Canada’s Video Game Growth: How Much Does Gaming Contribute?

Don’t let the naysayers tell you otherwise: video gaming is a seriously lucrative market. Still growing at a rate of nearly 8% even in these times of a rising cost of living, the industry was worth $217 billion in 2022 and is set to be worth $521.60 billion by the end of the decade. And, despite many people still believing it to be just a niche little hobby enjoyed by those sitting alone in their homes in their underwear, the knock-on effects of the video game industry on a nation’s GDP can be seriously hard-hitting. We’re going to be putting Canadian video gaming under the microscope in our latest examining how much it is worth currently, and how much it contributes to the nation’s overall budget.

Photo by Alex Haney on Unsplash

Continued Growth

Since 2019, the Canadian video game industry has grown at an impressive 23% since 2019, contributing a hefty $5.5 billion to the nation’s GDP. This comes from a recent report conducted by The Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESA Canada).

The report was commissioned by Nordicity and was designed to examine the state of the video game industry in Canada, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. ESA Canada’s research showed that, of the $5.5 billion, $3.2 billion came directly from the industry, with a further $1.2 billion stemming from “indirect and induced impacts.”

Tournament organisers are working to make the country a more appealing destination for professional events and competitions, and Esports betting at Unikrn demonstrates a rising amount of popularity in wagering other pursuits to do with the industry.

A Hotbed For Talent

Canada has historically been a hotbed for some of the biggest and brightest video game brands. The likes of Ubisoft, EA and Square Enix all have major development teams housed in the country, with franchises like Fifa, Far Cry, Assassin’s Creed, Mass Effect and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy all being produced in cities like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

In fact, there are now a registered 937 active game studios at work across Canada, a rise of 35% since 2019. A whopping 80% of those studios are in Quebec and Ontario, although ESA Canada’s study also highlighted that Atlantic, Manitoba and Saskatchewan all saw 41 new companies, whilst 45 companies set up in British Columbia.

All of this growth in developers has seen Canadian employment dramatically impacted too. The survey found that there had been an increase of 19% from 2021 in the number of full-time equivalents employed in the industry, with the total figure rising to 32,300. 57% of gaming companies now claim to have more employees than in 2017, with the talent pool helping to push the average salary up to $78,600 per year, up from $75,900 in 2019.

Another fact that makes this upward trend so encouraging for Canadian video game enthusiasts is the fact that 75% of gaming companies in the country are owned by Canadians, firmly keeping the money they make within the nation’s borders.

A Firmer Emphasis On Diversity

One area where the Canadian video game industry is hoping to see bigger improvements, however, is in the demographics involved in working within it. The stigma around gaming has always been prevalent, and only 23% of video game workers in Canada are female according to this report. Whilst this is an increase of 4% compared to 2019’s numbers, it is still a figure that in no way reflects the actual number of girl gamers who are looking for careers in the industry.

One of the biggest ways Canadian game companies are aiming to change this is through greater emphasis on diversity and equal opportunities in early education. Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) plans have also begun to spring up more and more around the industry in both Canada and the United States, though these remain more readily accepted by bigger companies operating across the continent.

According to ESA, 51% of Canadian game companies do not have an EDI plan in their workplace, however, 81% of the top brands across the country claim they do, showcasing the disparity in the sizes.

Canada has always been a nation that punches well above its weight, and the video game industry is no exception to this. The appetite is clearly there from people and companies already present in the country, the emphasis now has to be on building on this potential with greater investments in infrastructure and enticing in a more diverse talent pool.