revenue alone, so it’s understandable why online gaming sites would want to tap into that market.
And it isn’t just companies that are moving. Students and scientists are arriving in Canada in record numbers, which will also be attractive to younger or start-up businesses as they will have a larger pool of both developers and clients at their fingertips – a new generation of game developers, and a purchasing audience all in one. With an estimated half a million international students studying in Canada by 2022, it makes sense for businesses to secure a foothold in the country and grow as the population does too.
It is also interesting to note which gaming sectors are doing particularly well. If we look at the 2100 projects completed since 2015, most game platforms saw a small but definite increase. For example, console games saw a growth of 5% and web-based games grew by 8% but, in contrast, mobile games decreased significantly, going from 65% (2015) down to 29% (2017). This matches the global decrease in mobile game development but is still relevant when looking at who is doing well in Canada.
Overall, it seems that one of the main benefits of Canada is how much funding is poured into various projects, teamed with the overall increase in power of Canada’s economy over recent years.
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