Canada is behind some of the most epic gaming quests! Assassins Creed, FIFA, Far Cry, Dead Space – mind blown yet? If you’re a gaming entrepreneur, it really doesn’t get better than Canada. Here are some facts that prove why Canada is the ultimate power-up for your gaming startup!
(Source: The Canadian Video Game Industry 2021)
- Canada is home to a cool 937 video game companies
- 75% of video game companies in Canada are Canadian-owned
- 4 out 5 video game companies in Canada are located in Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia.
- Video game companies in Canada generated an estimated $4.3 billion in revenue in 2021
- 84% of this revenue is from export markets outside of Canada.
- Canada’s video game industry supports an estimated 55,300 Full-Time Equivalents (FTEs)
- The industry contributed a total of $5.5 billion to Canada’s economy in 2021
(Source: The Canadian Video Game Industry 2021)
Famous Video Games you didn’t know are Canada-made
- Sea of Stars
- Chivalry 2
- Luigi’s Mansion franchise
- Mario Strikers
- The Long Dark
- Don’t Starve
- Watch Dogs: Legion
- Star Wars: Squadrons
- Rainbow Six Siege
- The Outlast Trials
- FIFA 23
- Far Cry 6
- Dead Space
- Dead by Daylight
- Boyfriend Dungeon
- Mass Effect Legendary Edition
- Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy
- Age of Empires IV
- Cuphead (2017) & Cuphead
- Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
Big Video Game Companies in Canada
Canada has a very dynamic ecosystem of home-grown and international video game companies, both developing world-famous games here and exporting it to the world:
Headquartered in Paris, 25 years ago Ubisoft expanded to Canada and built a very strong foundation here, particularly in Montreal. Ubisoft Montreal is their largest development studio worldwide with more than 4,000 employees. They’re the principal developer for legendary games like Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, and Watch Dogs. Due to their success in Canada, other big names from the U.S. also set up studios in Montreal, turning the city into a gaming talent hotspot.
Headquartered in California, EA has many homes across Canada, including Kitchener, Victoria, and Montreal. Its HQ is in Burnaby, where PopCap Vancouver is located. It is the centre for the development of several of EA’s largest franchises, including Plants vs. Zombies, FIFA Soccer, and many others.
Founded in Alberta, BioWare went on to be acquired by EA in 2008. BioWare has created some of the most renowned RPG series – Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Baldur Gate, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
A true Canadian success story, BioWare was founded by Doctors Greg Zeschuk, Ray Muzyka, and Augustine Yip who met in medical school and found they had a shared passion for games and comics. While still in residency, the trio finished their first project, the Acid-Base Simulator. Eventually joining forces with skilled game developers and artists, they founded BioWare Corp. in a corner of Greg’s basement on February 1, 1995.
Behavior Interactive is another Canadian success story. Established in 1992, they are Canada’s leading independent game developer with over 1,200 staff across studios in Montreal, Toronto, Seattle, and the UK. By 2022, their flagship game, Dead by Daylight, celebrated 50 million players worldwide. They’ve also developed games for big entertainment names like Disney, HBO, Sony, and Nintendo.
Growth of the Canadian Gaming Industry
The global video gaming industry is growing at a very rapid pace! According to PwC’s Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2022-26, the global gaming industry will be worth $321 billion by 2026.
With game-based movies achieving box office success in North America in 2022, video games have become a very serious part of mainstream entertainment. Examples include “Sonic the Hedgehog 2”, “Uncharted.”, “The Last of Us,” and of course, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” which surpassed US$1 billion worldwide, making it one of the top 20 highest grossing films ever!
As the global market continues to thrive, Canada’s gaming industry is also expected to follow the same trajectory for two reasons:
- Canada’s Video Game Industry Heavily Relies on Exports: 84% of its revenue comes from abroad, up from 76% in 2019. This rise highlights the potential for very high international demand for Canadian-made games, which means higher export revenue for Canadian developers.
2. Canada’s Domestic Market is Quickly Emerging: Canada’s video game industry’s revenue is forecasted to grow at an annual rate of 8.66% between 2023 and 2027, aiming for a market size of US$7.25 billion by 2027. The rising gaming craze among Canadians is further highlighted by a user penetration rate of 35.9% by 2027, with an average revenue per user (ARPU) set at US$444.90 in 2023.
In addition to market factors, the Canadian government on a federal and provincial level has put in place a fantastic support system in the form of tax credits, grants, and funding infrastructure to help home-grown gaming companies propel themselves globally. Some of these incentives include:
- SR&ED Program: Game studios with eligible SR&ED projects can get up to 35% ITC for the first $3 million in qualifying expenditures and another 15% of non-refundable ITC for exceeding costs.
2. Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit: The Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit is a refundable tax credit based on qualifying expenditures incurred for eligible digital games by a qualifying corporation during a tax year.
Future of the Gaming Industry and Startup Opportunities:
As processors get faster, graphics improve, console makers launch new hardware with better capabilities, and the roll-out of 5G, multiplayer games, mobile games and casual games all are expected to continue to expand.
The future of gaming is also tied very deeply to the metaverse, web3 and AI, says an Ernst & Young study. This opens up a world of new possibilities for existing and new gaming entrepreneurs.
- AI in Gaming
AI is revolutionizing gaming by tailoring experiences to player styles and spontaneously creating content, keeping players hooked. Hit games like Red Dead Redemption 2, Minecraft, and Rocket League already use AI to enhance gameplay experience.
- VR: Stepping Inside the Game
VR’s rise in gaming offers players an unparalleled immersion. Games like “Half-Life: Alyx” transport us into a vividly realistic universe using VR headsets, redefining gameplay interactions.
- Metaverse: Next-Gen Gaming Arena
Platforms like Roblox, where users design games and socialize in a shared realm, showcase its potential, boasting 150 million active monthly users.
Want to Launch or Expand a Gaming Startup in Canada?
We are BHive, a startup incubator located in Brampton, Ontario. We offer international startups the tools, resources, and space to establish – and quickly scale – their businesses in Canada and North America. To apply to our Global Entrepreneur Incubation Program, click here!