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Video Games market in Canada to achieve a revenue of $3,925m in 2024

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Video Games market in Canada to achieve a revenue of $3,925m in 2024
Isn't gaming just child's play?

The video games industry is a big deal in Canada, and it is anything but child's play. The gaming industry might have started life as a pastime for kids and teens, but as those kids and teens grew up, so did the world of gaming around them. Glitchy, two-dimensional platform games morphed into fantastical ultra-real worlds within worlds and hooked generations of gamers into their sophisticated alternative realities. These days, games can have incredible narratives, real-life actors, and seamless animations. Their production values are on the same scale as you might find in movies and TV shows; the main difference, however, is that the player directs the action and navigates their own way through the script.

Market size

According to the latest survey data from Statistica, it is predicted that the video games market in Canada will hit revenue of USD3,925 million in 2024. The market is in its ascendency and it is projected to be worth USD5,144 million by 2027. While it is dwarfed by China's 2024 predicted revenue of USD94,490, the Canadian revenue per user is an impressive USD757 per person. With over 900 active video game companies in the country, the sector is not only generating revenue but also creating high-level employment.  It is anticipated that there will be close to 6 million active players by 2027.

What is the video game market?

The market refers to the entire industry involved in video game creation, development, publishing, and distribution. However, there is another significant sector of the market as well. The revenue from video games is not all about sales and subscription but it has created a market within a market. In-game advertising generates the single largest segment for revenue and accounts for  USD 1,448 million in 2024 (or almost a third) of the total. Advertisers understand they can target a captive and highly selective audience by promoting their brands through video games.

The rest of the market is made up of a wide range of software and hardware, including online, console, PC, and mobile games, together with accessories, gaming consoles, controllers, virtual reality headsets, and other peripherals. It is a rapidly growing industry with the millions playing globally generating billions of dollars each year. It contains online games, mobile games, and cloud gaming. The top Canadian-developed games include Assassin's Creed, Dragon Age, and Mass Effect.

A whole other area of play

However, that is not the end of the online gaming story. There is another considerable sector in Canada that is a market in its own right – the online gambling market. Also known as igaming, the online gambling market in Canada is expected to be worth USD4,190 million this year. The market covers all forms of online wagering, including sports betting, online casinos, and lottery games. The market tends to be dominated by a few larger operators offering online gambling services to customers around the world. However, much of the expertise derived from the video games industry is deployed in igaming, and many smaller studios and developers are involved in this global industry.

It appears that Canadians love to play. 61% of the population regularly play video games, and 60% say they have had a flutter within the last month. The most popular form of gambling is playing the lottery, which accounts for 65% of regular monthly gambling. Online casino games, and the slots in particular, are also a firm favorite, and a wide range of titles and operators to choose from. In fact, there are so many choices that many players check casino sites on Casino.ca to check the reviews from professional, independent reviewers to find the best games, bonuses and promotions. After all, when playing with real money, knowing that one is playing on trusted, secure sites is essential.

Creating jobs and wealth

Gaming is important to Canada's economy. According to a 2021 industry survey, video game companies operating in Canada accounted for over 32,000 full-time jobs (FTEs), up 17% from 2019. Almost 60% of companies employed more people in 2021 than four years earlier. So, while there is always the fear that tech will take away human employment when it comes to gaming and play, the industry is creating it. The range of jobs in the sector is impressive, too, and it recruits employees from a wide range of creative, technical, and business backgrounds. In addition, the same survey shows that the games industry was responsible for a further 23,000 indirect jobs – so more than 50,000 in total.

It is an attractive sector to work in and tends to be quite casual and informal. The online gambling sector, in particular, offers flexible working conditions and attractive employment packages in order to attract a high-quality workforce. For people who enjoy playing video games, working in the sector also has the advantage of offering good salaries and plenty of career progression. According to the ESAC 2021 Industry Survey, the average salary for a full-time employee in 2021 was CAN $78,600.

How is equality shaping up?

The gaming workforce is predominately male, with women making up less than a quarter of the employees. British Columbia has the lowest proportion of women at 20%, and Ontario has the highest at 26%. Women are most likely to be working directly on games in micro-sized companies and least likely to be working on them in large companies. However, because micro-sized firms account for a tiny portion of the overall industry, women in the workforce are still massively underrepresented.

Home Grown Industry?

Three-quarters of video game companies in the country are Canadian-owned, but this has declined since 2019. The shift is due to foreign companies' acquisition of successful Canadian studios and multinationals setting up in the country to capitalize on the existing workforce. While the number of Canadian companies is impressive, they tend to fall into the small and micro-scale of things. Despite accounting for less than a quarter of the games companies in Canada, the foreign-owned businesses employed four-fifths of the workforce.

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