Quebec video-game makers thrive in economic crisis
Quebec's dynamic video-game industry is still expanding and will likely be hiring hundreds of new workers in coming years, despite the recent economic downturn.
More than 6,000 people currently work in Quebec's game industry, making the province the sixth-largest production region in the world.
Video-game sales are holding steady despite the financial crisis that has set back many producers of consumer goods, because they are seen as affordable, said Michel Rioux, general director of Ubisoft's Quebec City studio.
"If we compare [sales] with any kind of entertainment or pastimes, the cost of a video game is less than a trip down south, or something like that," Rioux told CBC News.
"In the past decade, every time we have an economic slowdown, we didn't see [any] impact in the sales."
Video-game sales have increased more than 40 per cent in the last year in Canada alone, due in part to their wider appeal, said Pierre Proulx, a technology analyst with Alliance Numérique.
"Sometimes maybe an uncle, a grandpa, or your children are playing while you're around," he said. "So it's kind of a get-together happening [in peoples' homes.]"
The popularity of games means companies such as Ubisoft will continue developing and producing new games in the next few years, he said.
That means companies will require a steady influx of skilled workers, and Ubisoft still has "great expectations for recruitment," with plans underway to hire at least 1,000 workers in the next two or three years, Rioux said.
Even other developers such as Electronic Arts — which announced job cuts across North America in October — are hiring video-game experts, he said.