Interesting Facts about the Video Game Industry in Canada
Video games in Canada are big business – and growing. In fact, Canada is considered one of the best places on earth to start a video game company. With a solid gaming industry that has plenty of government support, companies definitely are taking advantage.
According to the 2014 report by the Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC), Canada is home to some 329 gaming companies in an industry that employs 16,500 people and counting. Those games are being offered to a welcoming audience – the same report shows that 54% of Canadians can be considered gamers.
Who is Playing?
While those gamer numbers can be broken down by age to show a definite lean towards the younger crowd, that certainly doesn’t mean the success and growth of video games are solely in the hands of kids and teenagers. In fact, the average age of gamers in Canada is 33 years old, up from an average age of 31 in ESAC's 2012 report, and most of the gamers are adults.
The study does report that the younger crowd is playing video games more frequently than older gamers. 81% of the 13-17 age group reported playing a video game in the past 4 weeks, a number that drops to 64% for the 18-34 crowd, and 51% for the 35-54 age group. At 55+, a solid 34% said they’d played in the past 4 weeks, which makes gaming a cross-generational pastime for Canadians, even if their taste in games varies.
While gamers over 55 stick to card games for the most part, younger gamers prefer role-playing games, action and adventure, and shooting games. Also popular among the young adult crowd are educational games that challenge the mind.
Gaming on the Go
Canadians are playing video games both at home and on the go. Though just 35% of gamers own a mobile video game console (compared to 85% of gamers that own a computer), the mobile game consoles are Canadian gamers' platform of choice. A full 44% of Canadians play on mobile consoles most often, compared to 36% that play on computers the most, 33% on home consoles, and 21% on other mobile devices like smartphones.
Don't count out the smartphone gaming world, however, as it is on the rise. The 2014 report estimates that 34% of total gaming revenue worldwide will be brought in by smartphone gaming apps by 2017. That’s an estimated $35 billion.
Game Buying Habits
When it comes to spending gaming dollars, Canadians have a lot of options. While smartphone apps, streaming games, and other downloads are big business, consoles remain a hugely popular choice. On top of new game purchases, Canadians turn to rentals and used video games to get more games for their looney. While retail stores have made room on their shelves for used games, a lot of Canadians choose to buy used games directly from other local gamers.
Of the used video games sold on Kijiji, arcade game systems bring in the biggest dollar amount – not surprising given their higher price tags. Among console games, Kijiji saw used Xbox One games as the biggest seller for 2014, followed closely by the PS4 and the Wii U.
Old school gaming is finding a new life as well, as new gamers discover old classics and nostalgia seekers hunt down old favourites. In fact, in terms of ads and replies, Nintendo games for the original NES outrank newer models such as the Game Cube and the Nintendo 64.
As the gaming industry in Canada continues to attract new companies and encourage electronic creativity, this is a market that will only continue to grow in the coming years.