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Canada Flexes its Game Dev Muscle at GDC 2023

The Game Developers Conference (GDC) is an annual gathering where the video game companies comes together to learn from each other and share ideas. The event is attended by game developers, designers, artists, programmers, and sound experts among other professionals in the industry.

The conference took place in March at the Moscone Center in San Francisco and has grown to become one of the biggest event in the video game industry. At the conference, attendees attended lectures, panels, workshops, and networking events to learn and collaborate with others. Canada has a unique and powerful presence every year at the show due to the country’s continued investment in the people responsible for building what is now the world’s largest form of entertainment.

Government of Canada hosts game developer outreach at GDC Expo

The country’s game development industry is always recognized for its innovation and creativity, and many Canadian companies made their way to GDC to showcase their latest games, technologies, and services on the world stage.

The Canadian government supports the country’s game development industry by sponsoring events at GDC, as well as offering support through programs like the Canada Media Fund, which provides financing to Canadian game companies. Additionally, various Canadian organizations, such as the Entertainment Software Association of Canada and the Interactive Ontario, organized events at GDC this year.

The Canadian government has long been supportive of the industry, providing tax incentives and funding programs to help grow the sector and ensure Canadians can compete on a global scale.

Canada Highlights Innovative Companies at GDC in 2023

One of the most popular aspects of GDC is the Expo Floor, which features booths and exhibits from a wide range of companies, including game publishers, hardware manufacturers, and service providers. Attendees can check out the latest games, hardware, and software, and talk to representatives from the companies behind them. Many of the Canadians could be found at The Canadian Pavilion on the Expo Floor.

Some of the participating game development companies that were represented by Canada in 2023 are highlighted below:

Company NameCategoriesWebsite
13am GamesCore, M-Core, Casual, Fam
1e Avenue Music AgencyCore, M-Core, Casual, Fam, Kids, Edu
3Mind GamesCore, M-Core, Casual
Alice & SmithCore, M-Core, Casual, Fam, Kids, Edu
Aptitude X – Art StudioCasual, Fam
Arbelos InteractiveM-Core, Casual, Fam, Kids, Edu
Artifact 5Core, M-Core, Casual, Fam
Astrolabe InteractiveCore, M-Core, Casual, Fam, Kids
Ballinran EntertainmentGeneral
BancyCoCore, M-Core
Bebop GamesCore
Berzerk StudioM-Core, Casual, Fam
Beyond Fun StudioM-Core, Casual, Fam
Bkom StudiosCore, M-Core, Casual, Fam, Kids, Edu
Blackbird InteractiveCore, M-Core, Fam
Bloom Digital MediaM-Core, Casual, Fam
Carcajou GamesCasual, Fam, Kids
Catalyst StudioB2B Services Only
Chasing Rats GamesCore, M-Core, Casual
Clever Plays StudioCore, M-Core, Casual, Fam, Kids
Crenel and Merlon GamesM-Core, Casual, Fam
D-Box TechnologiesCore, M-Core, Casual, Fam, Kids, Edu
DiamondHandBagCasual, Kids
Discoglobe InteractiveCore, M-Core, Casual
Double Stallion GamesCore, M-Core
Drinkbox StudiosCore, M-Core, Fam
DryGin StudiosCore, M-Core
Écran PartagéCasual, Fam, Edu
Eden IndustriesCore, M-Core, Casual, Fam, Kids
EdgegapCore, M-Core, Casual, Fam, Kids, Edu
Fika ProductionsCore, M-Core
Dragon Age - BioWare EA Canada

A core game is a video game designed for a more experienced and dedicated audience of gamers. They are typically more challenging and complex, with deeper mechanics and systems than casual games. Core games often require a significant amount of time and effort to master, and may have a steep learning curve. They are often played competitively or cooperatively online, with an emphasis on skill and strategy. Examples of core games include first-person shooters, real-time strategy games, and massively multiplayer online role-playing games. Sometimes referred to as Triple-A games, a AAA video game is a high-budget, high-profile game typically developed by a large studio with significant resources and marketed heavily to a broad audience. These games often feature advanced graphics, complex gameplay mechanics, and large-scale production values, with development budgets frequently exceeding tens of millions of dollars.

