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Canada poised to be a world leader in digital economy
by: May 10, 2010 Print

Canada is poised to be a leader in the global digital economy, but must do more to support content creation, according to a new report by the Entertainment Software Association of Canada.

"While technological infrastructure is clearly important... content and content creation [are] central to the digital economy's future prospects," said the group's executive director, Danielle LaBossière Parr, in a statement. "Content drives technology adoption, and we strongly urge the government to include content industries as a central pillar of its digital economy strategy."

Content issues that need to be addressed include copyright reform, says ESAC.

The study follows the recent Speech from the Throne, in which the federal government said it would develop and launch a strategy to help the country become more successful and competitive on the world stage in this area. ESAC's paper looks at issues and solutions for Canada's video game industry, which all hang on developing and commercializing its content.

The paper also nods to the importance of game production on the Canadian economy (it currently employs north of 14,000 individuals in a variety of science- and creative-based jobs), of attracting and retaining foreign workers, and creating faster broadband infrastructures for developing and distributing digital projects that are more affordable and accessible.

ESAC reports that Canada has the third most successful video game industry in the world, after the U.S. and Japan, while developers and publishers across the nation generate more than $2 billion in annual revenues.

PricewaterhouseCoopers' latest report, Global Entertainment and Media Outlook: 2009-2013 states that the global entertainment software market is projected to spike 7.4% annually over the next five years, growing to US$73.5 billion by 2013 from US$51.4 billion in 2008. PwC also states that the vidgame industry is the fastest growing entertainment industry across the globe, as well as one of the world's fastest-growing sectors.

The report also cites a study by the National Research Council - Industrial Research Assistance Program and New Media BC, stating that 55% of Canuck gamecos are reportedly developing proprietary tech (i.e. game engines, content/asset management software) to help in production, while 61% of the companies believe viable commercial products could be developed from these technologies.

"Canada has the potential to emerge as a world leader provided that we adopt forward-thinking strategies to increase our competitiveness and enact policies to support our digital industries," adds LaBossière Parr.

Other points raised include developing and retaining talent in all fields, such as math and science, but also highlighting the importance of creative studies in art, animation, visual effects, to name a few.

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