Apologies if this is posted elsewhere already, but apparently Ontario taxpayers are going to give Ubisoft $263 million to set up a Toronto studio: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ontario-ponies-up-cash-for-toronto-video-game-studio/article1208028/
Hope to see some of you characters at the local bars.
Too much porn on the televisions in Woody’s, it’s distracting; better to go across the street to Wilde Oscar’s (formerly Pints) where you can have a conversation without shouting.
Or, was Adree trying to suggest there’s something wrong with gay bars?
Hopefully it will be quality studio like Montreal, and not one like Shanghai (my Double Agent PC memories are still fresh…).
Anyway, love Toronto…CN Tower rocks : ).
This is absolutely outrageous to me. The provincial governments are acting like total whores. They’re practically paying Ubisoft to create games by subsidizing like 75% of the employees’ salaries on top of numerous other incentives, and the Guillemot brothers make hundreds of millions of dollars off of the deal every year while laughing all the way to the bank at what suckers the people are here. I’m sure that soon provinces like British Columbia and New Brunswick will follow suit. It’s only because of our taxes that for example they have the means to hire 350 people to work on Assassin’s Creed. At that, a game designer or programmer’s salary is probably the lowest in Eastern Canada in all of North America. And yet towns like Montreal get nothing out of it except for some sort of dubious “reputation for being a game developer haven”.
I don’t think that’s really true. These game companies employ people who spend money in other businesses in Montreal, which increases tax revenue to the city. The city also benefits from people buying property, or more indirectly through rent – after all, game company employees need to live here, too. And of course there’s the conferences that happen here because of the strong game industry, and that fills the city with tourist dollars.
I’m not saying that the provincial funding of video game companies is ultimately profitable, but it’s not a total money sink.
This absolutely thrills me. The provincial governments are acting in my best interests. They are literally paying Ubisoft to bring me back to Toronto by subsidizing like 75% of my salary on top of numerous other incentives, and the Guillemot brothers make hundreds of millions of dollars off of the deal every year while laughing all the way to the bank all while sharing a sizeable chunk with myself. I’m sure that soon provinces like British Columbia and New Brunswick will follow suit. It’s only because of our efforts that for example they have the means to hire 350 people to work on Assassin’s Creed. At that, my salary is actually pretty competitive compared to all of North America. And yet towns like Montreal get nothing out of it except for ridiculous amounts of local business driven by having 2000 people in an area eating at restaurants for two meals a day.
The only thing that stuns me about the news is that the local media can’t seem to cover it without using the word “bailout”. (Sheesh.) I think it’s great that they’re attracting a top flight developer, and helping cultivate a business sector in Ontario that will help keep local talent here, instead of needing to jump ship to Quebec, British Columbia, or the US.
My understanding is that there are already some tax incentives to support game development in Quebec, which is among the reasons why devs such as EA and Ubi are in Quebec but not Ontario, and that this is just a similar step to make Ontario more competitive to host these businesses.
I suspect it will dovetail nicely with all the film and other media produced here, and a lot of schools in southern Ontario are churning out grads for this kind of market. I think it’s money well spent, and I’m squarely in the “Welcome!” camp.
Charles, if you do happen to head out this way, first round’s on me.
I’m out there all the time. But yeah, I’m already putting out my feelers to try and get in on the ground floor.
Wow, $328,750 per person?
It doesn’t exactly work like that. And even if it did, that much for ten years of employment makes McDonalds a brighter prospect.
It’s unfortunate that it had to come to this to attract a big studio to Toronto, but it’s so badly needed and should have been done long ago. Now years behind on the talent pool, Ontario had to pay desperation money to get things started. But think of it as seed money in an entire industry, not a one-off, and an attempt to stop brain drain. Once the Charleses of Canada start coming home and graduates stop fleeing the city it will become a more attractive area for smaller studios. This is the plan at least.
I’m sure that soon provinces like British Columbia and New Brunswick will follow suit.
Why would BC need to do this?
Wow that’s a lot of money. Hopefully that’s $263M well-spent.
The local studios have been lobbying for tax breaks for years. This announcement could give them some leverage. There’s been a lot of layoffs at studios in Vancouver for the past year (rumours of another major studio laying people off soon too). It’s going to be tough for the BC government to say no when everyone else is saying yes.
There’s a difference between incentives though, and free money. Vancouver already has a thriving development community, and while some companies haven’t fared well, that’s less to do with the vancouver situation and more to do with the studios themselves. Tax breaks might be nice, but throwing some extra cash at the devs who are there isn’t going to help that scene all that much.
Isn’t this sort of thing pretty common nowadays in various degrees? I mean, when a big chain or company moves into the area I pretty much assume automatically they were bought off with tax breaks.
Why would New Brunswick need to do this?
It’ll want its piece of the pie sooner or later. Plus when Ubisoft was originally pondering the opening of a new studio in Eastern Canada in the mid-nineties it was between the governments of Quebec and New Brunswick. I remember at the time it was all over the news here if you watched Radio-Canada. Ultimately Quebec won (because they bended over even more).
It’s funny that nowadays no company will do anything without some sort of blackmailing for government hand-outs.
That’s untrue, but if the French language (and resulting recruitment/retention issues) isn’t a barrier, barring competing incentives you’d have to be crazy not to run your software/entertainment/gaming company out of Quebec since there’s just mountains of free cash from government incentives and institutions with investment mandates that they can’t satisfy because they can’t find appropriate investments. Quebec gets billions of dollars annually from Alberta and Ontario taxpayers just to continue being Quebec.
The Ontario government has destroyed the Ontario economy in the past 6 years - it’s dumb to start a business here unless you can’t get employees elsewhere. Giving $263 million to a company that made over $100 million seems like a strange way to redress that, but at least the government is finally recognizing that it’s created an awful environment for business and employees and they need to do something to get business here. Ontario has also thrown hundreds of millions at GM and the auto industry, etc.