Ontario’s Gaming Sector Set to Grow

Canada’s gaming industry continues to grow

Canada’s gaming sector has been growing rapidly for several years now, thanks to people spending more time at home, the inception of several new companies and an increasing interest from consumers in the indie games market. Predicting the growth of the market, or indeed decline, is always more difficult than looking back and analysing the reasons. However, we can fairly confidently say that the recent laws introducing iGaming to Ontario will only serve to continue this trend. Let’s take a look at how Canada in general and specifically Ontario’s gaming markets will fare over the next few years.

Major Statistics

In order to give the best overview of the market possible, looking at the major statistics for Ontario’s gaming market is essential. In terms of GDP, Ontario’s interactive media industry created $4.7 billion in 2020. This marked an increase of just short of 10% from the year before and in the years’ since it has continued to grow at a slightly slower rate. Along with this immense income, the industry also created 26,000 new jobs for Canadians in 2020, and with the introduction of a whole new sector, this number more than doubled in 2022.

At the moment, Ontario has the largest gaming sector of anywhere in Canada’ with 32% of the country’s gaming companies located in the province. Within these companies the vast majority are small gaming companies employing less than 10 people. However, in the two years prior to data collection, the number of companies who employed between 10 and 50 people rose sharply, showing that companies are making enough profit to continue to grow.

New iGaming Legislation

Online slots are now safe and legal in Ontario

It was back in 2019 that iGaming was legalized in Ontario and it took a little while for sites to set up. This meant that by 2021, there were a handful of major sites that were generating the bulk of Ontario’s GDP through games such as poker, blackjack and slots. This should continue to grow as smaller sites move into the province, hoping to follow in the footsteps of the well-established brands. The introduction of the iGaming Ontario body has meant that the province has the most well-regulated iGaming sector in Canada, which has helped sites like Wildz Ontario establish themselves as providers of fair and fun casino games.

Growing Indie Game Industry

The jewel in Ontario’s gaming crown is certainly its indie gaming industry. As already mentioned, many of Ontario’s gaming companies are indie developers, creating small but creative games that have developed strong fanbases. This year alone, Ontario game studios took home nine wins at the Canadian Indie Game Awards. These wins included one for Indie Game of the Year that went to Cococucumber Studios for their release Echo Generation. Other awards included best soundtrack, best narrative, best animation and more. This plethora of prizes shows the standard of games being produced in the province and how important it is for consumers to continue supporting these gaming companies by buying the games that they love.

Equality Within the Industry

The gaming industry worldwide has been accused of being a bit of a ‘boy’s club’, yet in Ontario this statistic is changing. In 2021, 23% of the Canadian video game industry were women, whereas in 2022 this number has risen to 26% with 47% of those women occupying creative roles. It seems as though Ontario could be a driving force in making a change towards equality happen, as their workforce is 27% female and rising. 

In terms of inclusion for black and ethnic minorities, there is still some way to go. More than 50% of Canadian video game companies are yet to develop a diversity program to oversee their hiring choices, with that number being true in Ontario also. Part of the reason for this is the size of some gaming companies can make this difficult, but it’s still essential that gaming companies in Ontario work together towards a more equal future.

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