Blogs

  • 30 Jan 2019 by DigiBC

    On January 24th, DigiBC hosted a 'State of the Union' town hall event on the topic of the challenges, opportunities, and way forward with creating original wholly owned IP in BC. It was a fun and engaging night where members from the creative tech sector came together to hear about DigiBC’s progress with government relations work, gain valuable insight from the panel and, of course, network with their peers. The event took place in the Donnelly Group’s private hospitality suite and it was great to see folks connecting over the delicious food and libations that was provided throughout the night. Huge thanks to our generous sponsors (Truly Social Games, Demonware & Hyper Hippo Games), the Donnelly Group, and our wonderful panelists (Prem Gill, Jamie Cheng, Rick Mischel & Matt Toner). We can't thank them enough!

     


    For those who might be interested, the two DigiBC reports Brenda presented can be viewed and downloaded from the links below. Additionally, Brenda thought some people would like to read the Boston Consulting Group research.


    IDMTC Recommendations Report
    CMF Recommendations Report
    How Governments Are Sparking Growth in Creative Industries
     

    If you would like to get involved in the Creative BC Digital Media Working Group we are putting together, then please contact Brenda (brenda@digibc.org) or Prem (pgill@creativebc.com). The group is being formed to conduct a survey of BC Interactive Digital Media companies and look into why they are not applying for CMF funding. In addition to identifying barriers, let’s collect ideas for positive change. You do not have to be a DigiBC member to join and we already had three people sign up at the event (thank you)!

     

    Joining DigiBC is the best way to ensure British Columbia remains a positive place for creative technology to succeed. Further information on our different membership levels can be found here: https://www.digibc.org/join

     

    If you haven’t already, make sure to sign up for our mailing list and stay up-to-date on all of our future events. You can also follow us on social media: DigiBC Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter

     

    photos: Melissa Dex Guzman

     

  • 18 Jan 2019 by DigiBC

    DigiBC is pleased to have been chosen as a recipient of the Creative BC Respectful Workplace, Diversity and Gender Parity Fund. We will use this to enhance diversity and inclusion in the creative tech sector and to create template policies for our member companies to adopt into their studios at no cost to them.


    Most tech studios hold a view that we are doing reasonably well in regard to attracting diverse talent, but when we look at the data, we are often surprised by how homogeneous we actually are. In this time of huge competition for talent, we have to ensure we are drawing on the whole pool of talent and not relying on hiring people who are only like those doing the hiring.


    In order to make sure people of diverse backgrounds have a great experience once they join our companies, we need to ensure we offer respectful workplaces. Research indicates that the recruitment of people from diverse backgrounds often fails due to not having the inclusion side of the equation in place. That’s where respectful workplace training comes in. Respectful workplaces display integrity and professionalism, practice fairness and understanding, demonstrate respect for individual rights and differences and encourages accountability for one's actions. Respectful workplaces are free of discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, physical characteristics, mental ability or ancestry. Business with respectful workplaces may have a strong advantage in the competition for talent.


    We have partnered with Women in Animation Vancouver (WIA) and Women in Games Vancouver (WIG’eh) to deliver on this initiative. Our four-part plan is as follows:
     

    1. DATA - complete a diversity audit so we can see where we are today and measure growth in the future
    2. REPORT and RECOMMENDATIONS
    3. DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION TRAINING FOR LEADERSHIP
    4. DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION – create policies and procedures for use by all member studios
       

    We are currently forming our committee to implement this strategy. If you have interest, please contact brenda@digibc.org

  • 18 Jan 2019 by DigiBC

    2018 was a year of significant growth at DigiBC. In mid-February, a full-time executive director was hired with the mandate to expand DigiBC’s focus on education, work with government partners to ensure BC is a place where creative tech companies can succeed and to continue building the creative tech community in the province. We summarize this as our three pillars: Government Relations, Education & Community Building.

