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Overview of the Digital Entertainment / Interactive Media Industry

Introduction

British Columbia is an international digital entertainment centre for console and mobile game production, Internet, and app design. BC has highly skilled talent, comprehensive infrastructure (full studios and equipment), targeted incentives, and a creative atmosphere. A thriving interactive media sector extends beyond games and digital design to include film, video, social media, interactive marketing, and e-learning.


BC’s Interactive + Digital media sector is one of the most dynamic engines in the BC economy and is a key driver of skilled jobs that will define the future of the province.

                                                          Creative BC


  • Digital Entertainment / Interactive Media (DE/IM) industry includes Visual Effects (VFX) & Animation, Digital Media, Video Games Development and other Interactive Media, Film & TV Production.
  • over 1,300 companies involved in BC’s Digital Entertainment / Interactive Media (DE/IM) sector, creating innovative products in wireless and mobile, video gaming, animation and VFX, web 2.0, social media, interactive marketing and e-learning.
  • 600 digital media companies, employing about 16,000 people in BC and generating $2.3 billion in annual sales.

Three sectors are responsible for majority of activity within Digital Entertainment / Interactive Media:

  • visual effects (VFX) & animation
    • in Vancouver, over 60 studios make up the VFX and Animation industry, the world’s largest cluster of domestic and foreign-owned studios.
    • dollar value of salary and wages resulting from digital animation and visual effects activity in 2013/14 was $270 million (creative BC: Annual Activity Report 2013/2014)
    • BC’s post production and visual effects facilities works on commercials, music videos, interactive game content, animation, films and TV series
    • BC’s animation companies are some of the most prolific production developers of computer animation for TV and long-form CGI for feature films, commercials and interactive entertainment.
  • video games & interactive media
    • over 170 video game development studios (highest in Canada) including Electronic Arts (EA), Microsoft Studios, Relic Entertainment/SEGA, Capcom Vancouver, Roadhouse Interactive, Klei Entertainment, BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment, United Front Games and Kabam
    • although the majority of overall resources is currently dedicated to console games by a small number of leading companies, 85% of game development companies are now developing games for smart phones and tablets
  • film & television production

Information, culture & recreation employment growth

Source: WorkBC, Labour Market Navigator

For more information see:

Occupations in the Digital Entertainment / Interactive Media Industry

New immigrants to BC are projected to fill more than 30 per cent of all job openings in the province by 2020.

Digital Entertainment & Interactive Media Occupations in Demand in BC:

Occupation

Cumulative Number of
Jobs*
2012-2022

Computer & information systems professionals (NOC 217), including: computer programmers and interactive media developers**Also includes game developers 11,900
Creative Designers & Craftspersons (NOC 524), including: Graphic Designers & IllustratorsAlso includes animation artists 6,800
Graphics Arts Technicians, Photographers, & Tech. Occupations in Media including Audio and video recording technicians (NOC 522)Also includes animation technicians, computer graphics technicians, digital effects specialists, multimedia sound specialists 3,200

*number of jobs is combination of replacement jobs and newly created jobs

** Computer programmers and interactive media developers rank 25th in the top 60 “Jobs In Demand” identified by the BC 2012-2022 Labour Market Outlook
Sources: WorkBC Labour Market Navigator, British Columbia 2022 Labour Market Outlook

Current Workforce:

According to the Canadian Interactive Alliance, the majority of the current interactive digital media (IDM) workforce in Canada is employed in technical (40% or creative positions (39%) with the remainder in business/administration roles. In Canada’s current IDM talent pool, the most lacking skills are ranked as: (1) technical digital skills, followed by (2) business & leadership skills and (3) production management & pipeline skills (ability to work in integrated process flow and collaborate with colleagues).

Future Workforce:

In terms of future demand, the highest frequency of projected future hires among Interactive Digital Media (IDM) companies in Canada is for creative talent at the intermediate level and technical talent at the intermediate and senior levels. Looking ahead to future demand for key skills, IDM companies in Canada anticipate that the top in-demand skills will be technical digital skills, artistic & creative skills, and business & leadership skills.

skills gap and future demand

Source: 2012 Canadian Interactive Industry Profile Final Research Report

New employment opportunities are also emerging in the digital entertainment & interactive media industry. These include a wide range of occupations such as:

  • 3D character animator
  • 3D generalist
  • 3D graphics developer
  • animation artist
  • animation layout designer
  • digital artist
  • digital effects specialist
  • digital graphics designer
  • FX technical director
  • game developer
  • games monetization specialist
  • graphic designer (multimedia, interactive)
  • interactive media developer
  • mobile developer
  • multimedia developer
  • render wrangler
  • shading artist
  • technical animator
  • unity developer / unity 3D game developer
  • user experience designer
  • Visual effects (VFX) artist

For more information, see:

Hiring Forecast by Region

The majority of jobs in the digital entertainment & interactive media economy are found in Metro Vancouver/Lower Mainland, Victoria/Vancouver Island and Thompson-Okanagan / Southern Interior (primarily in the region surrounding Kelowna).

employment by region: computer programmers / interactive media developers

employment by region: graphic designers

Source: WorkBC Career Profile 2174WorkBC Career Profile 5241

A recent survey of Okanagan companies involved in the technology sector, found that about 33% of all respondents named New Media & Internet Technology as a primary focus (dominant line of business revenue) with interactive media, gaming, and web design and development being the dominant areas of work.

For more information see:

Finding Jobs

Online Job Postings

  • Playback.ca
    Careers in film production, broadcasting and interactive media across Canada
  • Accelerate Okanagan
    Jobs in Okanagan/Southern Interior region of BC (Kelowna and surrounding region)

Creating a List of Potential Employers

You can use directories to produce lists of employers in the digital entertainment & interactive media industry in British Columbia. Contact them directly to find out if they’re hiring.

  • Reel West Digest. Membership Directory
    over 1400 companies, organizations and individuals that provide services and facilities for production in the film, video, internet and digital production industry in Western Canada

Additional Resources

Still looking for more information? Try looking at the following resources:

  • Creative BC (independent non-profit BC government agency)
    (formerly known as B.C. Film Commission and B.C. Film + Media)
    promoting the development of creative industries in British Columbia and providing a single point of access for industry programming, production support services, tax credit administration, international marketing and policy development.