Blogs

  • 18 Dec 2018 by DigiBC

    IDM Tax Credit

    DigiBC continues to advocate for the Interactive Digital Media sector for the BC Budget 2019. In the second quarter of the 2018 budget report, the government adjusted the budgeted allotment for the IDMTC from 56M to 46M. DigiBC has expressed concern that recent departures of major global studios (Capcom and Namco Bandai) are indicative of an investment flight, and that BC continuing to have the lowest IDMTC in the country (17.5%) must be addressed. We believe that were BC to raise the IDMTC to 25%, we would be competitive with larger tax credits due to our other advantages – talent, a strong education eco-system, and a desirable city in which to live. We are also advocating to have an additional 10% for those studios outside the Lower Mainland and the Capital Regional District.
     

    Education

    DigiBC was in the news when the Minister of Education, Rob Fleming, announced our expansion of the Play to Learn program on December 13th. Secondary students with a passion for coding and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) will now have more opportunities to expand their skill-sets and participate in the Play to Learn program, thanks to a one-time $230,000 provincial government grant that will expand the program. Since Play to Learn launched in BC in 2016, the program has engaged over 6,000 students across 96 Lower Mainland schools. The expansion is facilitated by DigiBC and provides students with the opportunity to learn the basic skills needed for video game design and other technology-related and STEM career fields. Read the full article here.

     

    Diversity and Inclusion

    DigiBC’s Executive Director, Brenda Bailey, recently met with Mitzie Dean, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity. Ms. Dean indicated that the government is bringing in requirements for gender diversity into funding decisions. We are also seeing these incentives in the private sector and in federal funders, such as the Canada Media Fund.

    DigiBC will be working with our member studios to assist in diversity and inclusion work. We were recently awarded a small amount of funding to do respectful workplace training and will be partnering with Women in Animation and Women in Games Vancouver to roll out this initiative. Stay tuned!

     

  • 18 Dec 2018 by DigiBC

    There was an excellent turnout of industry leaders at the Animation & VFX Alliance's first social gathering on December 11th. Accomplishments from the year were highlighted, along with the ambitious projects and partnerships that are underway. Attendees were also made aware of the A&VFX Alliance's efforts to tackle industry challenges and get in front of the key decision makers. The next networking event will be members-only, so joining will ensure you don't miss out! Info on the different membership tiers can be found here.

     

     

  • 12 Dec 2018 by DigiBC

    IUGO was founded in 2003 by Hong-Yee Wong with the specific goal of connecting people through mobile games. He was joined shortly after by YK Hun, the current CEO. Fittingly, the studio’s name, IUGO, means “to connect” in Latin. Their vision was to see mobile phones become the most ubiquitous gaming device in history. It was a bold vision as most phones back then only had screens the size of large postage stamps… now that vision is playing out today.

     


     

    Fun Fact: IUGO was credited in the 2009 Guinness World Records for a FPS mobile game called Re-Volt, and was described as “the most advanced mobile phone game of 2009”. Re-Volt was built on IUGO's proprietary engine technology which was cutting-edge at that time.

     

    Since 2003, IUGO has gone on to release a huge number of mobile games. In the feature phone era before 2007, they worked with publishers such as EA, Activision, and Universal to create over 30 mobile titles. Notable ones include Tiger Woods PGA Tour, Spiderman, Gladiator, Neopets, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy and Star Wars. With the rise of smartphones and app stores between 2007-2011, IUGO went into full self-publishing and produced over 15 original IP games. Many won awards and allowed the studio to successfully transition into smartphones game development. IUGO also became one of a very few select launch partners for the original Apple iPad and notable titles on here include the Toy Bot series, Zombie Attack!, Implode!, and Star Hogs.

     

     

    Post-2011, IUGO successfully navigated the sea-change of the mobile games business and moved into the in-app purchase model. They developed a dozen FTP mobile games which won multiple awards and became some of their biggest commercial successes. Notable titles include Lil’ Pirates, Animal Academy, Knights & Dragons, The Walking Dead: Road to Survival and Middle-earth: Shadow of War. Currently, they are hard at work on multiple 3D real-time multiplayer mobile games powered by their proprietary engine, Connexion. These projects also provide the opportunity to get back into creating their own original IPs, which they have not done that since creating the very successful, Knights & Dragons. These new games will go enter soft launch in select countries next year.

     

     

    Fun Fact: IUGO has created a new self-publishing arm and operations will commence in 2019 with two new 3D real-time multiplayer games based on their original IPs.

     

    So what sets IUGO apart from other studios? First off, they have been around for a very long time! The longevity and experience of navigating the turbulent changes in the games industry had shaped how they operate for the better. IUGO attributes their past successes to staying humble and having a genuine eagerness to learn from others. It uniquely shapes how they treat internal teams and external partners with respect. Their eagerness to learn is what fuels a relentless drive to continually improve and evolve their craft. When asked about their company culture, it's described as quite simply as 'the people on the floor'. The studio is privileged to have employees who value hard work and are committed to crafting quality mobile games. Staff can be cut and dry and to the point but also warm and understanding. As one employee summed it up, “we are pretty chill but we get things done, pretty social but not overbearing, and mostly professional but not stiff.”

     

    IUGO is looking for strong game development talents to help propel them to the next level of their growth journey. Even if a position is not explicitly open, talented individuals are encouraged to apply and get in touch. Current openings include Senior Backend Engineer (PHP), Senior Backend Engineer (Node.js), Senior Games Programmer (C++), Senior Game Designer, Senior UI/UX Designer, and HR Generalist. More information on job postings and to apply can be found on their website.

