Investment is being lost as global companies pack bags for other provinces offering better incentives
Rockstar Vancouver went out in a blaze of glory with its last title
Vancouver, Canada has suffered tremendous blows to its gaming industry cred with the recent closures of both Radical Entertainment and the local arm of Rockstar Entertainment. Faced with the reality that local jobs are being lost as the industry packs its bags for greener pastures elsewhere in Canada, the office of Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson confirms it will be bringing a motion next week to rally support for the city's local digital media jobs and investment.
Acknowledging the "significant new strategies" being launched by other Canadian provinces to win investment from global digital media giants, Robertson's motion will urge the British Columbian government to redouble its commitment to the digital media entertainment sector by creating more robust and competitive incentives of their own.
The motion compares BC's current 17.5% tax credit for companies in digital media sector (including video game companies) to the far more attractive 37.5% tax credit offered by the province of Ontario, not to mention their additional stacked incentives which are limited here. Say, guess where Rockstar is opening their new studio after closing the one over here? You guessed it, Ontario.
Furthermore, the motion specifically highlights how Vancouver has fallen from first to third place for gaming companies in Canada over the past three years alone, and that losing the crown to other provinces threatens the sustainability of Vancouver's talent pool (not to mention the local scene for the industry itself) over the long term.
As little can be done without provincial level support, Mayor Robertson intends to get in contact with relevant departments in BC's government to discuss how to better close the gap in incentive programs, and promote a "national interactive digital media strategy" which would see Canada as a whole increase its global competitiveness.