Cybernaut 

Canada's game industry awards itself

With a growing number of high-end studios springing up in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, Canada’s video game and animation industry has officially come into its own.

But while this is a phenomena that largely flourished in separate tech potato patches – largely powered by young, entrepreneurial Canadians who saw both the market and the potential in our educated but under utilized workforce – independent companies have recently seen to put a unified face on our national video game and animation industry. If you can build a proven tech industry, so the wisdom goes, they will come – look at Silicon Valley.

The entire game and animation industry racks up over $30 billion in worldwide sales, and projections continue to be rosy as video game revenues are beginning to surpass the motion picture industry.

Although it’s a loose national association at this point – companies are extremely competitive and often battle over skilled workers – it’s about to get a lot stronger with the inaugural Canadian Awards for the Electronic and Animated Arts ( www.ceaa.com ). All of the nominees for the award are now posted on the website, with Ubisoft and Electronic Arts garnering most of the attention.

The ceremony will take place Sept. 14 in Vancouver, with companies, programmers, animators and other industry personnel recognized in 45 different categories.

The award statues, called Elans, will be appropriately presented by Canadian sci-fi star William Shatner in two major categories – animation and gaming. As well, 13 students will be recognized for their efforts and contributions to the industry.

Games not so bad says industry

While Canadian gaming companies are celebrating their recent successes, the International Game Developers Association is fighting back against a growing number of politicians, parent groups, and religious organizations that are complaining about violence, sex and language in video games.

The association is not denying that many popular titles are violent, or the fact that "Mature" ratings are being slapped on a growing number of games. Their beef is the fact that they’re being judged by a double standard – for example, about half of the movies released by Hollywood are rated "R", while "M" video games only account for about 15 per cent of titles.

Furthermore, they believe the standards are being enforced differently – a review of retailers found that more than half will deny "M" video games to minors 17 and under, while only seven per cent will stop minors from purchasing "R" movies.

Blu Ray vs. HD DVD – tomato vs. tomatta?

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