“Where in the world are the game jobs?” That was the name of talk between James Hursthouse of DigiBC (The Interactive & Digital Media Industry Association of British Columbia) and our own lead reporter, Dean Takahashi, at our GamesBeat Summit 2018 event today in Mill Valley, California. So, what is the answer to that question?
“Technically, the answer is anywhere where somebody wants to make a game,” Hursthouse explained. But he followed that by making a strong case for why game development is growing in places like Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. So, where are the game jobs? Anywhere, but — hey — Canada is nice.
Hursthouse moved to Canada in 2010. He was CEO at Roadhouse Interactive in Vancouver, which created the mobile game Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast. Vancouver has become a hotbed for game development. Canada can be an ideal place because of its tax breaks for the industry, incentives, and pool of talent.
The skillset required to make video games has applications beyond digital entertainment, Hursthouse noted. That’s what makes the U.S. confusing, as both he and Takahashi noted that the country does not do enough to foster gaming jobs. According to Hursthouse, Montreal is the center of the game development world in North America. And while the big Canadian cities can be expensive, they don’t compete with the high prices of the Bay Area.
Mobile games flattened the world, creating an a more global industry with startups and developers sprouting up all around the globe. That’s why Hurthouse believes it’s important for jurisdictions to foster that growth. Offering things like tax credits can create long-term value. Attracting companies creates jobs, high-quality products, and fosters a culture.
Other countries, like the Netherlands, also help their gaming industry by offering support to studios like Vlambeer. So while Canada is excels at encouraging game development, it is not alone.
Like Canada did, willing governments could help create jobs and thriving industries if they are willing to help the gaming industry.
Disclosure, 7:32 a.m. Pacific Wednesday: I later found out this was a sponsored talk. I had assigned coverage without knowing this. Our coverage remains objective. –Ed.