The Toronto and wider Canadian games industry has been steadily gaining momentum – as outlined by Interactive Ontario’s Lucie Lalumière in her opening speech, Toronto and Ontario is home to the greatest number of games companies across all other Canadian provinces, in addition to tech behemoths including Google, Twitter, and Microsoft. However, in a global industry that is increasingly finding its boundaries removed – for good or ill – the focused lens puts more eyes on local talent.
Several attendees at Pocket Gamer Connects Toronto shared their thoughts on the core strengths of the country’s gaming industry, and what obstacles it will face as it grows in prestige.
Carolina Véliz, lead artist at Gameloft
I think one of our key strengths is that we’re nice and inclusive! But not just that, but we’re eager to try new things and not work within defined, pre-explored ways.
Renee Wong, communications specialist at Gameloft
Another strength is how diverse we are. Being open to so many different perspectives means we can approach making games from so many angles.
Michael Stolls, studio manager at Gameloft Toronto
Companies here are excellent at supporting your progression. Gameloft has always been a place to start your career. Now it’s a place to not just start and build your career. I started as a dev in a darkened corner, now I’m in charge of Gameloft Toronto – and can make the call to hire 80 more people!
Gregory Rebejko, director of Transperfect
Toronto has a lot of crypto guys looking at new tech and new expressions of play-to-earn, and this innovation into the unknown is indicative of its quality.
If pushed for a challenge Toronto will face, it’s attracting more developers. But in truth, I don’t think Toronto will struggle with this, it’s more a marketing challenge.
Lisa Fox Bennett, account manager at Dimoso
Toronto is such a vibrant city, and the business opportunities are really strong. We’ve seen so many opportunities and everyone we’ve spoken with at PGC has been enormously switched on.
But it’s a shame that this recognition comes in a face of, frankly, the current global economic environment. There is so much uncertainty in the world – the situation in Ukraine, really impactful crypto-crashes – that makes it hard to feel secure with any growth.
Rana Al-Badran, talent manager at East Side Games
There’s a real risk – in fact, it’s happening right now – that as the Canadian industry becomes better-known that major international firms will start poaching skilled developers with unmatchable salaries.
Canadian companies can try and meet them on areas like employee benefits and more acute awareness of the people in our industry’s needs, which we can do because we have a local and more insightful perspective.
Jamie Steel, communications manager at East Side Games
But similarly, with the world working remotely, it’s easier for Canadian companies to also look further afield for partners and teams.
For us, East Side Games is very established in Vancouver and although we now have a presence in Ontario, this is an opportunity to build our presence across the country.