     

     

     


     

  • 11 Dec 2018 by DigiBC

    Next year will be the launch of the second edition of the Insomnia Gaming Festival. This is Egypt's biggest games festival and will take place in Cairo from October 31 - November 2 at the Egypt International Exhibition Center. The participation of so many companies is what made the first Insomnia Egypt a huge hit and something that has never been done before with the games industry in Egypt. They welcomed over 10,000 people and the crowd ranged from hardcore gamers and cosplayers to casual gamers and their families. Festival zones included Mobile Gaming, VR/AR, Esports Tournaments, Cosplayers, Retail & Expo, and Kids & Families.

    New for 2019:

    • Educational Games: Due to the rapid increase in population (100m+), there is  a huge demand in Egypt for educational games & solutions
    • B2B: After receiving inquiries from government and service providers, they are introducing a B2B section at the event that will consist of a conference and exhibition discussing the latest games, technologies, services, solutions and potential business opportunities available in Egypt and the Middle East
       

    Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El Sisi announced the launch of a government initiative to train 10,000 young Egyptians to become game programmers and developers over the next three years. Additionally, the government will offer support in the establishment of 100 companies specializing in these sectors in Egypt and across the African continent.
     

    Are you looking to expand your work into the Middle East? It’s become a huge, lucrative market and this is an exceptional opportunity for anyone with an education strategy or is working with educational software. If you are interested in taking part or would like further details, then get in touch with:

    Karim Abu-Seif
    Business Development Manager
    karim@bme-global.com
    www.thebmegroup.com

     

    2018 Media Gallery:
    Photos:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/157251222@N06/albums
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/BpL8kITHBzK/
    Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPv3MpYOzYA

     

     

  • 10 Dec 2018 by DigiBC

    Based in downtown Vancouver, Claren Academy is the city’s first independent, not-for-profit elementary school that follows the BC curriculum while offering enrichment in the areas of entrepreneurship, creativity, and technology. The school currently has kindergarten to grade three and there are plans to add a grade each year up to grade 12. Claren boasts small class sizes, a mandated policy to promote diversity and gender equality, a staff of outside-the-box thinking educators, and a child-centered approach to learning that incorporates tools and equipment such as an onsite 3D printer, virtual reality, and individual iPads. The idea to start Claren Academy came about when Ryan and Kathryn Clark decided they wanted a different kind of education for their sons, and then it didn't take long for them to turn their dream into a reality. We recently caught up with Ryan and Kathryn to find out how things have been going at Claren since the doors officially opened just over a year ago.
     

    Fun Fact: The rocket in the Claren Academy logo is based on the centennial rocket at the south end of the Cambie Street Bridge.
     


    What is Claren Academy and why was it created?

    “We founded Claren Academy because we believe that, in order to succeed in the future, children will need a very flexible education. When we were kids in the 1980s, who would have believed that in 2010 it would be possible to play video games for a living? So what sorts of jobs will be available to our children in 20 or 30 years' time?  It's very difficult to predict. That's why we focus on teaching children how to learn on their own. Class sizes start small to ensure that students have a strong grasp on fundamentals, and as students age, class sizes grow larger, with more emphasis placed on teaching the students how to teach themselves. A large percentage of students who reach university will drop out -- the jump from a class size of 25 in grade 12 to a class size of 400 in first year university is drastic. We want to ensure that our students know how to learn on their own, and are well prepared for university, for industry, for their first business, or wherever their passions take them.” - Ryan Clark, Founder
     

    Where is the school located and when did it open?
    The school opened in September 2017 and is located at the base of the Cambie Street Bridge in Yaletown. We are steps away from the Roundhouse Skytrain station and within a 10-minute walk of four great parks.
     

    Who are the key people involved in getting it off the ground?
    Board of Directors - Ryan Clark (Founder, Brace Yourself Games), Kathryn Clark (social worker), Katherine Reilly (Partner, McMillan LLP), Jennifer Jones (CPA), Jamie Cheng (Founder, Klei Entertainment)

    Advisors - a huge array of educational and business advisors in Vancouver and abroad jumped on board to lend their support and expertise.

    Teachers - Traci Baillie is the principal and head teacher who designs the curriculum, and all the teachers have to be entrepreneurial thinkers to be able to jump in on a new project and adapt to the challenges that come with being at a startup company.

    Families - there are a lot of families involved in game design!

     

    Parent quotes and testimonials can be read here.


    What makes Claren different from other schools? Why would somebody choose to send their child here?
    The main attraction is the focus on education for the future. The small classes are also a draw, as well as the emphasis on community, both outside the classroom for families and inside the classroom with the students. Besides our academic foundations and focus on creativity and technology, we want students to be happy little humans and there is a big focus on self-regulation and conflict resolution between peers. Another factor attracting families to Claren is the huge shortage of schools in Vancouver. Many people who move here are expecting to get into their community public school and are then are totally shocked to find out that most are over-enrolled. Claren is happy to offer an alternative to these families.

     

    Do you have plans to expand the school and open up other locations in the future?
    This is not a solid no, but it's also not something we have plans to do at this time. We would not be averse to opening a campus in Burnaby or North Van or another part of the city, but we are focused on doing what we are currently doing as well as we possibly can. We will expand into a bigger space as the school grows from elementary to high school, and a long-term priority of the board of directors is to make this education as accessible and affordable as possible, which may mean partnering with public schools or offering free training to educators. We would also love to partner with sponsors who value what we are doing in any creative way we can come together. For example, scholarships, grants for classroom supplies, professional development for educators, or any other way to offset tuition costs.

     


    How many students do you currently have? How big is the teaching staff?

