03/19/2013 03:55 EDT | Updated 03/19/2013 03:55 EDT

Video Game Industry: Canada's Is 3rd-Largest In World, Survey Says


Canada has the world’s third-largest video game industry by employees, says a report from an industry group.

The Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC)’s Essential Facts 2012 report finds the country’s video game industry employs 16,000 people, making Canada the third-largest video game employer in the world, behind only the U.S. and Japan.

The report finds Canada’s industry is in the midst of a boom, estimating it grew 17 per cent from 2011 to 2012.

Canada has managed to build a formidable presence in the video game world, hosting industry leaders such as Electronic Arts in Vancouver, Rockstar Games in Toronto and Vancouver, and Ubisoft in Quebec.

Just last fall, Microsoft announced it is opening a new game studio in Vancouver, where it will develop the next Halo game.

But the industry’s development has not been without controversy, mostly because of the arguably aggressive subsidies governments around the country have given to the industry, in the hopes of drumming up these desirable “creative class” jobs.

Critics have argued the hundreds of million of dollars provincial and local governments hand over to entice video game firms is money poorly spent.

When developing workforces in, say, Bangalore train enough skilled code-monkeys to undercut local coders, the jobs will quickly migrate to India, leaving little of the creative economy behind,” Jesse Brown wrote in a controversial 2011 Maclean’s column.

Supporters say the subsidies spawn new economic activity that is worth far more than the cost to taxpayers.

Here’s what the ESAC report had to say about Canadian gamers.

Facts About Canadians And Video Games