Published On: Sat, Sep 3rd, 2011

U.S. Loses Video Game Jobs to Canada

Quebec, Canada has become the preferred place for some of the biggest video game companies to set up shop.

“Assassin’s Creed,” one of this holiday’s highly anticipated games, is being produced by Ubisoft workers in Montreal, Quebec. Ubisoft is the leading video game employer in Montreal, hiring 2,100 game developers with a full-time doctor on staff, an in-house gym along with personal trainers and a rooftop bar area overlooking the city. And — it’s not the only gaming company that has made the move to the French speaking city in the province of Quebec.

The city has become attractive to gaming companies for a number of reasons. The government has introduced a program under which a video game company’s payroll is subsidized by the Quebec province in the form of a refundable tax credit.

For example, for every dollar a video game company spends on paying its development staff, it receives 37.5 cents from the Quebec government. The incentives also include extra credits for companies that make French-speaking versions of their games.

Reuters reported in an article Tuesday that the incentives have attracted companies such as Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard. THQ, the California based company that produced the “WWE Smackdown vs. Raw” video game, recently moved to Montreal as part of a restructuring program to reduce costs, and closed studios in New York and Phoenix.

Montreal newspaper La Presse reported that the Tokyo-based video game company, Square Enix intends to increase its staff by hiring 350 developers to become the third-largest studio behind Ubisoft and Electronic Arts.

The government has spent $100 million on the program, up from $83 million in 2009 and considerably more than states in the U.S. with similar programs such as Texas and Louisiana.

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