     

     

    Pillar 1: Government Relations

    Cultural Trade Mission to China
    DigiBC, in collaboration with Creative BC, attended the Canadian Creative Industries Cultural Trade Mission to China in April 2018.  Attending member companies had the opportunity to meet with potential clients and partners with the support of our Canadian trade delegates. Many participants in the broader delegation closed deals on the trip and DigiBC member companies valued the opportunity to have business development support.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Ongoing Advocacy w/Provincial Government

    Executive Director, Brenda Bailey, has met with the Minister of Technology, Bruce Ralston on numerous occasions to work on enhancing the business environment for our member studios. Minister Ralston has come to understand the important ripple effects of the video game industry – in terms of talent, business leadership, and technology. We have also been working with the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary for Technology, Rick Glumac, to advocate for IDMTC increases.

     

    DigiBC Caucus Luncheon [10.31.2018]

    DigiBC hosted a luncheon on Halloween at the Legislature in Victoria. Being that it was Star Wars themed, MLAs had the opportunity to operate R2D2 and BB8 droids, as well as enjoy a trick-or-treat basket with Star Wars themed candy. Each piece contained a video game industry fact and we received excellent feedback. Fifteen MLAs were present including the Ministry of Technology, the Parliamentary Secretary for Technology, the Minister of Advanced Education, the Minister of Education, the Minister of Tourism Arts and Culture, along with many others.

     

     

     

    Rick Glumac Fundraiser

    DigiBC was successful in selling more than 60 tickets for the Rick Glumac fundraiser in Port Moody. Shout out to Ryan at Finger Foods for his leadership and perseverance on this initiative. Thank you!

    Photo: Parliamentary Secretary for Technology, Rick Glumac, hanging out with Phoenix Labs folks at Port Moody Ales

     

     

     

    Government relations have primarily, but not solely, focused on advocating for an increase in the IDMTC in the 2019 Budget. We are also advocating for a better deal for BC IDM studios with the Canada Media Fund (CMF). As this fund falls under the Ministry of Heritage, having the opportunity to connect with him is valuable. Thanks to EA Vancouver for allowing Brenda to participate in his recent studio tour. Minister Pablo Rodriguez is originally from Argentina and 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 CMF falls under his portfolio.

     

    DigiBC 2018 Reports

    DigiBC delivered two important reports in 2018:

    IDMTC Recommendations

    CMF Recommendations Report

     

    First, we updated the 2017/18 IDMTC Report to reflect the 2018/19 recommendations to government for the 2019 budget. These are:
     

    1.    Increase the BC Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit (BCIDMTC) investment from 17.5% to 25% in all regions

    2.    Create a regional diversification incentive by increasing the BCIDMTC in rural and northern regions by an additional 10 %
     

    Second, we researched and shared our findings on the Canada Media Fund (CMF) Experimental Stream. BC is historically underrepresented and that trend continues in a downward trajectory. Because DigiBC works for our smaller and mid-sized IDM studios as well as larger studios, CMF underfunding is highly concerning to us and we are advocating strongly for changes. Specifically, we have met with Valerie Creighton, CEO and President of the CMF, and requested the following:

    Recommendations:

    Priority

    1. A CMF Director from the Experimental Stream to be located permanently in Vancouver.
    2. Creation of an envelope of funding specifically for the IDM sector in BC and have it administered in BC.  
    3. There should be a requirement for at least one juror member from BC to be present on each jury.

    Secondary

    1. Repayment of the CMF Experimental Stream is very low, yet compliance costs are extremely high. This should be analyzed, and changes made. We recommend the CMF Experimental Fund be turned into a grant with reduced compliance requirements.
    2. Rework the program to incentivize Canadian created IP.

     

    Pillar 2: Education

    In 2018, DigiBC was successful in beginning to roll out our multi-year education strategy. Ensuring there is domestic talent flowing into the BC creative tech sector and helping kids see themselves in this burgeoning industry is a classic win-win. 
     


