Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Wisconsin companies offering goods and services to the video game sector may find opportunities in the Canadian market.
Video games are big business in Canada.
Consider these statistics from the Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC):
- 23 million Canadians—roughly 61% of the population—are gamers, with an average age of 34.
- There are 692 active video game production studios in Canada, a 16% increase since 2017.
- The industry has created 27,700 full-time jobs—up 28% since 2017—and 48,000 full-time-equivalent jobs in the industry.
- The average full-time video game industry worker in Canada makes $75,900 a year.
- Canada's video game industry contributes $4.5 billion annually to the country's gross domestic product, a 20% increase since 2017.
Companies active in this sector in Canada include large operators such as Ubisoft and WB Games Montreal, industry pioneers like Digital Extremes, and smaller, independent studios including Vancouver-based Hinterland. Game Industry Career Guide ranks Canada third on its list of top countries for game development studios, with Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto touted as the country's top development cities.
The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t slow the video game industry's momentum in Canada. According to ESAC's 2021 Annual Report, not only did the Canadian video game industry not suffer from pandemic-related lockdowns or slowdowns, it benefited from increased consumer interest. Housebound Canadians spent more time playing video games and used them as a way to stay in touch with friends, engage with their children and—perhaps most importantly—support mental health during the monotony of isolation.
The industry as a whole was able to remain flexible and adaptable during the pandemic. As ESAC’s report says:
“Not only did games become the product of choice for consumers, but our industry also successfully migrated almost 30,000 direct employees to remote work and maintained development on games that were due to launch during the pandemic. In most cases, games were released as planned and on schedule, a testament to the high-caliber management found in our industry, along with our ability to adapt to uncertainty and adjust to new norms.”
Momentum is not expected to slow in the years ahead. Statista research suggests that video game revenue will reach $1.5 billion in 2022 and as much as $2.1 billion by 2026. The greatest growth is expected to come from the mobile games sector, which is projected to reach $746 million this year.
Wisconsin game development companies or businesses providing services to the industry could find a wealth of opportunities in Canada.