The Game Development Scene in Canada: What Games Do Canadians Like To Make?

Here's the latest news for Canadian gamers.
By Ana Chachanidze
(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Canada is home to a thriving game development industry, with many companies developing games across different platforms including consoles, PC, and mobile devices. The industry has been growing steadily over the past few decades and has become an important contributor to the Canadian economy. Some of the major game development hubs in Canada include Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal, but there are also game development companies located across the country.

Canada has established itself as a major player in the global gaming industry, with many of its game development companies achieving worldwide success. According to a report by the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, the Canadian video game industry generated over $4.5 billion in revenue in 2020, making it the third-largest video game industry in the world after the United States and Japan.

Canada is also home to many talented game developers, artists, and designers who have contributed to the creation of some of the most successful and iconic video games of all time. Some of the notable Canadian game development companies include Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, and Bioware, which have created popular franchises such as Assassin’s Creed, FIFA, and Mass Effect, respectively. The Canadian government has also recognized the importance of the game development industry and has provided support through funding, tax incentives, and other initiatives to promote its growth.

History of Game Development in Canada

The early days of game development in Canada can be traced back to the 1980s, when small groups of game developers began creating games for personal computers. Some of the earliest Canadian game development companies included Distinctive Software, which was founded in Vancouver in 1982, and Cinemaware, which was founded in Nova Scotia in 1985. These companies developed games for popular platforms such as the Commodore 64 and Amiga.

One of the major milestones in Canadian game development was the creation of the first-ever NHL hockey game, Hockey Night in Canada, developed by EA Sports in 1991. The game was a huge success and helped establish EA Sports’ presence in Canada. Another important milestone was the founding of Ubisoft Montreal in 1997, which has since become one of the largest game development studios in the world, producing some of the most successful games in the industry.

Other significant milestones in Canadian game development include the founding of Bioware in 1995, which has created critically acclaimed RPGs such as Baldur’s Gate, Dragon Age, and Mass Effect, and the founding of Vancouver-based game development studio Relic Entertainment in 1997, which has produced popular real-time strategy games such as Company of Heroes and Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War.

In recent years, the Canadian game development industry has continued to grow and evolve. Many new game development companies have emerged across the country, particularly in cities such as Montreal and Toronto. There has also been a trend towards indie game development, with many small studios and independent developers creating innovative and unique games.

Another recent development in the Canadian game development industry is the growing emphasis on virtual and augmented reality games. Several Canadian companies, such as Secret Location and Archiact, are developing VR and AR games and applications that are pushing the boundaries of what is possible in gaming.

Overall, the Canadian game development industry has come a long way since its early days, and continues to be an important and influential player in the global gaming industry.

Popular Game Genres in Canada

Action and adventure games are among the most popular genres in Canada, with many Canadian game development companies producing successful titles in this category. Games like Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry, developed by Ubisoft Montreal, are some of the most successful and critically acclaimed action-adventure games ever made. Other notable titles in this genre include the Uncharted series by Naughty Dog, which has a development studio in Vancouver, and Tomb Raider by Crystal Dynamics, which is based in British Columbia.

Sports games are another popular genre in Canada, with many Canadians being passionate about hockey, soccer, and other sports. The EA Sports brand, which is based in Vancouver, is one of the most well-known game development studios in the world for sports games. The FIFA and NHL franchises are both created by EA Sports and are hugely popular in Canada and around the world. Other notable sports game developers in Canada include HB Studios, which is based in Nova Scotia and develops the PGA Tour series, and Big Blue Bubble, which is based in Ontario and creates the popular arcade-style sports game franchise, SuperDribble.

Role-playing games, or RPGs, are another popular genre in Canada. Bioware, which is based in Edmonton, Alberta, is one of the most well-known game development studios for RPGs, having created critically acclaimed titles such as Baldur’s Gate, Dragon Age, and Mass Effect. Other notable Canadian developers in this genre include Larian Studios, which is based in Quebec and created the popular Divinity series, and Grinding Gear Games, which is based in Auckland, New Zealand but was founded by Canadians and developed the popular RPG, Path of Exile.

Simulation games are also popular in Canada, with many Canadian game development companies producing successful titles in this category. The Sims franchise, created by Electronic Arts and developed in part by EA Canada, is one of the most successful simulation game franchises of all time. Other notable Canadian developers in this genre include Frictional Games, which is based in Sweden but was founded by Canadians and developed the popular horror game, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, and Klei Entertainment, which is based in Vancouver and created the survival game, Don’t Starve.

