Nearly 40 cutting-edge B.C. digital media companies and organizations are bringing their A game to the 2016 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week – the world's largest and longest-running professionals-only video game industry event.
Held from March 14-18, the annual conference attracts more than 25,000 attendees from leading digital media companies worldwide. It’s the place to be for programmers, artists, producers, game designers, audio professionals and industry business leaders to connect with potential investors, promote their newest products and help shape the future of the industry.
For the Game Developers Conference, British Columbia’s U.S.-based trade and investment team has been working to bring B.C.’s video game developers face-to-face with the partners and investors they need to expand into new markets in Asia, Europe and the United States. And B.C. companies are ready to impress, with new digital media technology and games ready to unleash. For example:
- Victoria’s Hololabs Studio Inc. is introducing “Floor Kids”, a touch dance-action game for iOS and Android. Featuring original music by Kid Koala, Floor Kids celebrates self-expression and diversity through street dance culture.
- Roadhouse Interactive, a Vancouver studio of 160 developers, will promote several new projects including games developed with Iron Maiden and Red Bull Media House.
- East Side Games, hailing from East Vancouver, is ready to showcase its new original games as well as the upcoming official Trailer Park Boys mobile game.
- Port Alberni’s Agog Labs Inc. is looking to expand the use of its new programming language, SkookumScript, currently used in 44 countries.
B.C.’s tech sector is one of the province’s fastest-growing industries and the Ministry of International Trade is partnering with key organizations such as Creative BC, the Vancouver Economic Commission, the Centre for Digital Media and DigiBC to promote these cutting-edge companies while raising awareness of B.C. as a growing tech hub for video game development.
The #BCTECH Strategy is a key component of the BC Jobs Plan to support the growth of B.C.’s vibrant technology sector and strengthen British Columbia’s diverse knowledge-based economy. The 10-year strategy includes a $100-million BC Tech Fund and initiatives to increase talent development and market access for tech companies that will drive innovation and productivity throughout the province.
Teresa Wat, Minister of International Trade and Minister Responsible for Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism –
“The Game Developers Conference provides a fantastic opportunity for B.C. game developers to catch the eye of investors from all over the world, making important business connections with the help of the B.C. government and partner associations like DigiBC and Creative BC. Each new connection has the potential to translate into new jobs for British Columbians, boosting B.C.’s already thriving video game sector.”
Amrik Virk, Minister of Technology, Innocation and Citizens’ Services –
“The video game industry in B.C. has a rich history and is recognized as a cornerstone of B.C.’s tech economy, with household titles like NHL, FIFA, Gears of War and many others. That is why the Game Developers Conference is an important opportunity for our video game companies to continue to attract partners and investors. Our recently released #BCTECH Strategy and $100-million BC Tech Fund will provide B.C. tech companies with a strong advantage and the support they need to grow and succeed; creating more opportunities for collaboration and partnerships for international trade and investment.”
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour –
“B.C. has become an international hub for video game development, animation, visual effects and mobile and wireless innovation. B.C. has so much to offer from the wide range of outstanding locations and full service infrastructure including leading-edge post-production and visual effects facilities, to a highly experienced, capable and committed workforce.”
Mike Wozniewski, president and chief technology officer, Hololabs -
“Hololabs creates games and new media experiences ranging from mobile apps to virtual reality. Our latest creation is an action dance game called Floor Kids, made in partnership with recording artist Kid Koala and animator Jon Ng. As an indie game studio, GDC is the perfect opportunity to form new collaborations like this, and partners like the B.C. government help us develop the international partnerships we need to get noticed.”
James Hursthouse, co-founder and CEO, Roadhouse Interactive –
“We always look forward to being part of the B.C. delegation at GDC as a highlight of the year. The assistance from the B.C. government, both at GDC and through the trade offices around the world, is invaluable in terms of initiating and progressing international deals and helping us grow the creative and interactive technology economy in B.C.”
Josh Nilson, co-founder and CEO, East Side Games –
“East Side Games is proud to be B.C. born and is eager to connect with investors and other video game developers at GDC 2016 with the help of the B.C. government. We are excited to show off our newest projects, including original IP games and the upcoming official Trailer Park Boys mobile game – you can’t get much more Canadian than that.”
Conan Reis, co-founder and CEO, Agog Labs Inc. –
“As a rising B.C. tech start-up developing cutting-edge tools for the global video game production industry, having an expo booth at the Game Developers Conference is essential for finding new clients and partners. We are grateful to the BCIC Venture Acceleration Program for their valuable connections and mentorship. Our programming language, SkookumScript, is now being used in 44 countries, and after GDC, we’re confident that number will grow.”
- B.C. has one of the top video game clusters in the world, with more than 120 game development studios responsible for 5,500 full-time jobs.
- The video game industry is growing in British Columbia, and was recently forecast to reach $93 billion in revenues by 2019 according to a study by Price Waterhouse Cooper.
- B.C.’s Interactive Digital Media tax credit supports the digital media industry through a 17.5% refundable tax credit on eligible salary and wages for companies that develop interactive digital media products in B.C. such as video games or educational software.
- At last year’s conference, B.C.’s U.S. Trade and Investment Representative Office supported more than 30 B.C. companies, arranging business-to-business meetings that resulted in new partnerships and collaborations allowing B.C.’s gaming industry to grow internationally.
Find out more about the 2016 Game Developers Conference: http://www.gdconf.com/
Learn more about Creative BC, the independent agency responsible for developing and promoting creative industries in B.C.: http://www.creativebc.com/
Check out DigiBC, B.C.’s industry association making B.C.’s digital industries stronger and more influential through education, networking and public policy: http://digibc.org
Check out the ways B.C. is championing our growing tech sector with the new #BCTECH Strategy: https://bctechstrategy.gov.bc.ca/economy/bc-tech-strategy/
Find out how the B.C. government is supporting job growth in the province: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan/
A backgrounder follows.