With an official announcement made earlier this month, American video game developer THQ has become the latest to open a Montreal video game design studio. Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, Eidos have all set up shop in Montreal, taking advantage of the skilled labor that drives the industry. "Montreal's outstanding pool of creative digital media talent and its highly regarded university system makes this the ideal location to support our future product and technology development needs," said Steve DeCosta, senior vice-president of THQ's core games, operations and finance, in a statement. Montreal’s has helped Canada join the ranks of the United States and Japan as world leaders in the development of video games. The region boasts operating costs that are as much as 30% lower than in the U.S and 10% lower than in Europe.
Other considerations make Montreal an attractive location to do business. The provincial government through its multimedia tax credit provides generous tax breaks. Dedicated bandwidth and state-of-the-art datacenters allow for the massive movement of data. (Alliance Numérique) The region benefits from some of the cheapest electricity rates in North America.
The video game industry is an important role on Montreal’s business scene. Some 5000 people make up the video game industry in Montreal comprising of over 85 development companies (3650+ jobs) and 18 game-related service companies. (800 jobs) The industry brought in $550 million in 2007. (DFC Intelligence)
And for those of you who think that video game development jobs are low paying and uninteresting, think again. The editors at Game Developer magazine have released survey results calculating an average American game industry salary in 2008 of $79,000, representing a 7% increase from the $74,000 it reported a year earlier. Business people and marketers make the most, with an average salary of $102,143, followed by programmers, earning an average annual salary of $85,024. The more experienced programmers (6+ years) earning 26% more than the average annual salary.
Other video game companies such as Edmonton-based Bio-Ware and Norwegian-based game publisher/developer Funcom have announced that they will expand to Montreal in 2010.