    We currently have 23 students from K-3 with plans to admit between 10 and 15 kindergarteners each year as we add a grade. We have two full-time teachers in the classroom, plus our principal is teaching a few times each week. My full-time role is a mix of administration, secretarial, admission, financial, and basically anything involved in running a school that is not actually teaching. Our principal shares many of those responsibilities with me as well.

     

    What is your curriculum based on? Who put it together?
    We follow the BC curriculum with enrichment. Each student is on an individualized learning plan based on their true level of ability at this time. The principal and our fantastic teachers come up with creative and challenging lessons every day, and input from our advisors is also given.

    What is a typical day like for a student at your school?
    The school day runs from 8:45AM-3:00PM and starts off with the kids catching up each other and getting settled in. The mornings are focused on literacy and math, with students rotating through a mix of self-directed learning, teamwork, and guidance from teachers. There is a morning movement break in the gym, and the kids are encouraged to eat their snack whenever they are hungry. There may be a group lesson on science or social studies in the morning or an inquiry project that the kids are working on long-term. There are a lot of hands-on projects, like cooking, experiments, and design. The kids eat lunch together with a teacher, then have a bit of time to relax and socialize. In the afternoon, they have music and visual arts and are out to a park almost every day. Claren outsources their PE, doing a term at a time at gymnastics, karate, skating, or other local centres. They visit the Vancouver Public Library every three weeks and also do larger learning excursions which supplement the curriculum (Microsoft Garage, the kitchens of the Pan Pacific, Maplewood Farms, and all kinds of theatres). The day ends with a group meeting.

     

    What is involved in the admission process?
    Families start by contacting us and either schedule a visit or come to an open house which we run a few times a year. After that, they complete an application form and we contact a few references who know the child outside the family. Families then come in for an interview and either a classroom visit or play evaluation, depending on the child's age. Our admissions decisions are based on a whole combination of things - availability of space in a grade, diversity in the classroom, school readiness, and very importantly, what the parents are looking for in a school. We are seeking families who are passionate about our philosophy. The school is quite small and new, therefore these families will have a lot of influence in supporting it so they need to be excited about what we are doing.

     

    What is the best way for somebody to get more information? Or for a company to find out about potential partnerships, sponsorship or donations?
    Email or call us! We are actively seeking community partners who would like to support our vision through donations, programs, or any other ideas. There's great potential for companies and individuals to see a real change with their contributions. Another benefit for local companies is to support an educational choice for employees who may be moving here to work in Vancouver's booming tech industry. The biggest challenge for us in the coming years will be to find the next space to expand into and having the resources to make an excellent secondary school. Some help from the community, in the form of finances, networking, word of mouth, or just straight up encouragement is very welcome!

     

     

  • 05 Dec 2018 by DigiBC

    Apple Entrepreneur Camp’s two-week technology lab in Cupertino, California takes place once a quarter. Applications are accepted worldwide and on a rolling basis, so you can apply for any dates that are currently scheduled. Research shows that women face unique challenges in technology, especially when starting and leading companies. That’s why they created Apple Entrepreneur Camp, for organizations founded and led by women. Apple's goal is to help these entrepreneurs as they work on the next generation of cutting-edge apps and to form a global network that encourages the pipeline and longevity of women in technology.

    During a two-week technology lab, you’ll receive one-on-one code-level guidance on your app from Apple experts and engineers, as well as mentorship, inspiration, and insights from top Apple leaders. Up to three members of your company may attend, but at least one must be a woman developer, and one must be the woman founder, co-founder, or CEO. The third member of your team may be any gender. After the lab concludes, you’ll get ongoing support and become part of a growing community of other exceptional alumni who can help you build your business.

     

    Further details on the program can be found on the Apple Entrepreneur Camp website.

     

    What's Included:

    Apple Entrepreneur Camp consists of an immersive technology lab, as well as mentorship, education, and support. Selected organizations receive:

    • One-on-one code-level guidance from Apple engineers at a two-week technology lab in Cupertino, California
    • Ongoing support from an Apple Developer representative for at least one year
    • One year of membership in the Apple Developer Program
    • Up to two tickets to WWDC for the woman* founder, co-founder, or CEO and woman developer
    • Access to the Apple Entrepreneur Camp alumni network, a world-class group of inspiring and ambitious senior women leaders

     

    Eligibility:

    • Your organization must have:
      • A woman founder, co-founder, or CEO
      • A woman developer proficient in Swift or Objective-C
      • A developed app or functional build created for any platform that you can demo live
    • You must be 18 years of age or older and proficient in English
    • The woman founder, co-founder, or CEO, the woman developer, and another employee (if applicable) must be 18 years of age or older, proficient in English, and able to attend together for the entire two-week lab
    • Attendees must be able to bring their own laptop to work on their code in the lab

     

    Application Summary:

    The application consists of four parts, which include uploads and prompts for written responses. Your application will be kept on file for one year.

    Organization details - provide info on your organization and contact information for up to three employees who would attend if your organization is selected.

    Your app - provide details about your app and development team. You may include a download or demo link, as well as up to three screenshots or wireframes that best illustrate the user experience.

    The future - describe what you plan to gain from participating in Apple Entrepreneur Camp, as well as your plans for the future.

    Additional information - select the dates for which you’d like to apply and provide any additional comments. You may also apply for travel and lodging assistance if needed.