  1. Ubisoft Montreal: The largest game development studio in Canada and the creator of popular franchises such as Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, and Watch Dogs.
  2. Electronic Arts (EA) Vancouver: A branch of EA, responsible for the popular FIFA series and other sports games.
  3. BioWare Edmonton: A subsidiary of EA, known for its critically acclaimed role-playing games, including the Mass Effect and Dragon Age series.
  4. Rockstar Toronto: A subsidiary of Rockstar Games, responsible for games like the Max Payne series and the PC version of Grand Theft Auto V.
  5. Relic Entertainment: A studio that specializes in strategy games, including the Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War series and Company of Heroes.
Company NameGame CategoriesWebsite
Finish Line GamesM-Core, Casual, Fam, Kids
Folklore GamesM-Core, Casual
Fortress GamesCore, M-Core
GameAddikCore, M-Core, Casual, Fam, Kids
Game PillCore, M-Core, Fam
Get Set GamesCore, M-Core, Casual
Goose ByteCore, M-Core
Hat GamesCore, M-Core, Casual, Fam, Kids, Edu
Illogika StudiosM-Core, Casual, Fam
Ironbelly StudiosCore, M-Core
Iugo Mobile EntertainmentCore, M-Core, Casual
JoydropCore, M-Core
Kerberos ProductionsCore, M-Core, Casual, Tabletop
Kitfox GamesCore
Lofty Sky EntertainmentCasual, Fam, Kids
Loopsin ServicesCasual
Lore NineM-Core, Casual
Lucid Dreams StudioCore, M-Core
ManaVoid EntertainmentCore, M-Core, Casual, Fam, Kids, Edu
Meta4 InteractiveCore, M-Core, Casual, Fam, Kids
Mighty Yell StudiosCore, M-Core, Casual, Fam
Mint in Box Digital GamesCore, M-Core, Casual, Fam
MistplayCore, M-Core, Casual
Mobile Escape & Escape MailCasual, Fam, Kids, Edu
Mythical City GamesCore, M-Core, Casual, Fam
Natural Records StudiosCore, M-Core, Casual, Fam, Kids, Edu
New World InteractiveCore
NoodlecakeM-Core, Casual
Only By MidnightM-Core
Original Fire GamesCore, M-Core
OutermindsCore, M-Core, Casual, Fam

“M-Core” typically refers to a game that is designed for mid-core gamers, who are considered to be in-between casual and hardcore gamers in terms of their gaming experience and commitment. M-Core games typically have more complex gameplay and mechanics than casual games, but are less difficult and time-consuming than hardcore games. These games often target players who want to engage in challenging gameplay without having to spend too much time on a single game session.

Company NameType of GamesWebsite
ParaboleCore, M-Core
Pixel AudioCore, M-Core, Casual, Fam, Kids, Edu
Project WhitecardM-Core, Kids, Edu.
Red Meat GamesCore, M-Core, Casual, Fam, Kids
Red Nexus GamesCore, M-Core, Casual, Fam
RocketRide GamesCore, M-Core, Casual
Shg StudiosM-Core, Casual, Fam
Shishi StudiosCore, M-Core, Casual, Fam, Kids
Snowed In StudiosCore, M-Core, Casual, Fam, Kids
Soliton InteractiveCore, M-Core
Squatting MonkeysCore, Casual, Fam, Kids
Squido StudioCore, M-Core, Casual, Fam, Kids
Star Fort GamesCore, M-Core, Casual
Stitch Media OntarioM-Core, Casual, Fam, Kids, Edu
Story CityCasual, Fam, Edu
Strawberry Fields InteractiveCasual
StreamforgeCore, M-Core, Casual, Fam, Kids, Edu
Studio Backpack GamesCore, M-Core, Kids
Studio FrequenceM-Core, Casual, Edu
Studio ImugiCore, M-Core
Studio TrébuchetCore, M-Core
Studio ZeroCore, M-Core, Casual
Takeoff CreativeCore, M-Core, Casual, Fam, Kids, Edu
Tate & FinnbarrCore
The Frozen MachineCore, M-Core, Casual, Fam, Kids
The Monster Factory VACore, M-Core, Casual, Fam, Kids

A casual game is a type of video game that is typically easy to learn and play, with simple rules and controls. Casual games often require less time commitment than other types of games, as they can be played in short sessions and do not necessarily require long-term investment from the player. They are often designed to be accessible to a broad audience and can be played on various platforms, including mobile devices, web browsers, and gaming consoles. Popular examples of casual games include puzzle games, card games, and match-three games like match 3 genres (Candy Crush, Bejewelled Blitz).