Overall, Canadian game development companies have found success in a variety of genres, demonstrating their versatility and ability to create high-quality games across a wide range of styles.

Canadian Game Development Companies

Canada is home to some of the top game development companies in the world. Some of the most well-known and respected companies include Ubisoft Montreal, EA Sports, Bioware, and Relic Entertainment. These companies employ thousands of people across the country and have made significant contributions to the gaming industry.

The game development companies in Canada are known for their versatility and ability to create games in a variety of genres. Ubisoft Montreal, for example, has produced games in genres ranging from action-adventure to racing to strategy. EA Sports is known for its sports games, while Bioware specializes in role-playing games. Relic Entertainment is known for its real-time strategy games.

Canadian game development companies have produced many notable games over the years. Some of the most popular and critically acclaimed games include Assassin’s Creed (Ubisoft Montreal), NHL (EA Sports), Mass Effect (Bioware), Company of Heroes (Relic Entertainment), and Don’t Starve (Klei Entertainment). These games have won numerous awards and have been enjoyed by millions of players around the world.

It’s worth noting that the Canadian gaming industry isn’t limited to just the big players. There are many smaller game development companies across the country that are making their mark in the industry as well. As for the latest results, This list is a testament to the diversity and innovation of the Canadian gaming industry, and players can find exciting and unique games from both established and emerging game development companies in Canada. 

Canada’s Support for Game Development

The Canadian government has recognized the importance of the game development industry and has made significant efforts to support its growth. The Canadian federal government, as well as many provincial governments, offer tax incentives and other financial support to game development companies. These incentives can include tax credits for labor costs, research and development, and digital media. The government also provides funding for organizations that support the game development industry, such as the Entertainment Software Association of Canada and the Canadian Interactive Alliance.

Canada is home to several academic institutions that offer game development programs. These programs cover various aspects of game development, including programming, game design, and 3D modeling. Some of the top institutions include the University of British Columbia, Vancouver Film School, and Sheridan College. These programs help to train the next generation of game developers and provide a pipeline of talent for game development companies.

The Canadian Video Game Awards is an annual event that recognizes the best games and game developers in Canada. The awards are open to games developed by Canadian companies or games that have significant Canadian content. The awards cover various categories, including Game of the Year, Best Game Design, and Best Indie Game. The awards provide a platform to showcase the talent and creativity of Canadian game developers and help to promote the industry both nationally and internationally.

Overall, Canada’s support for the game development industry has been instrumental in its growth and success. The government’s financial incentives and support for organizations, coupled with academic institutions that offer game development programs and events like the Canadian Video Game Awards, have created a robust ecosystem for game development in Canada. This support has helped to attract and retain top talent and has made Canada a hub for game development.

The Future of Game Development in Canada

The game development industry in Canada has seen significant growth in recent years and shows no signs of slowing down. The industry has become a major contributor to the Canadian economy, with estimates suggesting that it generates over $3 billion in revenue annually. The continued growth of the industry is driven by factors such as the availability of highly skilled talent, government support, and the country’s reputation as a hub for innovation and creativity.

Despite the growth potential of the Canadian game development industry, it faces several challenges. One of the main challenges is the increasing competition from other countries, such as China and India, which offer lower development costs. Another challenge is the ongoing issue of attracting and retaining top talent, which can be difficult due to the high demand for skilled game developers. Additionally, the industry faces challenges related to diversity and inclusion, as it strives to create more diverse and representative games and workplaces.

As technology continues to advance, the game development industry in Canada is likely to see new trends emerge. One trend is the continued growth of virtual reality and augmented reality games. Another trend is the increasing popularity of mobile gaming, which is expected to continue to grow in the coming years. Additionally, there is a growing trend towards games with more social and multiplayer features, as well as an increasing focus on using games for educational and training purposes.

Conclusion

The game development industry in Canada has a rich history and a bright future. Canada has become a hub for game development, with many top game development companies calling the country home. The industry benefits from government support, academic institutions that offer game development programs, and a talented workforce. Additionally, the Canadian Video Game Awards provide a platform to showcase the industry’s talent and creativity.

The game development industry in Canada has significant growth potential, but it also faces challenges. To continue to thrive, the industry must adapt to emerging trends and address issues related to diversity and inclusion. However, with the continued support of the government and the availability of highly skilled talent, the future looks bright for game development in Canada.