Game industry dodges real economic bullets with virtual success

The game industry has been growing exponentially in past years, but recent layoffs at Black Box, Propaganda and other Canadian studios show that gaming isn’t immune to the economic malaise gripping the globe.

But according to a new report from Vancouver Film School, which has branched out from narrative into new media and become a hub of digital learning, the gaming industry is still in good shape and will continue to grow.

The report studied the 162 graduates from the school’s Game Design program since its first graduating class in 200. Of those grads, 84 per cent are currently employed in the game industry, and over 50 per cent of respondents will earn between $40 to 60K in 2009. Over 93 per cent of those surveyed said they enjoyed their work and 90 per cent were positive about their long-term career opportunities in the industry.

According to the report other positive industry trends that should help buoy the industry through tough economic times include an increased focus on the mass market and casual games, a move to cooperative game experiences rather than intense competition, and and the continued huge growth of massively multiplayer online games.

In addition to the VFS report, the Vancouver Sun recently reported that Ubisoft has just acquired Vancouver-based Action Pants, a 110 person Yaletown based game company set to release its first Wii game this year.

All these topics and more will be discussed at the Game Design Expo, where VFS will supply copies of the report for participants.