Over 170 video game development studios are located here producing top-flight games that are known and loved the world over, in turn creating billions in annual revenue and employing thousands of professionals in Vancouver. The talent pool currently in place to serve this industry is a testament to the city’s creativity, ideas and next-generation thinking and consists of highly technical and creative skillsets in addition to business expertise.
Vancouver’s video game innovators have built upon the legacy that video game pioneer Don Mattrick (of Distinctive, EA and Microsoft fame) started in the 1980’s. In keeping with trends and new technology, the industry has undergone shifts in recent years. Traditional AAA console games continue to be popular but technological advancements have also made way for mobile game development to grow and attract a new generation of both developers and users.
Why all the buzz?
- The impressive and ever-increasing concentration of talent, foreign investment and companies located here, including Electronic Arts (EA), Microsoft Studios, Relic Entertainment/SEGA, Capcom Vancouver, Roadhouse Interactive, Klei Entertainment, BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment, United Front Games and Kabam
- Two Vancouver-based app developers have made Apple’s distinguished Best of 2017 trends list: RAC7’s Splitter Critters has been named iPhone Game of the Year while RunGo, by Leaping Coyote Interactive, was named Apple Watch’s App of the Year (Source: The Province).
- Home to Canada’s largest Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality/Mixed Reality conference Vu that attracts over 5,000 industry professionals and attendees.
- First-rate infrastructure, including 2.3 million square feet (213,677 square metres) of green, transit-connected downtown and new, low cost office space
- The collaborative and close-knit environment naturally fostered by working in a compact city
- The business-friendly climate, tax incentives and cachet that comes with having a Vancouver- based company address
- The city’s unparalleled and outstanding quality of life – also known as the “The West Coast lifestyle”
The results of having all these companies and talent speak for themselves, and include award-winning blockbuster game titles and fan favourites such as FIFA 17, NHL 16, Dead Rising 3, Company of Heroes 2, Don’t Starve, Luigi’s Mansion and Gears of War 4.
Backed by strong government support, dedicated incentives have significantly contributed to the rapid growth of the sector. These include:
- BC Interactive Digital Media Credit: 17.5% refundable credit on qualified BC labour expenditures for interactive digital media
- National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) – delivered by a network of more than 400 professionals located in more than 100 communities across Canada, the NRC-IRAP supports the needs of SMEs engaged in innovative or technology-driven activities. It provides a suite of advisory services, networking and linkages as well as non-repayable financial assistance.
- The Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) program is a federal tax incentive encouraging R&D in Canada. Qualifying non-Canadian companies are eligible to receive tax credits of 15 per cent of qualified expenditures, while Canadian companies receive enhanced credits. Qualifying Canadian and non-Canadian corporations that conduct R&D in BC can also benefit from a 10 per cent provincial tax credit.
- Early-stage ventures are eligible for support from the BC. Renaissance Capital Fund, a BC government initiative.
- The BC government offers venture capital tax credits of 30 per cent for qualified resident investors who provide venture capital to small businesses conducting R&D on proprietary technologies and developing interactive digital media products. Investment must be made through a venture capital corporation or directly to an eligible business corporation.