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How Big is the Gaming Community in Ottawa?

Skating at the Rideau Canal, touring the parliament building, trying restaurants, watching sports—there are plenty of great things about Ottawa. But did you know Ontario is home to one of the biggest video game communities in the world?

From developers and publishers to professional gamers and streamers, Canada in general is a rapidly growing gaming hub. Should you care?

  • It is a $3.6 billion industry
  • Over 30,000 employees and 700+ companies
  • Countless opportunities
  • 19 Million Gamers

Regardless of whether you love gaming or not, these figures should mean something. The gaming industry in Canada at large is enormous. Gaming startups keep cropping up and opportunities to make money are endless.

23% of Gaming Studios are from Ontario

Ontario is one of the three top producers of Video games in Canada, contributing 23% of all studios in the country. It trails Quebec, which hosts 29% and British Columbia with 27% of major developer companies.
California-based Activision has one of its biggest offices in Ontario. It's known for famous titles such as Call of Duty, the Tony Hawk Series, Doom and Prototype. Rockstar of the Grand Theft Series and Dead Redemption Series also hold offices in the province.

Homegrown companies might not have titles popular all over the world. But they have a slew of successful games in Canada and the US. They include Toronto-based Alt Software, Ottawa-based Arctic Empire and Milton-based Big Impact Studios.

C$ 3.6 Billion—Annual Revenues

The video game industry generates C$3.6 billion every year, an amount projected to reach C$4.5 billion by 2024. Mobile gaming contributes a third of this figure, making it the largest segment of the country’s gaming sector.

If you’re a developer based in Ottawa, now is the best time to create games for the Canadian population. As mentioned, mobile gaming is where the big money lies. But with large corporations such as Rockstar and Activision creating games within Ontario, there’s certainly a market for PC and console games.

The average Canadian video gamer spends C$40 per game. Add up to 30% of the country that identifies as gamers and you'll see why the industry is booming.

Over 100 Online Casinos

The iGaming industry in Canada at large is snowballing at unprecedented rates. Jut five years ago, no one was sure whether it was legal to gamble online. Everything is clear now: you can use online casinos but can’t get licensed locally.

As a result, most online gambling businesses that target Canadians are licensed in Malta, the UK and lately New Jersey. They are fully-fledged establishments with slots, table games, lotteries and sportsbooks.
When you create an account at a good Canadian online casino, you’re welcomed with a bonus of up to $1000. There are more rewards when you become a loyal customer. And get this, you can use the offers to win real money.

A lucky Canuck won C$7.5 million playing slots at an online casino in 2015. No one has broken the record yet but there have been multiple jackpots of $100,00 0 or more taken home by Canadians.

52% Men and 48% Women Gamers

One of the best facts about gaming in Canada is that it’s evenly distributed between men and women. It’s almost a level ground where male and female video gamers have an equal chance to launch streaming, pro-gaming or in-studio careers.

Of course, the statistic doesn’t tell a lot about what specific games male and female gamers play in Canada. But what’s clear is that Canada isn’t like most countries. Men don’t’ dominate the industry and women aren’t limited to mobile games.

With that in mind, it is also clear why the dynamics of video game characters and stories keep changing. Instead of an all-male cast of characters, it's now standard to choose between a male or female lead.
When it comes to narratives, the traditional video game characterized by firearm action alone has been replaced by titles with complex storylines. Sensitive topics such are vulnerability, suicide and teen pregnancy are commonplace. However, the range of video games is so wide and diverse that everyone has a game they can like.

Countless Streamers on Twitch and YouTube

Mike “Shroud” Grzesiek
, arguably the second most famous streamer in the world, comes from Mississauga, Ontario. He’s made a name playing CS: GO, and PUBG on Twitch. Last year, he made headlines after reports Microsoft paid him $10 million to leave Twitch for Mixer.

Microsoft hasn’t had immense success with Mixer, though, and they plan to close it down this July. That means the presently California-based streamer will soon be back on Twitch, YouTube and probably Facebook.
Yes, Facebook is a major player in the video game streaming business these days. And who’s better to understand this than Jeremy “Disguised Toaster” Wang, a Twitch, YouTube and Facebook streamer?

Born in Taiwan, Wang previously lived in Kingston Ontario before moving to Los Angeles where works as a streamer. Like Shroud, Wang made his name on Twitch but later expanded to YouTube and Facebook.

He’s notable for saying he makes more money streaming on Facebook than other channels. He plays Hearthstone, League of Legends and Fortnite. Disguised Toaster aside, other famous Canadian streamers are Troydan and xQc.

There are more streamers in Ontario, many of who are not as famous as Shroud or Troydan. But they all tell the same story: Canadians love video games.

A Major Export

Canada is the third-largest developer of video games, just behind the US and Japan. It makes $3.6 billion annually as we mentioned. But interestingly, 76% of this income comes from exporting video games to the world.

Titles such as Rockstar's Red Redemption 2 and a few of the Assassin's Creed series were created by studios based in Toronto. However, they made the most money in the US, Europe and the rest of the world.
Of course, the benefits of these export are celebrated by all Canadians. The industry added $2.6 to the country’s GDP last year whereas the rest was shared as profits and salaries.

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