Company NameGame GenresWebsite
Thunder LotusCore, M-Core
Titan1StudiosCore, M-Core, Fam, Kids
Triple BorisCore, M-Core, Casual, Fam, Edu
Vibe AvenueCore, M-Core, Casual, Fam, Kids, Edu
Vice Versa GamesCore, M-Core
Vidvad GamesCore, M-Core, Casual
WoodRunner GamesM-Core, Casual

Family video games are games that are designed to be enjoyed by players of all ages and skill levels. They often have simple mechanics and are easy to learn, making them accessible to a wide range of players. Family games can also be multiplayer, encouraging social interaction and family bonding.

Educational video games are games that are designed to teach players specific skills or knowledge. They can cover a wide range of subjects, from math and science to history and geography. Educational games often use interactive and engaging gameplay mechanics to help players retain information and develop skills in a fun and engaging way. They can be used as teaching aids in schools or for self-directed learning at home.

Canadian Tax Credits Spur Innovation in Video Game Development

Canadian Game Development

Canada has a variety of tax credit programs that are designed to support the growth of its video game industry. These tax credits are offered by both the federal and provincial governments, and they can help game developers offset the costs of research and development, as well as other expenses associated with game development.

The federal government offers the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax credit program, which provides a tax credit of up to 35% on eligible expenses related to research and development activities. This program is available to companies of all sizes, and it can be used to support game development projects that involve technological innovation.

In addition to the federal program, several provinces in Canada also offer tax credit programs specifically for the video game industry. These programs vary by province, but they generally offer tax credits or cash rebates on eligible expenses, such as salaries, overhead costs, and marketing expenses.

For example, Quebec’s tax credit program, which is administered by Investissement Quebec, offers a refundable tax credit of up to 37.5% on eligible labor expenses related to video game development. Ontario also has a tax credit program, which offers a refundable tax credit of up to 35% on eligible labor expenses for interactive digital media products, including video games.

Overall, these tax credit programs have been instrumental in helping Canada’s video game industry to grow and thrive. They have encouraged investment in game development projects and have helped to attract top talent to the country’s many game development studios.

Canada’s Rich History in Video Game Development

Canada has a broad history in video games, dating back to the early days of the industry. One of the first Canadian game companies was Adventure International, founded in 1978 by Scott Adams. They were known for their text adventure games and were one of the leading game developers of the time.

In the 1980s and 1990s, several other Canadian game companies emerged, such as Distinctive Software (later renamed EA Canada) and Silicon Knights. These developers were known for their popular sports games and action titles, respectively.

In the early 2000s, the Canadian game development industry experienced a boom, with the emergence of companies like BioWare, Ubisoft Montreal, and EA Montreal. These companies produced some of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful video games of the time, including the Mass Effect and Assassin’s Creed series.

Today, Canada is one of the largest game development hubs in the world, with over 700 game studios across the country.

Some of the most famous video games made in Canada include:

  1. Assassin’s Creed: This action-adventure game series, developed by Ubisoft Montreal, has become one of the most successful and iconic video game franchises of all time. The series follows the adventures of a group of assassins who fight against various historical and political forces.
  2. Mass Effect: Developed by Bioware, this critically acclaimed role-playing game series has won numerous awards for its innovative storytelling, rich world-building, and memorable characters. The series follows Commander Shepard, a human soldier tasked with saving the galaxy from various alien threats. Other Bioware titles include Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and the Dragon Age series.
  3. FIFA: This popular soccer game series, developed by EA Vancouver, has become a worldwide phenomenon, with millions of fans playing the game each year. The series has been praised for its realistic gameplay, stunning graphics, and extensive customization options.
  4. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Developed by Ubisoft Montreal, this stealth action game series has been praised for its tense gameplay, immersive atmosphere, and complex storytelling. Players take on the role of Sam Fisher, a highly trained covert operative who must complete a variety of dangerous missions for the US government.

Canada is the third-largest producer of mobile games in the world, after the United States and China.

Canada has seen significant commercial success in mobile games. According to the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, the mobile game industry generated approximately CAD 1.4 billion in revenue in 2020, representing a significant portion of the overall Canadian video game industry. The Canadian mobile industry generated over 2.5 billion in revenue in 2021 and predictions are set to exceed 3.5 billion in 2027.

Canada has a rich legacy in the video game industry, having contributed to the development of some of the most popular and innovative games in the world. This legacy was on full display at North America’s preeminent game conference in 2023.


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