By Nathan Rudyk
Ontario's fast-growing entertainment and creative cluster produces $15 billion in revenue and over 200,000 jobs, contributing $12.7 billion to the province's GDP. In addition, gaming and digital media graduates from Ontario colleges and universities have proven to be prized employees at companies like Pixar Animation Studios, Electronic Arts, Walt Disney and Microsoft.
This week market2world is again promoting Ontario's digital media success story with a public relations campaign at Game Developers Conference Europe 2010 in Cologne, Germany on behalf of the Ontario Technology Corridor, a tech industry oasis that includes the Greater Toronto area, Ottawa region, Waterloo region, city of London and the Niagara region.
In Europe, we're making the major point that Canada, with lots of help from Ontario, has this year overtaken the UK as the world's number three (with a bullet!) gaming centre in the world, trailing only the USA and Japan. In North America as well as abroad, we're pointing our PR jets at $130 million worth of made-in-Ontario gaming infrastucture that includes:
- A $107 million dollar digital media centre for Ontario companies called The Communitech Hub: Digital Media and Mobile Accelerator in Kitchener, Ontario (Waterloo Region). Opened earlier this summer, "The Hub" offers 30,000 square feet of space dedicated to the growth of digital media research and commercialization. It represents a $26.4 million investment by the Province of Ontario, with the rest coming from private partners and other levels of government. Last week, Google announced it was taking two floors in The Hub to double its Waterloo Region staff to 140 from the present 70 people.
- The University of Waterloo's $20 million Stratford Institute for digital media, where the first classes begin this Fall. The Province of Ontario has invested $10 million in the institute, formed to help foster cross-disciplinary and cross sector collaboration in digital media. A further $10 million is being invested by the City of Stratford.
- The Generator at one, a $3 million state-of-the-art digital interactive media production facility in St. Catharines, Ontario. Featuring a Vicon T160 Motion Capture System, the facility is designed to enable entire media projects to be completed from one location. It was funded by the Government of Canada's Community Adjustment Fund, assisted through the Ontario Media Development Corporation, and is powered by nGen - Niagara's Interactive Media Generator.
- Ontario Intellectual Property Development Fund - refunds 30 per cent of eligible early stage development costs to bring screen-based content properties closer to production;
- Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit - refunds 35-40 per cent of production costs;
- Ontario Computer Animation and Special Effects Tax Credit - 20 per cent of labor costs;
- OMDC Interactive Digital Media Fund -- up to $150,000 in project production funding.
Ontario's gaming value proposition is proving irresistable to digital media and entertainment companies around the world. New and expanded studios by Ubisoft in Toronto, Google in Waterloo, and Fuel Industries in Ottawa over the last year are big-company examples. In their wake are a slew of smaller entrepreneurial outfits that are actively checking out or making the move to Ontario for all the right reasons.
To learn more, please get in touch with our friends at the Ontario Technology Corridor. They'll help you get your game on in the world's most game-friendly location.