     

    Upcoming Dates:

    January 28–February 8, 2019
    Apply by December 14, 2018

    April 1–12, 2019
    Apply by January 18, 2019

    July 22–August 2, 2019
    Apply by May 10, 2019

    October 14–25, 2019
    Apply by August 2, 2019

     

  • 29 Nov 2018 by DigiBC

    The Entertainment Software Association of Canada hosted a cocktail mixer in partnership with DigiBC at Tap & Barrel on November 26th to celebrate the launch of their new study, Essential Facts 2018. Folks from the games community were treated to a tasty assortment of appetizers and drinks, in addition to hearing from Jayson Hilchie, ESAC President & CEO, and Brenda Bailey, DigiBC Executive Director. Jayson touched on the results of the study and Brenda talked about the importance of this data when interacting with government and advocating for the creative tech sector.


    This year’s study focused on the Canadian gamer and featured demographic profiles, stats on device usage, video game acquisitions, and ESRB rating awareness. It revealed that two-thirds of Canadians, or 23 million of us, are gamers. This makes Canada home to one of the largest per capita populations of video game players in the world! There was also insight into the Canadian gamer - who they are, what they play and what other activities they like to engage in. The average age in Canada for a video game player has increased to 39, meaning that Baby Boomer and Gen X Canadians play more than ever before, especially on their mobiles and tablets. Players also recognize the positive impact video games have on their daily lives and its central role in social interactions across all age groups. Further details on ESAC's 2018 study can be found here.

     

     

  • 15 Nov 2018 by DigiBC

    Advocating for fairness with the Canadian Media Fund

    While B.C. makes up about 30% of the video game and interactive digital media (IDM) talent and 29% of the IDM studios, we historically receive significantly less than 30% of the national CMF Experimental Stream fund, averaging only 16% over a seven-year period. Even more concerning is that percentage is in steady decline.

    Multiple issues about the CMF have been raised to DigiBC. These include a perception that the CMF is biased towards the east, CMF staff do not understand the IDM sector, and that applying is not worth the effort due to the high rejection rate of BC-based companies.

    The IDM sector in B.C. deserves better and DigiBC is currently finalizing a report which is going out to the CMF, government, and industry. This report draws on analytics from the CMF’s own data showing that B.C. is significantly underserved by this so-called “national fund”. We are calling for change.


    Do you have a CMF experience you would like to share with us (positive or negative)? Please write to brenda@digibc.org.

     

     

    Government Relations in October 2018

                 Photo credit: Colin Mcrae

    DigiBC is working diligently to move our IDMTC recommendations forward prior to the 2019 Budget. In addition to this, DigiBC is working with federal government partners on issues of relevance for our members.

    Executive Director, Brenda Bailey, was able to tour EA Vancouver with the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism. Originally from Argentina, Minister Rodriguez was delighted to meet some of the FIFA team, gain insight by witnessing the gameplay team in action and attend a FIFA 2020 mocap session. It is important for the Minister of Heritage to understand the value the IDM sector brings to Canada, not only from a culture and heritage perspective but also because the Canada Media Fund (CMF) falls under his portfolio.

     

     

     

     

     

  • 15 Nov 2018 by DigiBC

                           Photo credit: Nik West 
     

    DigiBC would like to thank Eric Jordan, CEO of Codename Entertainment in Victoria for his many years of service as leader of our Interactive Digital Media Group (colloquially the 'Games Group'). Eric remains on our Board of Directors but passes the baton to Peter Greenwood, CFO of Blackbird Interactive.

    A huge thank you to Eric for all his wisdom, leadership, industry and government connections, and ability to perceive a trouble spot before it happened. We’re delighted that Codename has become even more demanding on Eric's time - surely a sign of success! Check out their Dungeons and Dragon’s game, Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realm, on iTunes, Google Play, and Steam.

     

     

     

     


     

      

  • 14 Nov 2018 by DigiBC

    The Irving K Barber British Columbia Scholarship Society announced their Women in Technology and Indigenous Women in Technology scholarship recipients. These awards were given out on November 13 at Government House in Victoria by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. Also in attendance was BC's Deputy Minister of Advanced Education, Shannon Baskerville. As part of DigiBC’s dedication to growing the creators of tomorrow, Brenda Bailey participated on the judging panel which chose 10 incredible young women based on their academic achievement and demonstrated commitment to pursuing a career in computer science, engineering, or mathematics. Premier John Horgan announced the scholarships in May 2018 at the #BCTECH Summit to inspire and support more women considering these fields. Labour market forecasts expect more than 82,000 tech-related jobs openings over the next decade for computer programmers, software designers, engineers, and others.

     

    • Emilie Boras from Penticton – UBC – mechanical engineering
    • Alexandra Dean from Nelson – UVic – computer science/math
    • Emma Jackson from North Saanich – UBC – mechanical engineering
    • Natella Jafarova from Victoria – UVic – statistics
    • Giulia Mattia from Burnaby – UBC – computer science
    • Emily Medema from Vernon – UBCO – computer science
    • Angelina Pinchbeck from Kelowna – UBCO – computer science/mathematics
    • Marlie Russell from Williams Lake – UBCO – computer science
    • Jobina Tamminga* from Big Cedar – UBC – computer science
    • Amy Zhu from Vancouver – UBC – computer science

    *Indigenous Women in Technology Scholarship

     

     

    Recipients with Shannon Baskerville, Deputy Minister of Advanced Education,
    and The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia

     

  • 14 Nov 2018 by DigiBC

     

    Did you know that British Columbia has the lowest Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit (IDMTC) in the country? DigiBC is in 'full-court press' mode to ensure the government understands the importance of B.C. becoming more competitive with regards to our provincial IDMTC. Click here for our IDMTC document. The recommendations for the 2019 Budget are as follows:
     

    * Increase the IDMTC to 25% across the province
    * Add an additional 10% for studios outside of the Vancouver and Victoria areas

     

    DigiBC hosted a well-attended luncheon for the BC Government caucus in Victoria on October 31st. It was Halloween, so we got into the spirit (along with channeling a bit of the force), and made it an all-out Star Wars themed event. Princess Leia (aka Brenda Bailey) hosted, along with R2-D2 and BB-8 making guest appearances, courtesy of Finger Food Studios. MLAs enjoyed interacting with and gaining exposure to these programmable Sphero droids that are being used to teach kids coding. The lunch was held at the Hotel Grand Pacific, and would not have been complete without Halloween goodie bags. These consisted of 10 Star Wars themed treats that were each tagged with an important video game industry fact. We are always exploring new and interesting ways to get our messages into the hands of those in decision-making roles.

