What Gaming Means to the Canadian Economy

Although there is conflicting data about how large the gaming industry really is, we know that gaming is a large part of Canada’s economy and is expected to grow.

Data prepared by Secor Consulting states that the gaming industry employees 16,000 people and generated $1.7 billion in economic activity in 2011.

It’s true that the gaming industry in Canada is now the third biggest in the world. Here’s a look at how gaming fits into the economy in Canada.


The gaming industry provides high-quality, high paying jobs that on average pay $40,000 to $73,000 annually.

In addition to those developing, selling and marketing video games at video game companies there are other jobs needed for things like artwork, animation, IT support, motion capture and quality assurance and testing.  


Canada has the third largest video game industry behind the United States and Japan. Part of this can be attributed to the fact that several large and influential studios are either based there or have divisions there.

Companies like EA, Ubisoft, Bioware and Rockstar all have one or multiple offices in Canada, along with many other smaller companies. Canada’s advantage over other countries is that they host a variety of full range development studios that also include middleware, quality assurance and testing, motion capture, audio services, acting and voice-over, animation, and interactive design making it fully comprehensive.


Canada has started to boom in the gaming industry for many reasons. As a multicultural society, Canada has language and cultural overlaps with the U.S., Europe and Asia. Availability of qualified personnel is also a key factor.

Canadian educational programs have produced well-trained talent, which is essential to the success of a video game studio.  It also helps that Canada’s major cities are desirable places for this talent to live. A high quality of life, thriving downtowns, and affordable condominium and rental markets all aid Canadian gaming companies to recruit the high quality talent they need.

Canada has been able to provide publishers the ability to build and test components locally and because they don’t outsource they’ve been able to create more jobs. Keeping jobs at home means the turnover rate for R&D production is much faster than it would be in many cases. Canada’s government has offered incentives for video game companies which makes it an appealing industry for many to get into. For starters, they have developed a tax incentive credit rewards and/or cash refunds for R&D related projects.


When it comes to the actual gamers themselves, the average age of a gamer is 33 years old. It used to be that only teenage boys were the ones playing video game; now 59% of all Canadians are gamers. Women make up 38% of that percentage.

The most popular types of games are card, puzzle, arcade and word games for moth men and women. 30% of Canadians play video games every day, while 45% of them play a few days per week.

The industry remains concentrated around traditional console game development and publishing with 68% of all employees working on these types of games.  This is changing because the share of the development of other types of platforms, for example social gaming and mobile gaming.

Besides social and mobile gaming increasing, cloud-based games ranging from vast immersive worlds with thousands of other players are also on the rise.

Canada plays a major role in the gaming industry in terms of amount of activity, talent and resources. It’s not only the video gaming companies themselves that make up the industry it’s also the other creative services like artwork, animation which all contribute to the total economic impact.

With an 11% increase over the past two years and an expected 17% of growth over the next two years, Canada will continue to play a more significant role in the global gaming industry.

Photo: Supercraig