By Vito Pilieci, Postmedia News May 31, 2013
OTTAWA — Teenagers take note: turns out those dreams of being paid for video gaming aren’t so far fetched.
Even as other sectors of the economy struggle, Canada’s video game development industry continues to expand rapidly with growing numbers of jobs and rising salaries, according to a study to be released at the Ottawa International Game Conference on Friday.
Canada’s video game development industry rose more than five per cent between 2011 and 2012 and now accounts for more than $2.3 billion worth of the country’s gross domestic product, according to the study compiled by researcher Nordicity and released by the Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC).
There are now 16,500 people directly employed by a total of 329 registered game studios in Canada and the average salary in the industry jumped to $72,000 annually from $65,000 a year ago.
“These are high-paying jobs,” said Jayson Hilche, president and chief executive officer of the ESAC. “This industry — with its marriage of high-skill, creative, artistic, and technical disciplines — is a source of national pride. Many people are still surprised to realize that Canada is the largest producer of video games on a per-capita basis, producing critically acclaimed games on nearly all platforms all over the world.”
Blockbuster titles including Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell franchise, Batman Arkham Asylum, Far Cry, Assassin’s Creed, FIFA Soccer, NHL, Mass Effect and dozens of others are made in Canada. Globally, the size of the country’s game industry ranks third, after the United States and Japan.
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