    DigiBC Music Education Initiative: DigiMusic
    September 2018-June 2019

    DigiBC aims to introduce students across British Columbia to the possibilities of music composition in digital media and animation through a province-wide competition. Designed to expose students, parents, and educators to the excellent careers in the creative tech industry, students will learn about the scope, size, and exciting intellectual properties being created in their province.

     

    Program Delivery

    By using the joy of music and the fun in creating it, DigiBC aims to involve kids in digital careers by showing them exactly how pivotal music can be within Interactive Digital Media (IDM, i.e. video games) and animation.

    The details of music’s role in setting the tone and building scene, as well as the role of the composer themselves within the studio will be covered in short educational videos made by DigiBC. Ideally, as part of the Digi on the Road initiative, music professionals and executives from BC game and animation studios will be there in person instead of the video. Either way, the focus will be on these professionals’ stories and follow the often wandering and indirect paths they took to get where they are today.

    Students will learn how music is integrated into video games and animation, how to work as a team and cooperate and begin to think about production challenges such as deadlines, technical limitations, and intellectual property rights. The students will then have until the contest deadline to compose their own music for the age-appropriate clips: one from a video game and the other from animation. After the deadline, a panel of judges will select the winners according to predefined criteria. Prizes will be awarded to winning schools, distributing musical equipment and digital learning programs as rewards. Among the awards being considered are tours of animation and IDM studios, and the inclusion of the winning composition in the final product (if legally viable).  

    Because the aim is to expose as many students, parents, and educators to the opportunities offered by IDM and animation, this contest is meant to be province-wide and available to students in grades 8-10 across 580 schools.

     

    Play to Learn Program Expansion

    Will be delivered into 67 new schools (11 new school districts) from September 2018 to June 2021
     

    DigiBC has partnered with the Ministry of Education to help the Interactive and Digital Media sector in BC engage more fully with educational initiatives throughout the province. With over 150,000 technology-focused jobs in BC today, and 200,000 anticipated by 2021, DigiBC will work with local government to help build a pipeline of skilled technology professionals, close the skills gap, and ultimately drive our technology sector.

     

    EA and Everfi have developed Play to Learn, a digital STEAM learning program. Play to Learn was successfully deployed to select schools during the current and previous academic years thanks to EA's support and generosity. The primary goals of Play to Learn are to ignite student interest in learning to code and pursuing technology careers. EA's education technology partner, Everfi is responsible for implementation in the classroom and liaising with schools and teachers, as they do now with over 20,000 schools across Canada and the USA. EA has granted DigiBC a royalty-free license for the use of Play to Learn and we look forward to continuing to expand the reach of this valuable program.

     

    Play to Learn is aimed at teaching, assessing and certifying students in a variety of STEAM concepts, including the fundamentals of coding. The program provides approximately eight hours towards the government's mandate to provide 20 hours of K-8 coding education.  In addition, Everfi continues to update and enhance the curriculum to ensure it addresses students when they are forming their opinions about STEM careers—in middle school and early secondary school—and stays current in a fast-changing STEAM landscape.
     

    DigiBC’s delivery of this program includes a focus on rural and remote regions in the province. The list of school districts that we are targeting over the three-year implementation period is as follows:

     

    • Kootenay Lake, School District 8
    • Haida Gwaii, School District 50
    • Prince Rupert, School District 52
    • Prince George, School District 57
    • Greater Victoria, School District 61
    • Campbell River, School District 72
    • Kamloops-Thompson, School District 73
    • Cowichan Valley, School District 79
    • Coast Mountains, School District 82
    • North Okanagan-Shuswap, School District 83
    • Vancouver Island North, School District 85

     

    Digi On The Road

    DigiBC will be supporting both the DigiMusic initiative and the expansion of Play to Learn with our Digi on the Road program. This will provide students in more remote areas of the province the chance to meet face to face with some of the talented people working in the video game, animation, VFX, and AR/MR fields. Designed to entertain and inspire, Digi on the Road is looking for volunteers to talk to kids about their career pathways. Contact brenda@digibc.org if you would like to get involved.

