The Canadian video game industry has grown 23% since 2019, now contributing $5.5 billion to Canada’s GDP according to a biennial economic impact study from the Entertainment Software Association of Canada.
The report, The Canadian Video Game Industry: 2021, found that during a year whose first half was defined by an economic downturn, the video game industry grew significantly, as consumers worldwide turned to video games to stay entertained and connected while maintaining social distance.
“Canadian video games are an innovative and critical export sector – we bring Canadian talent and Canadian stories to the world stage,” says Jayson Hilchie, Chief Executive Officer at the Entertainment Software Association of Canada.
“And with 84% of our sales to foreign markets, driving billions of dollars of revenue and supporting tens of thousands of good jobs, it’s safe to say our industry is making a global impact.”
Canada’s business environment combines competitive labour costs with a highly skilled workforce. Together, this is the secret sauce that has allowed Canada’s video game industry to punch above its national weight throughout the pandemic, creating jobs, generating economic activity, and now helping drive the much-needed economic recovery.
Digital innovation was at the root of how Canada’s video game industry responded to the challenges of the global pandemic, driving significant entrepreneurial growth.
In 2021, 937 active video game companies were identified in Canada – a 35% increase since 2019. These companies together employ an estimated 32,300 direct employees, representing a 17% increase since 2019. In addition, the industry supports a further 23,000 indirect jobs across the Canadian economy. In total, the industry supports 55,300 Canadian jobs from coast to coast.
“Canada has an excellent business environment and a diverse talent pool,” says Marija Nastic-Radulovic, EA’s SVP of Development Technology & Solutions.
“This landscape allows EA to have studios in multiple Canadian cities including Vancouver, Montreal, and Edmonton, where we develop beloved, innovative, and high-quality titles such as Mass Effect, Star Wars™: Squadrons, Skate, and EA SPORTS™ FIFA. The continued growth of Canada’s video game industry makes it a leader in innovation and allows it to bring some of the world’s biggest titles.”
The jobs created by the video game industry are in demand, require high skills, and pay well, helping to bolster the consumer spending necessary to drive economic recovery.
The average salary at a video game company is $78,600, spread across levels and demographics, with junior employees making an average of $60,400 in 2021, and senior employees with more experience making an average of $98,100.
Junior and intermediate employees, together, make up nearly three-quarters of Canada’s video game workforce.