The Canadian video game industry involves the development, marketing, and monetization of video games in Canada. This industry overview will discuss the latest statistics and trends for the video game industry in Canada. For more information on the video game industry please see our Video Game Industry Guide.

Photo credit: Photo by Alexas_Fotos

Key Takeaways

  • Thriving industry: Canada’s video game industry contributed $3.7 billion to the economy in 2017 (Nordicity, 2017).
  • Export-driven industry: Exports accounted for 75% of industry revenue in 2017 (Nordicity, 2017).
  • Nation of gamers: 61% of the national population currently identifies as video gamers (ESAC, 2018).
  • Shifting demographics: 39 is the average age of Canadian video gamers, with 50% being male, and 50% being female (ESAC, 2018).
  • Consumer preferences: 46% of Canadians prefer to play video games most often on their mobile devices (ESAC, 2018).

Industry Performance Snapshot

  • Total revenue among video game companies in Canada was $3.2 billion in 2017, while total expenditure was $2.6 billion (ESAC, 2017).
  • In 2017, exports accounted for 75% of all revenue generated by video game companies in Canada. The US and Europe were the top sources of export revenue at 46% and 42% respectively (Nordicity, 2017).
  • During 2015-2017, total GDP generated by the Canadian video game industry increased by 24% to just over $3.7 billion (Nordicity, 2017).

Industry Output

  • About 2,100 video game projects were completed in 2017, with web (31%) and mobile platforms (29%) accounting for the largest proportions (Nordicity, 2017).
  • Family-oriented games were the most popular genre in 2017, accounting for 26% of all video game projects completed that year (Nordicity, 2017).
  • Budgets for console projects decreased by 26% to $12.5 million in 2017. Despite this, console games still accounted for 89% of all production spending (Nordicity, 2017).

Cost Breakdown

Source: Nordicity. (2017). Canada’s Video Game Industry in 2017 – Final Report. Retrieved from: http://theesa.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/ESAC-Video-Games-in-Canada-Profile-2017_FINAL.pdf

Consumer Spending

Between July 2017 and June 2018, Canadians spent a total of $8.1 billion on digital products. Online gaming subscriptions, game downloads, and in-game purchases accounted for 16.7% of overall spending. Consumers between the ages of 25-34 were the largest group of spenders. This group accounted for about 35% of total spending or $471 million.

Source: Statistics Canada. Table 3: Total Spending on Digital Products, from July 2017 to June 2018. Retrieved from: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/180829/t003b-eng.htm
 

Source: Statistics Canada. Table 3: Total Spending on Digital Products, from July 2017 to June 2018. Retrieved from: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/180829/t003b-eng.htm

Business Locations

As the following chart illustrates, the majority of Canada’s video game companies are located in three provinces: Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia. This has remained consistent since 2013.

Source: Nordicity. (2017). Canada’s Video Game Industry in 2017 – Final Report. Retrieved from: http://theesa.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/ESAC-Video-Games-in-Canada-Profile-2017_FINAL.pdf

Employment Statistics

In 2017, the Canadian video game industry directly employed 21,800 employees. Quebec was Canada’s top employer with 10,000 employees or 45.9%% of the total number of employees in Canada’s video game industry in 2017.

Source: Nordicity. (2017). Canada’s Video Game Industry in 2017 – Final Report. Retrieved from: http://theesa.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/ESAC-Video-Games-in-Canada-Profile-2017_FINAL.pdf

Trends and Changes

Changing demographics

  • The average age of Canadian video gamers is on the rise. The average Canadian video gamer was 39 years of age in 2018 (ESAC, 2018), compared to 36 in 2017 (ESAC, 2017).
  • The number of female gamers is on the rise. In 2018, 50% of Canadian video gamers were female (ESAC, 2018), compared with 49% in 2017 (ESAC, 2017).

Parents as gamers

  • Canadian parents are not only purchases of video games, but also active consumers of them. 71% of parents played video games with their children (ESAC, 2018) in 2018, compared with 68% of parents in 2016 (ESAC, 2016).

Popularity of mobile gaming

  • 46% of Canadians played video games most often on their mobile devices in 2018 (ESAC, 2018), compared to 41% in 2016 (ESAC, 2016).
  • Although more Canadians are playing video games on their mobile devices, the market for computers and consoles still remains strong (see below).

Source: ESAC. (2018). Essential Facts about the Canadian Video Game Industry. Retrieved from: http://theesa.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/ESAC18_BookletEN.pdf

Emergence of Virtual Reality (VR) gaming

  • The Canadian game industry is accelerating production of VR games, with companies reporting over 250 new VR projects in 2016 alone (Nordicity, 2017).
  • As of 2018, 8% of Canadians already own a VR system (ESAC, 2018).

