Ontario Continues to Expand Digital Media and Gaming Industry

Ontario’s digital media industry appears to be thriving. Notable expansions in the space include growing offices from the likes of Google and Electronic Arts: for example, Google’s Kitchener headcount has grown from 35 employees in 2008 to over 200 today, including local graduates from the University of Waterloo. Meanwhile, EA has decided to move offices in order to accommodate a growing team.

 “Ontario continues to score with top talent and financial incentives,” says Bill Elliot, Integrative Trade Consultant for Canada’s Technology Triangle in Waterloo Region and a member of the Ontario Technology Corridor. “Ontario also has a tremendous team of home-grown all-stars fed by 22 colleges and universities that produce 18,000 graduates per year from 174 specialized digital media programs including 3D animation, film studies, advanced computer programming, math, and hardware engineering.”

Research and development tax credits, from both federal and provincial levels, give Canada favourable tax treatment on a global scale. This has led to many success stories: Ottawa startup Magmic plans to double its game production this year and expand its 55-employee workforce by 20%, and both France-based Gameloft and New York-based Arkadium are opening Toronto offices.

“We remain at the top of our game by partnering with jurisdictions like Ontario where there is a real interest backed by sound policies to make the gaming sector a strong contributor to the economy and the creation of jobs,” said Gameloft’s General Manager for Canada, Mario Poulin.

“Ontario is well positioned to compete with other jurisdictions that are trying to attract gaming firms and we have a lot to offer,” affirms Darius Basarab, Senior Business Development Specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation. The OMDC IDM Fund has contributed $7.7 million to 76 projects with budgets totaling $32.7 million.