     

     

     

     

  • 14 Nov 2018 by DigiBC

    We recently caught up with The Cube Society's Board Chair, Alan Goldman, to find out what’s been going on at The Cube since it officially opened last October. Alan began his career in radio and television and then moved into documentary production. He’s taught numerous courses on film and television, however, it was after completing his MAA (which focused on stereoscopic 3D and its effect on documentary filmmaking) at Emily Carr when he discovered a keen interest in VR/AR.  Alan is now the Industry Liaison, Research at Emily Carr and is embedded in their Basically Good Media Lab (an experimental space that creates content with AR/VR devices). He is also actively involved with The Cube and chairs a volunteer board whose mission is to make British Columbia a global leader in the field of VR/AR/MR.
     

     

    What is The Cube and why was it created?

    The Cube is a shared studio dedicated to AR/VR companies. It boasts 6,000 square feet of space and was created to support, build and grow Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR) companies in British Columbia. The Cube is an inspiring, purpose-built studio for entrepreneurs, innovators, and leaders in AR/VR/MR. It’s located in the heart of Railtown in an 89-year old heritage building and is surrounded by stunning views, industry leaders, and game-changers transforming this industry.


    Who are the key people and companies that were involved in getting it off the ground?

    The Cube was the brainchild of David Gratton who ran a company called Work at Play in the space. David wanted to pivot his business into the nascent AR/VR space and quickly realized that he needed the expertise of others. Additionally, he had the opportunity to visit an AR/VR hub in San Francisco and believed that Vancouver would benefit greatly from having one. David worked tirelessly to make it happen, getting people like Bill Tam the then head of BC Tech to support the initiative. Others like Edo De Martin (Microsoft), Ryan Peterson (Finger Food), Derek Chen (Archiact) and Anthony Brown (AMPD) also were instrumental in its formation. In parallel, I was chairing a group of volunteers which consisted of folks from the industry and academia who were meeting on a monthly basis called BCVR. We also believed that a shared space for companies was paramount for the growth of SME’s. When we heard of David’s initiative, we immediately decided it was in the best interest of the community to work with him.  

     

     

    What benefit does The Cube bring to the tech sector in BC?

    The Cube provides companies with a place to learn and grow from each other. These are agile businesses, constantly shifting their product offerings in an effort to meet the demands of the market. We are very proud of the work that they are doing and the success they are having. It’s extremely important to acknowledge BC Tech’s support as they provide guidance to our board, which is responsible for governing the hub and enhancing the local ecosystem. Additionally, they assist with growth through the multitude of programs they offer. The Cube is also a nexus of activity for the many events we’ve hosted in the space.  

     

    How many companies are currently operating out of there? What types of projects are they working on?

    There are currently 16 companies working out of here. Some, like LlamaZOO and Cloudhead Games, have their core teams elsewhere (Victoria and Qualicum Beach). However, they derive great benefit from the space by attending events and doing their marketing from the hub. Others, like uForis, have their teams equally split between here and Waterloo, while companies like Hammer and Tong and  Didjet are anchored in the space. These companies all work in different areas of AR/VR; some provide custom content for their customers while others are focused on building platform solutions. There are also some companies, like Cloudhead, exclusively focused on the VR games market. In fact, they just won the 'VR Game of the Year Award' for The Gallery - Episode 2: Heart of The Emberstone!

     

    What do you see as the future of VR?

    The future looks bright. The biggest surge for VR/AR has been in the B2B realm. Many companies, like Finger Food, have made custom solutions for their customers that create efficiencies. In general, we are still in the beginning stages of a market which ultimately will only reach the mainstream when fully augmented reality glasses are comfortable, wireless, and networked (i.e. as easy to use as our phones and as useful). Between now and then we will continue to see growth in the consumer VR market for games and metaverse applications, and the business XR market for simulation/visualization, workplace safety and training, and product design.


    What have you seen that surprised or delighted you in a VR or AR experience?

    Of course, I am biased and see the experiences or content of platforms that our companies are building as the most delightful. I think some of the work that Aaron Hilton (Steampunk Digital) and Jacob Ervin (Occipital) collaborated on is truly ground-breaking, especially Kitty Kong which is a very cool MR experience. It allows users to point their device at the top of a physical replica of the Empire State Building and interact with King Kong as he swats at planes. There are many other experiences that are truly wonderful. If I had to pick one that has stayed with me, it would have to be Cari Ann Shim Sham’s Parksville Murders.

     

    Where would you like to see The Cube in five years?

    BC is emerging as one of the top give hubs for XR. For the past 40 years, the region has emerged as a dominant force in the visual effects, video game, and animation industries. BC is part of a 3D ecosystem that employs approximately 17,000 workers and this has been a boon for the XR industry. I would like the ecosystem to become more mature and for us to see growth similar to the film industry. However, I think we need to solve one of the biggest problems for the growth of companies and that is access to capital.

