Moncton is becoming home to a growing gaming industry as the city continues to attract more companies in the sector.
Karma Gaming International announced a 26-person office would be created in Moncton earlier this week.
This new office will join roughly 100 other companies that specialize in gaming, gambling or internet-related businesses in the southeastern city.
Frederic Gionet, the senior business development officer with Enterprise Greater Moncton, said there are now 3,000 people in Moncton who work in the industry.
Many of these companies are drawn to Moncton by proximity to the Atlantic Lottery Corp. and Spielo International, a major provider of slot machines.
"So smaller companies can get in, with some innovative practice, they can design games and the like but they have a potential client right here in greater Moncton that provides with the traction to become or maybe [propel] them into the global markets," he said.
The companies are hiring computer programmers, engineers and web designers.
Gionet said these are well-paying jobs that can keep many young information technology graduates in the province.
“So 3,000 employees that are well paid, to us I think that's the jewel of our community,” Gionet said.
This gaming sector is on an upward trajectory in terms of employment, but it still has a long way until it catches up to the largest employment sector in the city.
There are an estimated 8,000 people working in call centres in Moncton, making it one of the main pillars of the city’s economy.
Gionet said the call centre industry is still important but he said the gaming industry is something the city has also staked a big bet on.
Gamble paying off
The gamble of attracting gaming companies to the region is paying off.
Paul LeBlanc, the chief executive officer of Karma Gaming, spoke about the importance of having other similar companies in Moncton when the Halifax-based company announced it was locating a new development studio in the city.
“It really was being close to talent more than anything else,” he said.
“We’ve got GLI and BMM [Testlabs] so they test our products. Sitting in a room with them is better than being on the phone.”
Karma’s new development studio was also aided by Invest NB. The Crown corporation will provide a payroll rebate of up to $350,000 over four years to support the positions, which will include game designers, programmers and HTML5 developers.
When the announcement happened this week, an Invest NB official spoke about a cluster of gaming companies, especially quality assurance and testing field, that were opening in the Moncton area.
“It’s certainly a sub-sector that we’re interested in developing further,” Nora Lacey, director of research and marketing for Invest NB, said this week.