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Game Developer Census Reveals Considerable Canadian Expansion

Game Developer Research has revealed results from the 2009 Game Developer Census for North America, finding employee counts flat -- at around 45,000 -- in the U.S., but a significant growth spurt over 10,000 in Canada.

December 21, 2009

3 Min Read

Author: by Staff

Game Developer Research has compiled the results from the 2009 Game Developer Census for North America, tallying game development and publishing companies working in North America -- and revealing that the United States videogame industry employee count is essentially flat year-over-year, rising only slightly from 44,400 to 44,806. The small rise in North American game industry employment was marked by an unusually high number of new studios -- particularly in social and online gaming – springing up to counterbalance the many closures that occurred throughout the rest of the industry. Canadian companies, however, saw growth that can almost be called explosive. The continued establishment of new studios and expansion of existing large studios led the region's employee count in the Census to rise 30 percent year-on-year. The totals -- also boosted by additional Game Developer research on Canadian developers, with the help of local authorities -- rose from 9,500 Canadian video game employees in 2008 to 12,480 in 2009. Much of the actual Canadian growth is due to the strengthening of the major development hubs in Vancouver and Montreal, as well as up-and-coming development centers like Toronto. By contrast, while U.S. states continue to maintain similar amounts of employees, anecdotal evidence indicates that American game development is becoming less clustered around urban centers. In the United States, California remains the undisputed development heavyweight, with 20,815 developers (46 percent of the U.S. total) employed in the state. Washington is the second most-popular state for game employment, with over 4,500 employees, and Texas is third with over 2,600. Those rankings remain intact from last year. In total, eight states (California, Washington, Texas, New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, Florida, and Maryland) have more than 1,000 game professionals working in them, with North Carolina close behind. Maryland is a newcomer to that group this year, in part due to the expansion of state heavyweight ZeniMax Media, Bethesda's parent company. "We're pleased to be debuting the latest Game Developer Census for North America," said Simon Carless, global brand director the Think Services Game Group, including Game Developer Magazine and director of Game Developer Research. "The report offers a comprehensive snapshot of the financial health of the industry. For industry watchers, this is an essential document to discover the state of the games business." Not included in the current Census estimate are game tools companies, game contracting/services companies, external PR, marketing, legal, and other business services, and liaison or licensing divisions at larger media companies. Game Developer Research putatively puts this figure at around 18,000 across North America. The full Census report lists more than 700 companies alphabetically by U.S. state and Canadian province, along with general contact addresses, website information, estimates of employee numbers and details on their market specialties (from casual gaming, online gaming, mobile gaming and serious gaming to PC, handheld or console gaming). The report is intended to be a valuable tool for game industry trendwatchers, contractors, service companies, and other entities wanting to acquire accurate information to reach out to the North American game market as a whole. Purchase of the full report includes both a 247-page in-depth listing and numerical breakdown by U.S. state and Canadian province, and separate Excel spreadsheets featuring the full, comprehensive data set in sortable and exportable form. For more freely available information, including sample data, or to purchase the complete Game Developer Census 2009 report, please visit the official Game Developer Research website. [NOTE TO EDITORS: This announcement from Gamasutra sister organization Game Developer Research can be reprinted in full without crediting this outlet.]

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