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Les bureaux d'Electronic Arts

Video games: A perpetual development

Over 10,000 people work in Québec’s video game industry
Published on
November 20, 2017
It’s no accident that Montréal has what it takes to bring in the best. “This is a really solid city for video games,” says May Ling Tan, game designer at Motive, an Electronic Arts studio.

The tiny woman with tattooed arms worked in a variety of Asian and European countries before settling down in Montréal.

“I’ve always been in the video gaming world,” she says. “I love this field, because it lets me apply my creativity. Plus, technology is evolving so fast. There’s always something new on the market each day. It’s exhilarating!”

230 game producers

“This sector is very special because it’s filled with folks who treat their work like a passion,” notes Martine Poisson, head of HR at Electronic Arts. “When people love what they’re doing and are vying to make the best possible game, it means we’re all aiming for a common goal.”

Designers, developers and other programmers are coming to Montréal from around the world to be part of this scene. And they can pretty much pick their employer, because Montréal is home to some 230 game producers, including such international studios as Ubisoft, Warner Bros Games, Electronic Arts and Gameloft, alongside local firms like Ludia, Sarbakan and Eidos Montréal.

Les bureaux d'Electronic Arts

“Montréal gives the pros a chance to move from one company to another,” says Frédérique Fourny, talent acquisitions specialist at Ludia.

The talent that comes from afar

The city ranks among the largest centers in the industry behind Tokyo, London, San Francisco and Austin. Victim of its success, the demand for specialists exceeds supply and companies must look abroad to find a part of their employees.

“Educational institutions are doing a remarkable job training Québec’s programmers,” explains Pierre-Luc Labbée, President of RHUM, an international creative talent recruitment agency for the video game and special effects sectors. “But technologies and skillsets are developing so fast in these areas that studios have to seek top talent in other countries.”

This was the story at Ludia, where international resources became indispensable.

“Mobile gaming experts are very rare,” says Frédérique Fourny. We have to search every continent to find them.”

Montréal—Easy Sell

Attracting and retaining talent from abroad is, in fact, fairly easy.

Montréal et ses attraits

“Montréal is a huge draw,” noted Martine Poisson. “It’s not the job or career that keep talent in town—quality of life is one big factor. Others are Montréal’s cultural diversity, family friendliness, easy transport and local shopping.”

Rahul Nanavati, technical artistic director at Motive, hails from India, but spent several years in Orlando, before moving here last year.

“My wife and I were looking for a place to raise our family,” he says. “And we chose Montréal. I like its multicultural nature, with so many languages! It’s easy to become part of the city’s life, because folks go out of their way to make you feel at home.”

Montréal’s gaming industry—which barely existed two decades ago—is still young. But with all the talent our metropolis has managed to recruit, Montréal may one day be to video games what Hollywood is to the movies.