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Canadian Video Game Industry Growing Rapidly

The Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC) published a report on the current state of the Canadian video game industry.

Canada’s Entertainment Software Industry in 2011 can be downloaded from ESAC’s web site.

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Unedited press release follows:

Canadian Video Game Industry Shows Sustained Growth

TORONTO, May 30, 2011 – Approximately 16,000 artists, innovators, and designers are employed by the Canadian video game industry according to a new report from Secor Consulting released today by the Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC). Over the past two years, despite the economic recession, the industry grew by 11% annually and is projected to grow more rapidly over the next two years at 17% per year.

With nearly 350 companies, Canada’s video game industry is conservatively estimated to contribute $1.7B to Canada’s economy. The Canadian video game industry remains the third largest in the world, or in first place on a per capita basis based on the employment levels in other countries. Quebec leads the Canadian video game industry with over half of the country’s jobs and a high proportion of large game developers and publishers located there.

“Canada is a dominant player in producing world-class entertainment. Accordingly, the video game sector plays a key role in the development and health of Canada’s advanced digital economy,” said Danielle Parr, Executive Director of ESAC, the trade association for the Canada’s computer and video game industry. “Not only is this industry a net job creator, but it’s providing knowledge-intensive, challenging jobs that pay well above the national average,” she added.

The research found that the average salary in the Canadian video game sector ranged between $40,000 and $73,000 per year, compared to the $29,000 median income in the rest of the Canadian economy. Jobs in the video game industry tend to be held in the majority by younger workers.

Parr highlighted the Canadian video game industry’s success as a full-service hub for video game development in a speech today at the Empire Club in Toronto. She noted that this success is the result of a mixture of factors including well-established expertise in video game development, access to highly skilled and adaptable workers, a rich ecosystem of video game development and support facilities and economic factors, comprising of government programs and a traditionally favourable exchange rate.

“Canada is a powerhouse in the global video game production industry, but we need to be vigilant as the industry evolves to ensure that infrastructure and policies keep pace so we can maintain and extend our leadership position,” said David Tait, Partner at Secor Consulting.

Danielle Parr also underlined the need for governments to remain alert in its approach to ever-changing digital industries:

“Issues like labour mobility and intellectual property protection are central to the video game industry’s continued success. Without a competitive and harmonized operating environment, Canada’s attractiveness as a jurisdiction for globally integrated companies can diminish quickly.”

ESAC is the voice of the dynamic and growing video and computer game industry in Canada. Association members include the nation’s leading entertainment software developers and publishers including Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Activision Blizzard, Microsoft Canada, Nintendo of Canada, Sony Computer Entertainment Canada, Disney Interactive Studios, THQ, Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment, Ludia and Take Two Interactive, as well as distributors Solutions2Go and Team One Marketing.