     

     

    Pillar 3: Community Building

    2018 saw DigiBC provide numerous opportunities for folks in the industry to get together. Sometimes it is around a particular issue, such as our upcoming State of the Union panel discussion on original IP, occasionally it is just for laughs, (did you hear about our Rock Paper Scissors Tournament on February 6?) and once in a while, it is designed to help people network with their peers. We also strive to provide career and business development opportunities for our member studios.
     

     

  • 17 Jan 2019 by DigiBC

    The video game industry takes its commitment to parents seriously. It has a comprehensive strategy to ensure that parents and caregivers understand the differences in content when making a purchasing decision. This includes promoting the system to Canadians through information on ESAC's website and also through their partnership with the Retail Council of Canada. The Commitment to Parents program ensures that signage is displayed anywhere games are sold and that retailers ensure that purchasers of M-Rated games are at least 17 years of age. This comprehensive strategy guarantees that the ESRB rating system continues to be one of the most well-known systems in the world for age-ratings.


    In addition to the rating system, all video game consoles have control settings that allow parents and caregivers to lock out inappropriate content. This is done by restricting certain ESRB rated games, limiting screen time, deactivating online functions and locking out payment features. Our industry works hard to educate parents on these available options to ensure their children are accessing video game products in ways that are responsible, appropriate, and healthy.
     

    As part of this commitment, ESAC recently introduced new parental control instructional videos in English and French for the PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch & mobile devices (iOS and Android). Presented by Marc Saltzman and Carl-Edwin Michel, these short videos provide step-by-step instructions on setting up parental controls. Check them out here:


    YouTube: TheESACanada
    Facebook: The Entertainment Software Association of Canada
     

    For more information, contact Jayson Hilchie at jhilchie@theesa.ca

     

     

  • 17 Jan 2019 by DigiBC

    The original founders of Truly Social Games are Cooper DuBois, former Creative Director at Double Down Casino, and Patrick Tougas, previously Design Director at Capcom and Crystal Dynamics. In 2015, after spending a summer hunting for gold in centuries-old Mexican haciendas, Cooper returned to Portland wanting to replicate his experiences in the form of a game. He soon teamed up with Patrick and Truly Social Games was born. The founders of Cooper’s New Reality Garage, which became Truly Social Games Vancouver (TSGV) in 2018, are James Hursthouse, Joe Bonar, and Rob Baxter. James was a co-founder of Roadhouse Interactive, Joe was Studio Head at Roadhouse, and Rob was Senior Game Designer at Phoenix Labs and Capcom Vancouver. It’s safe to say, they all have one thing in common that brought them together… a love for making games!

     

    TSG Vancouver team

     

    Truly Social Games is extremely proud of their 2017 release, Planet Gold Rush because it’s an incredibly polished and innovative product that gives players the opportunity to win gold. Now, you're probably thinking - Is this real? Can we actually win gold? Where does the gold come from? Well, yes it is absolutely true that you can win gold and they get it from gold miners... they genuinely do! One of the greatest accolades from this game is having people create, upload, and share unboxing videos of winning actual gold. Here’s a fellow who won 1/8oz which is one of the daily prizes.

     


    Fun Fact: TSG has an actual stockpile of gold dust which they have hidden in a number of secret locations. They will be giving away prizes for quite some time to come!


    TSG is currently in full swing on a new-and-exciting update to the Planet Gold Rush franchise. They are also working on an incredible super-secret AR project and have just filed a patent application in the field of AR which is being folded into the new venture. Additionally, their Minsk office is working on a number of highly engaging ‘Hyper Casual’ games (worthy of the capitalization right there).


    TSG’s describes their company culture as coming down to hiring excellent folks to get the job done, making sure there is cohesion between employees and that their goals, aspirations, and ideas are shared, understood, and lived every day. It's an environment where people know that if they raise an issue, there will be a discussion and then it gets resolved without any judgment or stress. It's a place where employees have the power and permission to continually help improve things. The company stands by being ‘truly social’, so doing and suggesting 'truly social things' is encouraged.