Social gaming as a global trend

  • Since 2017, social/casual gaming revenue has overtaken traditional gaming revenue to become the largest component of the video games market (PwC, Entertainment & Media Outlook, n.d.)
  • In Canada, social or casual games are stills the fastest growing area of the video games market. Since 2015, they have made up over 50% of Canada’s total video games revenue (PwC, Entertainment & Media Outlook, n.d.).
  • Online, free-to-play, battle royale games such as Fortnite are at the forefront of the social gaming trends. More video game publishers will likely try and emulate Fortnite’s business model to remain competitive (PwC, Entertainment & Media Outlook, n.d.).

Sources

ESAC. (2018). Essential Facts about the Canadian Video Game Industry 2018. Retrieved from: http://theesa.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/ESAC18_BookletEN.pdf

ESAC. (2017). Essential Facts about the Canadian Video Game Industry 2017. Retrieved from: http://theesa.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/ESAC2017_Booklet_13_Digital.pdf

ESAC. (2016). Essential Facts about the Canadian Video Game Industry 2016. Retrieved from:
http://theesa.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/2016_booklet_Web.compressed2.pdf

Nordicity. (2017). Canada’s Video Game Industry in 2017 – Final Report. Retrieved from: http://theesa.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/ESAC-Video-Games-in-Canada-Profile-2017_FINAL.pdf

PwC. (n.d.). Entertainment & Media Outlook 2019-2023. Retrieved from: https://www.pwc.com/ca/en/industries/entertainment-media/outlook-2019-2023.html

Statistics Canada. (n.d.). Table 3: Total Spending on Digital Products, from July 2017 to June 2018. Retrieved from: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/180829/t003b-eng.htm

Industry Trends

The Canadian video game industry involves the development, marketing, and monetization of video games in Canada. This industry overview will discuss the latest statistics and trends for the video game industry in Canada. For more information on the video game industry please see our Video Game Industry Guide.

Photo credit: Photo by Alexas_Fotos

Key Takeaways

  • Thriving industry: Canada’s video game industry contributed $3.7 billion to the economy in 2017 (Nordicity, 2017).
  • Export-driven industry: Exports accounted for 75% of industry revenue in 2017 (Nordicity, 2017).
  • Nation of gamers: 61% of the national population currently identifies as video gamers (ESAC, 2018).
  • Shifting demographics: 39 is the average age of Canadian video gamers, with 50% being male, and 50% being female (ESAC, 2018).
  • Consumer preferences: 46% of Canadians prefer to play video games most often on their mobile devices (ESAC, 2018).

Industry Performance Snapshot

  • Total revenue among video game companies in Canada was $3.2 billion in 2017, while total expenditure was $2.6 billion (ESAC, 2017).
  • In 2017, exports accounted for 75% of all revenue generated by video game companies in Canada. The US and Europe were the top sources of export revenue at 46% and 42% respectively (Nordicity, 2017).
  • During 2015-2017, total GDP generated by the Canadian video game industry increased by 24% to just over $3.7 billion (Nordicity, 2017).

Industry Output

  • About 2,100 video game projects were completed in 2017, with web (31%) and mobile platforms (29%) accounting for the largest proportions (Nordicity, 2017).
  • Family-oriented games were the most popular genre in 2017, accounting for 26% of all video game projects completed that year (Nordicity, 2017).
  • Budgets for console projects decreased by 26% to $12.5 million in 2017. Despite this, console games still accounted for 89% of all production spending (Nordicity, 2017).

Cost Breakdown

Source: Nordicity. (2017). Canada’s Video Game Industry in 2017 – Final Report. Retrieved from: http://theesa.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/ESAC-Video-Games-in-Canada-Profile-2017_FINAL.pdf

Consumer Spending

Between July 2017 and June 2018, Canadians spent a total of $8.1 billion on digital products. Online gaming subscriptions, game downloads, and in-game purchases accounted for 16.7% of overall spending. Consumers between the ages of 25-34 were the largest group of spenders. This group accounted for about 35% of total spending or $471 million.

Source: Statistics Canada. Table 3: Total Spending on Digital Products, from July 2017 to June 2018. Retrieved from: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/180829/t003b-eng.htm
 

Source: Statistics Canada. Table 3: Total Spending on Digital Products, from July 2017 to June 2018. Retrieved from: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/180829/t003b-eng.htm

Business Locations

As the following chart illustrates, the majority of Canada’s video game companies are located in three provinces: Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia. This has remained consistent since 2013.