     

    What sorts of things typically happen at The Cube?

    The Cube has a brilliant event space that seats 80 people comfortably. We’ve held conferences and had delegations visit from all over the world (Taiwan, France, Brazil, and Korea). We have regular events like our ‘Lunch and Learn’ series, plus parties and other social gatherings.

     

    How can people get involved?

    The best way is to get involved is by visiting https://wearebctech.com/memberships/the-cube/


    What is the best way for somebody to find out more information about becoming a tenant, booking the space, or getting a tour?

    They can reach out to me (alan@blueplate.ca) or our Community Manager, Danilo Correia (dcorreia@wearebctech.com) as he is a great source of information and can help whether it is with tenancy or booking the space.

     

  • 14 Nov 2018 by DigiBC

    Image Engine is a world-class visual effects studio based in Vancouver, BC. The company was founded in 1995 and touts itself as a team of creative and passionate individuals, specializing in a number of areas including character/creature design and animation, digital environments, VFX supervision, and concept art. They also take pride in having a strong commitment to furthering the art of visual storytelling and pushing the boundaries of artistic and technical achievement. Since being nominated for an Academy Award for their work on District 9, Image Engine has gone on to create many other incredible creatures, environments, and digital effects.
     


    Their portfolio consists of a diverse range of television and films and the list is quite extensive. However, some of the standouts and ones they are most proud of include:

     

    • Their work in Game of Thrones S07 featuring Drogon led to them winning the ‘Outstanding Animated Character in an Episode or Real-Time Project’ Visual Effects Society Award.
    • Logan (20th Century Fox) because of the insanity to successfully pull off recreating Hugh Jackman digitally in two different guises as Logan and X-24. “The work was badass, no doubt about it!” - Shawn Walsh, VFX Executive Producer & GM
    • KIN (Lionsgate) was a special project where they worked closely with the filmmakers to create some subtle science fiction coolness. This is very much a part of the Image Engine fabric as visual effects artists.
    • The opening sequence of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Warner Bros.) showcases their work with a very complex, dynamic, and sophisticated scene.
    • Lost in Space (Netflix) was an achievement since it was done to the new True 4K specification and featured hero work done in very close collaboration with the clients. Additionally, Joao Sita (VFX Supervisor) went on to be nominated for the ‘Outstanding Special Visual Effects’ Emmy.
       


    In 2017, Image Engine expanded into a cool new space by renovating the adjacent building to their current location on West 5th Avenue in Mount Pleasant. This change has enabled the company to increase their production capacity, while simultaneously improving the office for employees. The result is a comfortable, collaborative studio with a happy workforce. Over the years, Image Engine has developed an approach to both staff and clients that's warm and friendly… akin to a family vibe with a focus on technical and creative excellence as opposed to market share. In an industry that's often times only able to think about tomorrow, their cultural path has focused on steady, sustainable growth. Ultimately, they hope this brings a boutique mentality to a company that can punch above its weight!

     


    Currently, Image Engine has a number of projects on the go that includes Mulan (Walt Disney Pictures), Pokémon: Detective Pikachu (Legendary Entertainment), and John Wick: Parabellum (Lionsgate). They are always on the lookout for top talent to join their team. If you think you have what it takes, then be sure to check out the list of available opportunities on their careers page.

     

  • 09 Nov 2018 by DigiBC

    On October 29, 2018, the Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC) launched its annual essential facts research. This year’s study focused on the Canadian gamer and featured demographic profiles, stats on device usage, video game acquisitions, and ESRB rating awareness. Essential Facts 2018 revealed that two-thirds of Canadians, or 23 million of us, are gamers. This makes Canada home to one of the largest per capita populations of video game players in the world. The study also gives insight into the Canadian gamer - who they are, what they play and what other activities they like to engage in. The average age in Canada for a video game player has increased to 39, meaning that Baby Boomer and Gen X Canadians play more than ever before, especially on their mobiles and tablets. Players also recognize the positive impact video games have on their daily lives and its central role in social interactions across all age groups.
     

    Following the launch, ESAC will be conducting a nationwide tour for industry and stakeholders. President & CEO Jayson Hilchie will be presenting an outline of the 2018 study, with an extended overview at the Montreal International Games Summit (MIGS). Join ESAC in Toronto (October 29), Montreal (November 13), Halifax (November 14) and Vancouver (November 26). Please RSVP to: jhilchie@theesa.ca


    To download the PDF booklet, click here
     

    To read more about the Canadian gamer, visit: theESA.Ca
     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • 08 Nov 2018 by DigiBC

    As part of our strong commitment to creative technology-related educational initiatives in the province, DigiBC is asking for your support through sponsorship of the B.C. Game Developers Innovation Award, in conjunction with the Science Fair Foundation of B.C. Sponsors will be recognized in at regional Science Fairs across the province and can optionally be involved in judging student projects and hosting winning students at their studio. We already have sponsors in Vancouver, Port Coquitlam, Victoria and Kelowna - please get involved and help make this a truly province-wide award!

    The Innovation Award was created last year and awarded to deserving high school students at Science Fairs all across British Columbia in February, March and April 2018. This is the second year that the BC media industry has supported this award and we would love your involvement.
     


    Science Fairs

    The Science Fair Foundation of British Columbia serves to support, organize, stage and fundraise for science fairs in BC. This extends to local, regional, national and international science fairs where students supported by the foundation have consistently produced high standard projects. In British Columbia, 14 regional fairs are part of the nearly 100 fairs held every year across Canada. Each fair is affiliated with Youth Science Canada.

