We found the official Canadian ESA industry report from 2008 and it has some data on the Canadian market including:

  • 9 out of 10 Canadian households own a computer
  • 4 out of 10 Canadian households (43%) own a video game console
  • 75% of Canadian adults have played a video game at least once
  • 64% of Canadian adults have played a video gamed in the last year
  • 55% of parents played a game in the past four weeks
  • The average age of the adult gamer in Canada is 40 years old
  • Of gamers surveyed in Canada, 49% are female and 51% are male
  • Action, family, and sport games are the best selling game genres of 2007 and 2008.
  • 92% of parents report that their children are gamers
  • 57% of Canadian parents play video games with their kids

We found information on the Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit (OIDMTC) for game developers. As part of a push to be competitive both globally and with the province of Quebec, Ontario is offering:

  • The OIDMTC, calculated as 40% of eligible Ontario labor expenditures
  • A work-for-hire tax credit rate of 35% on qualifying expenditures incurred after March 26, 2009
  • There is no limit on the amount of eligible Ontario labour expenditures which may qualify and there are no per project or annual corporate limits on the amount of the OIDMTC which may be claimed.
  • Eligible marketing and distribution expenses are capped at $100,000 per eligible product

It looks like Ontario is making the right moves to give its developers the ability to grow both their original IP and work-for-hire capabilities and I’m sure we’ll see more large companies moving into the province.

A great blog post by the team at JLM Pacific Epoch went into some detail on what is happening with WoW in China as well as Netease:

  • There has been a 140% stock price increase in NetEase’s stock since they got the WoW rights
  • Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq:ATVI), has rights to around 30% of WoW operating revenue
  • NetEase’s margin is around 45%
  • NetEase will pay no more than $60 million as a base fee
  • NetEase’s new 20-F filing says it will pay a “technical support fee” to StormNet, a JV owned between Blizzard and NetEase
  • NetEase will likely get WoW servers up in August

The Finnish government awarded their game industry 10 Million in 2008 after identifying the sector as “strategically important” according to Develop. Finland currently has:

  • 50 Game companies
  • 5.3 Million people
  • 87% of game revenue is export revenue
  • Game industry export revenue was 69 million in 2007
  • Game industry export was 75 Million in 2008
  • 40% of Finnish game companies have external investors
  • In 2007 subsidies covered almost 30% of game studio R&D investment
  • 24 of 45 companies surveyed in 2008 by Neogames received funding for R&D, exports or both in the two years the study covered
Develop will be running a series of features on the individual companies over the next week.

There is new information on iPhone and Smartphone usage from the Wall Street Journal and Gamesindustry.biz. Data from the two articles includes:

  • There are now 13,000 games for the iPhone and iPod Touch (20% of applications)
  • Free titles for iPhone and iPod Touch account for 22.6% of available games according to Mobclix
  • Puzzle games are 16.4% of the offerings (iPhone and iPod Touch)
  • Action games are 11.2% (iPhone and iPod Touch)
  • Arcade games are 11.1% (iPhone and iPod Touch)
  • The number of games on iPhone and iPod Touch has doubled since March
  • U.S. smartphone penetration is estimated at 18%
  • Samsung expects 500 million global smartphone users by 2012
  • 17% of teens use their smartphones as a gaming platform while on the go (versus 10% of teens on traditional mobile phones) according to Harris Research

The Provincial government of Ontario will invest $263 million over the next decade according to the National Post. This is in addition to Ubisoft’s commitment of $500 million over the same time period. The studio is expected to create an additional 800 jobs in the province.

One of the issues that studios are running into in Canada is the high cost of new hires. While this is offset by generous government subsidies, the technical programs at the universities are almost fully subscribed and the graduating class is almost entirely placced prior to graduation.

Bringing in developers from the rest of the world has raised the cost of new hires in recent years, however the government support continues to make certain provinces (Quebec and now Ontario) some of the most desirable places to develop AAA-Quality games in the Western World. This new commitment by another Canadian province is sure to set off additional debate in Canada from British Columbia’s game development communit as it is difficult to compete even on an intra-provincial level without comparable government support.

Taiwan is now subsidizing 40% of the development costs for six studios that are creating projects for the PlayStation 3 and PSP platforms. According to the Taipei Times, the studios include:

  • XPEC Entertainment Inc (樂陞科技)
  • Intersev International Inc (昱泉國際)
  • Yeck Entertainment Co (耶克娛樂)
  • SOGA Interactive Co (果子獸)
As well as telephone operators:
  • Tatung InfoComm Co (大同電信)
  • Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信)

The LA Times has a story about Nielsen’s fourth annual gamer survey. the survey looks at the habits of 2,400 respondents. Here’s what it found:

  • Used game sales are up 31% for the first 5 months of 2009 over the same period in 2008
  • The average respondent to their survey had purchased 3.4 used games so far in 2009
  • 13% rented a game in May 2009
  • 10.4% rented a game in May 2008
  • 1/3 of games purchased were used – an increase of 13% over 2008