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Canada becomes third-largest game industry employer

April 8, 2010

The South Park movie may have wanted us to blame Canada, but anyone into video games should maybe bite their tongues when that country comes into the conversation. The Financial Post, a Canadian business newspaper, is reporting that the Electronic Software Association of Canada (ESAC) has released a study saying more than 14,000 are directly employed by more than 247 Canadian video game companies.

The Post said if related jobs such as those in retail and transportation are included, the number increases a great deal. At 14,000, Canada is now the third largest employer in the video game industry behind the U.S. and Japan.

Danielle Parr, executive director of ESAC, said to the Post that most jobs in the video game industry are high-paying software development jobs. Statistics obtained by the Post from Statistics Canada say that 138,000 people were employed as computer programmers and interactive media developers in Canada in 2008. Comparing that number to the ESAC number shows that 10 percent of Canada’s software jobs are in the video game industry.

“We are producing the third most video games in the world and if you look at it on a per-capita basis, that is unbelievable,” said Ms. Parr.

The Post said that Parr is using the results of the study to move toward having more education programs geared towards training video game developers. “As in any booming industry, finding top-notch talent is getting hard and competition among video-game makers is fierce,” Parr said.

The ESAC study says Canadian video game developers hope to increase their employee count by  as much as 29 percent by 2011.

Canada’s tax incentives has led them to being the home of the world’s two largest video game development centers: the Electronic Arts campus in Burnaby, British Columbia, and the Ubisoft campus in Montreal.

“Talent really is the most important ingredient,” said Ms. Parr. “Without talent, all of the tax incentives in the world aren’t going to help.”

The full story by the Financial Post has additional information on this topic.

[Thanks to GamesIndustry.biz for the heads up.]

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