Source: Nordicity. (2017). Canada’s Video Game Industry in 2017 – Final Report. Retrieved from: http://theesa.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/ESAC-Video-Games-in-Canada-Profile-2017_FINAL.pdf

Employment Statistics

In 2017, the Canadian video game industry directly employed 21,800 employees. Quebec was Canada’s top employer with 10,000 employees or 45.9%% of the total number of employees in Canada’s video game industry in 2017.

Source: Nordicity. (2017). Canada’s Video Game Industry in 2017 – Final Report. Retrieved from: http://theesa.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/ESAC-Video-Games-in-Canada-Profile-2017_FINAL.pdf

Trends and Changes

Changing demographics

  • The average age of Canadian video gamers is on the rise. The average Canadian video gamer was 39 years of age in 2018 (ESAC, 2018), compared to 36 in 2017 (ESAC, 2017).
  • The number of female gamers is on the rise. In 2018, 50% of Canadian video gamers were female (ESAC, 2018), compared with 49% in 2017 (ESAC, 2017).

Parents as gamers

  • Canadian parents are not only purchases of video games, but also active consumers of them. 71% of parents played video games with their children (ESAC, 2018) in 2018, compared with 68% of parents in 2016 (ESAC, 2016).

Popularity of mobile gaming

  • 46% of Canadians played video games most often on their mobile devices in 2018 (ESAC, 2018), compared to 41% in 2016 (ESAC, 2016).
  • Although more Canadians are playing video games on their mobile devices, the market for computers and consoles still remains strong (see below).

Source: ESAC. (2018). Essential Facts about the Canadian Video Game Industry. Retrieved from: http://theesa.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/ESAC18_BookletEN.pdf

Emergence of Virtual Reality (VR) gaming

  • The Canadian game industry is accelerating production of VR games, with companies reporting over 250 new VR projects in 2016 alone (Nordicity, 2017).
  • As of 2018, 8% of Canadians already own a VR system (ESAC, 2018).

Social gaming as a global trend

  • Since 2017, social/casual gaming revenue has overtaken traditional gaming revenue to become the largest component of the video games market (PwC, Entertainment & Media Outlook, n.d.)
  • In Canada, social or casual games are stills the fastest growing area of the video games market. Since 2015, they have made up over 50% of Canada’s total video games revenue (PwC, Entertainment & Media Outlook, n.d.).
  • Online, free-to-play, battle royale games such as Fortnite are at the forefront of the social gaming trends. More video game publishers will likely try and emulate Fortnite’s business model to remain competitive (PwC, Entertainment & Media Outlook, n.d.).

Sources

ESAC. (2018). Essential Facts about the Canadian Video Game Industry 2018. Retrieved from: http://theesa.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/ESAC18_BookletEN.pdf

ESAC. (2017). Essential Facts about the Canadian Video Game Industry 2017. Retrieved from: http://theesa.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/ESAC2017_Booklet_13_Digital.pdf

ESAC. (2016). Essential Facts about the Canadian Video Game Industry 2016. Retrieved from:
http://theesa.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/2016_booklet_Web.compressed2.pdf

Nordicity. (2017). Canada’s Video Game Industry in 2017 – Final Report. Retrieved from: http://theesa.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/ESAC-Video-Games-in-Canada-Profile-2017_FINAL.pdf

PwC. (n.d.). Entertainment & Media Outlook 2019-2023. Retrieved from: https://www.pwc.com/ca/en/industries/entertainment-media/outlook-2019-2023.html

Statistics Canada. (n.d.). Table 3: Total Spending on Digital Products, from July 2017 to June 2018. Retrieved from: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/180829/t003b-eng.htm

Industry Trends

Next Monday is BC Day! To celebrate, this post will introduce our BC Historical Documents collection and explore the early history of BC.

Rare Books and Special Collections in the UBC Library houses an abundance of original documents related to the development of British Columbia and its economic, social, political and cultural history. We have digitized more than 1,500 items from 9 archival and special collections dated from 1789 to 1970, including the following fonds and collections:


Columbia (Ship) fonds

The fonds consists of two bound copies of the logs of the Columbia Rediviva (commonly known as Columbia), a privately-owned ship operated around 1800. It was known as the first non-Indigenous vessel to enter the Columbia River.

[Copy of a part of Haswell’s Log of the Columbia covering his trips of the Washington to the vicinity of Fuca Strait between March 16th and April 23rd 1789.], 1789.

This handwritten transcribed copy is Robert Haswell (1768-1801)’s log of the Columbia. Haswell was an American maritime fur trader to the Pacific Northwest of North America and enrolled as the third mate on the Columbia.

 

[Photostatic copy of Captain Robert Gray’s log for the Columbia in 1791. It records voyages along the northwest coast of Washington State and British Columbia.]

This is the photostatic copy of Captain Robert Gray (1755-1806)’s log for the Columbia. Gray was an American explorer who named the Columbia River after his ship.

