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Overview of the Digital Entertainment / Interactive Media Industry

Introduction

British Columbia is an international hub for interactive and digital media.  More than 1,300 digital media companies are at the forefront of innovation in mobile apps, virtual and augmented reality, animation, visual effects, social media, interactive marketing and e-learning tools.

BC has highly skilled talent, comprehensive infrastructure (full studios and equipment), targeted incentives, and a creative atmosphere. The industry employs 16,500 people in BC and is valued at $2.3 billion annually.


BC’s digital media hub is one of the biggest in the world and growing every year…

                                                          Creative BC


Creative BC provides the following statistics:

  • 152 interactive entertainment companies in BC
  • 1,300 digital media companies in BC
  • 500 full time employees in BC working in Virtual/Augmented Reality
  • 14,740 employees work as computer programmers or interactive media developers

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

  • visual effects (VFX) & animation
    • in Vancouver, over 100 studios make up the VFX and Animation industry, the world’s largest cluster of domestic and foreign-owned studios.
    • BC’s post production and visual effects facilities work on commercials, music videos, interactive game content, animation, films and TV series
  • interactive gaming and app development
    • includes many leading companies including Electronic Arts (EA), Microsoft Studios, Relic Entertainment/SEGA, Nintendo, Klei Entertainment, and Kabam
  • augmented reality and virtual reality
    • over 200 members within BC’s AR/VR association

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 over the next 10 years.

Digital Entertainment & Interactive Media Occupations in Demand in BC:

Occupation

Job Openings
2019-2029

Computer programmers and interactive media developersincludes game developers 6,290
Graphic Designers & Illustratorsincludes animation artists 4,700
Graphics Arts Techniciansincludes animation technicians, computer graphics technicians, digital effects specialists, multimedia sound specialists 300

Source: British Columbia 2019 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 [NOC 2174]

percent employment of this occupation and percent employment of all occupations for BC regions
Source: WorkBC Career Profile 2174

Graphic Designers [NOC 5241]

percent employment of this occupation by BC region

Source:WorkBC Career Profile 5241

A recent report from the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission reveals that the digital media sector is growing in the Okanagan. The region has over 200 animation, film, and digital media firms, employing 2,450 people.

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.

Additional Resources

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