    For more information - www.sciencefairs.ca


    The Award

    The B.C. Game Developers Innovation Award will be awarded to the student(s) whose project demonstrates creativity and innovation in computer science, mathematics, engineering, or astronomy. The award encourages the participation of women, First Nations, and others traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields.

    Open to students in grades 7 to 12, the award includes a $50 cash award for a junior project (grades 7-8), $100 for intermediate (9-10) and $150 for senior (11-12), and will be awarded at all 14 regional science fairs. We also hope to provide winning students with the opportunity to visit a game development studio as part of their prize.


    Why Sponsor?

    The B.C. Game Developers Innovation Award represents a great opportunity to give back to our local communities, promote STEM education in B.C., and generate some positive publicity for B.C. game developers.

    Science fairs are a great way to encourage young people into science, technology, engineering, and math-related activities and careers. These fairs offer students in grades 4-12 the opportunity to create original scientific research or innovative projects which are then displayed at various levels of competition. They are offered at the school, district, regional, national and international levels. Supported by the Science Fair Foundation BC, 14 regions of the province will hold local fairs in February, March and April 2019 where students will be selected for Team BC - to represent their region at the national competition held in Fredericton, New Brunswick from May 11-18, 2019.

    In 2018 the award was sponsored by Blackbird Interactive, East Side Games, Electronic Arts, Finger Food Studios and Klei in the Lower Mainland, Codename Entertainment in Victoria, and Hyper Hippo and Kinematic Soup in Kelowna. We would love to find sponsors from as many regions of the province as possible to make this a truly BC-wide award!

    If you would like to contribute to this co-sponsored award, please let us know! The deadline for contributions is November 30, 2018

     

    Credit card payments can be made online directly through the DigiBC website.

    Please contact the DigiBC office (team@digibc.org) if you would like to pay by cheque, wire transfer, or make a donation less than $1000.

     

    What You’ll Get

    Any DigiBC member company who provides $1,000 in sponsorship for the award will receive:

    • Their logo on www.sciencefairs.ca
    • Acknowledgment in promotional materials
    • Acknowledgment on Science Fair Foundation BC website
    • Acknowledgment on SFF BC social media channels


    In addition, if you would like to be involved in the fair for your region, you can help adjudicate the award, attend the awards ceremony and help to present the Game Developers Award, and optionally host winning students for a visit to your company office. There are also likely to be opportunities for local media coverage. Not to mention the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes from helping students participate in science-based learning.

     

    If sponsorship is oversubscribed we plan to use the remaining funds for any or all of:

    • plaques for student winners to commemorate their achievements
    • additional sponsorship to the Science Fair Foundation
    • travel subsidy for students to visit the nearest game studio sponsor
    • putting funds aside to support science fairs in future years

     

    We look forward to your support!

     

    Team BC

     

     

     

  • 06 Nov 2018 by DigiBC

    We had a great time on October 29 meeting with over 300 students from 11 different schools at the MPPIA Career Expo which took place at the Vancity Theatre. This has become a highly anticipated event on school and community calendars as it plays a key role providing insight and info to students who could become our next generation of professionals in the creative tech sector. In addition to the expo, a series of 'Industry Insider'discussion sessions were held and DigiBC's Executive Director, Brenda Bailey, was on hand to share her career path story for all three. Huge thanks to Kirsten Mihailides for organizing another successful event!

     

     

  • 16 Oct 2018 by DigiBC

    We held our annual summer barbecue a bit differently this year... it was in October! Guests were treated to a southern style spread that was hosted at CBRE's beautiful downtown office. It was a fun and engaging night where members from the creative tech sector came together to socialize and network with their peers. Dipping into various interesting conversations and witnessing many new connections being made showed how valuable these events can be. It was great to see folks from video games, visual effects, and animation connecting over delicious food and libations.
     

    DigiBC's Executive Director, Brenda Bailey, spoke briefly and highlighted our mission to promote, support, and accelerate the growth of B.C.'s interactive and digital media (IDM) industry through government relations work, education initiatives, networking, and community building events.  With the need to grow our home-grown talent through education at all levels, membership in our trade association has perhaps never been more important than it is now. The future of our sector depends on our ability to hire talent, and DigiBC is leading the way with education initiatives geared to invite B.C. youth into our sector. CBRE's Senior VP, Kevin Nelson, also said a few words that touched on the Vancouver tech real estate market and the work he and his team do with sourcing exceptional workspace environments. Attendees were then treated to an exclusive tour of the award-winning CBRE office and had the opportunity to see and hear about the many wellness ideas that have been incorporated into their workspace. 


    This event would not have been possible without the generous support of our wonderful sponsor, The High Tech Facilities Group (HTFG) @ CBRE. We can't thank them enough! The HTFG @ CBRE is our proud new partner for corporate real estate. Since 1994, they have been Vancouver's only tenant representation team that focuses exclusively on commercial real estate solutions for B.C.'s technology sector. 
     

    Be sure to join our mailing list and stay up-to-date on all of our future events here.

     

  • 11 Oct 2018 by DigiBC

    Brenda Bailey, Executive Director of DigiBC, has participated in a number of industry consultations to ensure the Interactive Digital Media sector’s voice is being heard by our government. DigiBC represented your interests at the following important meetings over the past month.

     
    September 13, 2018
    Brenda participated in the Roundtable Discussion with Dr. Arvind Gupta: Government of Canada's National Digital and Data Consultations.
    The primary focus of this consultation was planning in regard to future talent shortages.