 

Henry Doyle fonds

Henry Doyle (1874-1961) was the manager of Doyle Fishing Company (Canadian Division) and the first manager of the British Columbia Packers’ Association. The fonds consists of 666 items pertaining to the Pacific fishery industry.

Doyle, Henry. Original cannery fish wharf, Mill Bay, [between 1905 and 1915].

[Doyle, H., Manager, Kincolith Packing Co. Ltd., to G. J. Desbarats, Deputy Minister Naval Service, regarding establishing a closed season for halibut fishing], 1915.

Proposed Fish and Shellfish Cannery Inspection Act, [between 1895 and 1915].


Hastings Saw Mill Company fonds

Hastings Saw Mill Company was launched in 1867 by the B.C. and Vancouver Island Spar Lumber and Saw Mill Company (Stamps Mill) on Burrard Inlet. The previous owner was Heatley & Company of London until 1928. The fonds includes around 90 items such as correspondence, memos, maps, photographs, plans, and articles of association.

British Columbia Mills, Timber and Trading [Company’s], Hastings Sawmills, Vancouver, B.C.

[Turnour, J.B. to A.N. Birch, regarding : Spare at Burrard Inlet], [1865].

[Map: traced from map of Vancouver Island, showing the position of the timber lands surveyed and sought to be acquired by the Hastings Saw Mill Company Limited. Oct. 1871. by E. Stephens], 1871.


John Keenlyside Legal Research Collection

The collection was collected by John S. Keenlyside, a Vancouver-born UBC alumni and the founder of the investment counselling firm John S, Keenlyside & Co. The fonds have more than 300 items consisting of legal documents in the 19th century and documents related to the British Columbia Provincial Police force and various Japanese-Canadian and civil rights groups.

British Columbia Small Debts Act, 1859

Rules and Regulation for the Working of Gold Mines. Issued in conformity with the Gold Fields Act, 1859. Whereas, it is provided by the Gold Fields Act, 1859, that the Governor, for the time being, of British Columbia, may, by writing under his hand and the Public Seal of the Colony, make Rules and Regulations in the nature of by-laws, for all matters relating to Mining. …, 1859-09-07.


B.C. Provincial Police Port Essington Office fonds

The fonds consists of incoming letters to Constable Alexander Forsythe regarding fishing licenses and other matters as well as his report on the spawning grounds at Babine Lake and other locations.

Wallace Brothers Packing Company Limited. [Wallace Fisheries to A. Forsyth, regarding : 1911 licences], 1911-05-12.

Gay, Herbert L. [Handwritten list of unknown person’s effects], 1911-06-14.


R.L. Reid fonds

Robie Lewis Reid (1866-1945), a lawyer and historian, donated his Canadian collection to UBC, where he served as a member of the Board of Governors and the solicitor. Open Collections published around 15 items including correspondences, legislative proceedings, essays and contracts, legal works, and advertisements.


McLeary, J. D. [Commission prepared by McLeary, J. D., British Columbia Provincial Secretary, for A. Henderson, appointed under the Public Inquiries Act to conduct inquiries into the coal mining industry], [1921-03-02].

Smith, John F. Province of British Columbia : Indian Agencies, 1923-05-19.


Charles Semlin fonds

Charles Augustus Semlin (1836-1927) was the Premier of British Columbia between 1898 and 1900. The fonds includes his outgoing letters as the Premier, financial records, correspondence and other material relating to the Dominion Ranch, Semlin and Stuart and the Interior Stock Raisers’ Association, and we have digitized more than 50 items.

Correspondence between Lieutenant Governor McInnes and Honourable C. Semlin, Premier, in respect to the Dismissal of the Semlin Government, 1900-02.

Semlin, C.A. [Dominion Ranch : Financial records, receipts and purchase orders], 1881-1917.


G. Vernon Wellburn British Columbia History Collection

The collection was donated by G. Vernon Wellburn in 2011. He was a former lecturer in forest harvesting in the Faculty of Forestry at UBC. His collection consists of four items: a letter, telegram, a document, and an invitation.

British Columbia Legislative Assembly. [Invitation to the Mr. R. E. Barkley family to attend the opening of the New Parliament Buildings in Victoria, British Columbia, February 10, 1898], 1898.


Education Library Historical Textbooks

Education Library houses historical textbooks used in Canada, and we have digitized 20 of them between 1895 and 1930.

Clement, W. H. P. History of Canada, [1895].

Spilhaus, Margaret Whiting. South African nursery rhymes, [1924].

If you enjoyed this post, please visit BC Historical Documents Collection and explore the history of BC. Happy British Columbia Day!

References

 

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