Blogs

  • 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!