     

    TSG is currently hiring and looking fill a number of roles including engineers, designers, customer service reps, and a community manager. They also love chatting to excellent people to see if there’s a fit for the company, even if they are not looking for a specific position. Check out their careers page for further details and to submit an application.

     

    TSG Vancouver office

     

  • 15 Jan 2019 by DigiBC

    Are you a technology startup company in need of professional office space?  The Generator awards free furnished office space on a competitive basis for 12 months to startups deemed most-likely to succeed and grow. An initiative developed between Discovery Parks and the City of Vancouver in 2011, The Generator enables startup companies to focus solely on their businesses which, in turn, results in increased job growth, investment, and revenue. With access to mentors and programming provided by Discovery Parks, BC TECH and LifeSciences BC, the companies also have support available to thrive and grow.

    Ideally suited for teams of 1-10 people in size, each company is awarded one private office plus the appropriate number of workstations. The Generator also has a formal boardroom, meeting rooms and a communal kitchen. Telus internet is included along with coffee. 
    Located in the heart of Chinatown, The Generator is close to the technology hubs of Gastown and Railtown and the financial districts of Downtown and Yaletown. With its unique neighbourhood character and plentiful coffee shops and eateries, Chinatown offers Generator companies many nearby amenities for their employees. It is a location where startups want to work.

    2019-20 will be the ninth cohort of the Generator selected by a panel of judges from Discovery Parks, BC TECH, LifeSciences BC and the Vancouver Economic Commission. The Generator is based on the concept that free-flowing ideas, minimal barriers and a belief in serendipity accelerate the growth and success of technology companies. The winners move-in date is slated for June 2019.

    Full competition details can be found here: http://www.discoveryparks.com/the-generator/competition-details/

    To apply, submit your business plan by February 8, 2019.
     

  • 09 Jan 2019 by DigiBC

    The #BCTECHSummit is the largest technology conference in Western Canada. It showcases our province's vibrant tech and innovation industries, and this year's theme is The Reality RevolutionAre you ready to navigate the new age of innovation? How will we use emerging technologies to solve the biggest challenges facing BC and the world? Explore the possibilities, prepare for the future and join us from March 11-13, 2019. Look forward to seeing new and improved activation areas, programs, activities, a mix of sessions, masterclasses, workshops, and so much more!

     

    Click below to purchase a pass and use the code BCTECH19-INDUSTRY to receive $400 off.

    TICKETS & REGISTRATION

     


    Here is a list of some of the sessions and events we thought would be of interest to those in the creative technology sector. We hope to see you at the summit!

     

    Women in Tech Showcase
    Monday, March 11, 10:00AM - 5:00PM


    Lessons from BC's Fastest Growing Companies
    Tuesday, March 12, 11:00AM - 12:00PM


    Meet the Super 5 (Superclusters)
    Tuesday, March 12, 11:00AM - 12:00PM


    XR: The Infinite Potential of Virtual Worlds
    Tuesday, March 12, 2:00PM - 2:45PM


    0 to 100: From Scaling Startup to Successful Exit

    Tuesday, March 12, 3:54PM - 4:15PM


    Youth Innovation Day
    Tuesday, March 12, 8:00AM - 3:30PM


    Insights for Innovation
    Wednesday, March 13, 11:15AM - 12:15PM


    Reinventing Sports: Digital Technologies Transforming a Millennia-Old Activity
    Wednesday, March 13, 1:15PM - 2:00PM


    How to Build a Successful Tech Company Anywhere
    Wednesday, March 13, 2:00PM - 3:00PM


    Tech@NIGHT Events
    Kick Off Party, March 12, 7:00PM - 10:00PM
    Tech@NIGHT Afterparties, March 11-13
    Community Collab, March 11
    Techapolooza, March 13