     

    Brenda, with the assistance of Peter Greenwood (CFO, Blackbird Interactive) and Sarah Tutton Frost (Tax Director, EA), presented to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services as they held public consultations for the 2019 budget. DigiBC put forward the following recommendations:


    1) Increase BC Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit (BCIDMTC) from 17.5% to 25%
    2) Create a regional diversification incentive in the BCIDMTC by adding an additional 10% for rural and northern regions


    In addition to presenting to the Standing Committee, DigiBC will be hosting an MLA luncheon in Victoria on October 31, taking meetings with key government officials, and presenting an updated recommendations document to the Ministry of Finance. Industry members are most welcome to come meet with MLAs and put forward the case to support our sector. Please contact brenda@digibc.org should you be able to join us in Victoria on October 31.



    September 19, 2018
    This was an opportunity to speak with Andrew Weaver as he led a lively discussion on the future of work at the Centre of Digital Media. Jill Tipping of BC Tech and Dr. Weaver co-moderated a panel of students who shared their views on what the future looks like.

     

    September 25, 2018
    Brenda attended the Premier’s Event at the Bill Reid Gallery, which provided an opportunity to share our message with Carol James, Minister of Finance, Rob Fleming, Minister of Education, Premier John Horgan, Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology. 

     

    October 10, 2018
    Brenda participated in the Tech Strategy Framework Consultation with the Honourable Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology. This two-hour consultation provided industry representatives the opportunity to give feedback on the newly announced government tech framework.

     

     

  • 10 Oct 2018 by DigiBC

    Phoenix Labs is an independent game studio located in Vancouver and was founded in 2014 by Jesse Houston, Sean Bender, and Robin Mayne. Their ultimate goal behind starting the company was to create lasting and memorable AAA-level multiplayer video game experiences. Jesse and Robin are veterans of the Edmonton-based developer BioWare, where they led teams on the Mass Effect trilogy. Later, Jesse and Robin met Sean Bender when they worked together on League of Legends at Riot Games.

     

     

    The team at Phoenix Labs is a carefully crafted ensemble of close-knit developers who have enjoyed making games together throughout their careers. They strive to create an environment for employees to feel empowered and where everyone’s voice can be heard. They also pride themselves on having an autonomous team with a flat structure and a highly efficient development process that is exceptionally collaborative. Over the years, Phoenix Labs has made great strides by incorporating diversity and inclusivity at the studio. They now tout themselves as being a multicultural, multi-ethnic, gender diverse group of people with wildly different backgrounds… and they want this to reflect in their products. However, these changes did not happen overnight. It took time to implement but the payoff has been tremendous. So what exactly did they do to get there? The first step was to believe that having a diverse studio will result in better games being made.

    Initially in the early hiring days, one of the requirements was to have shipped a game with Jesse. This helped to create a super tight-knit group who trusted each other and could hit the ground running. However, it did not make for a particularly diverse team. Recognizing this was not what they wanted the studio to look like, a huge revamp of the hiring process took place. Starting with recruiting, a pipeline analysis was conducted on how candidates were sourced, the environment they were coming in to, who they were interviewing with, the questions asked, and the materials needed to judge their craft skill. One specific change made was removing a portfolio review and replacing it with a testing system. As hires were mainly people with 7+ years of experience, the best candidates in this age range were not focusing on managing a portfolio. Instead, they were spending time with their families and at work. They also identified that some groups, such as parents with young children, may not have had the opportunities to work on an impressive portfolio but could still be incredibly talented and valuable additions to the team. The most pivotal adjustment made was rethinking internal cultural mindsets to include a person’s background as a qualifying factor. People coming from the same backgrounds and having had the same experiences were not helping them to better understand the perspective of their players. Additionally, Phoenix Labs pays close attention to not grow the company at a frantic pace. Doing this allows for close relationships to be formed with each individual who joins the team, as well as ample opportunities for growth within the company. At Phoenix Labs, they truly believe people are the ends and not the means.

     

     

    The team’s main focus right now is on Dauntless, their free-to-play, co-op, action RPG which is currently in open beta on PC. Producing a live game presents a million variables that ultimately depend on having a close-knit group of ambitious developers. Their studio culture is a direct result of their love for games and this passion shows through in Dauntless. While Phoenix Labs is not actively recruiting on many roles at the moment, they are always open to talking to interesting and driven candidates for roles across all disciplines. To learn more about Phoenix Labs and Dauntless, you can check out their website.

     

    “Dauntless is hands down the most interesting game I’ve worked on with the best team I’ve ever worked with.” - Jesse Houston, Co-founder

     

     

     

  • 09 Oct 2018 by DigiBC

    PROCOLOMBIA, the non-profit entity of the Colombian government tasked with the promotion of the country's exports, tourism, direct foreign investment, and brand to the world, wants to have you at their 'Colombia Bring It On 2018' business matchmaking forum. It will take place at one of the hottest innovation festivals in the world, Unbound Miami. This is a pioneering event in the digital economy that is characterized by setting trends and being disruptive in the technology sector.  It’s already had great success in Singapore, Bahrain, and London earlier this year.

    There you will meet and get to know Colombian IT and creative tech companies with the objective of creating strategic networks and generating business opportunities within IT services, audiovisual, and creative digital content. As part of PROCOLOMBIA’s delegation, you will be able to schedule business meetings and take advantage of all the events that Unbound brings to Miami.


    In an effort to promote the sector in Canada,
    PROCOLOMBIA will cover the cost of airfare for BC companies who are selected to take part in the event.


    When: October 30 & 31, 2018
    Where: Mana, Wynwood, Miami

    Click here to register now!


    Further inquiries can be directed to: Luis Felipe Avellaneda (lavellaneda@procolombia.co)

     

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