Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2020-03-01

Gaming on the edge: Mobile labour and global talent in Atlantic Canada's video game industry

Document type Article
Author Lynch, Nicholas
Author Pottie-Sherman, Yolande
Journal The Canadian Geographer/Le Géographe canadien
Volume 63
Date 2019
Pages 425-439

Abstract

Diminishing returns and advances in telecommunications have prompted large video game firms to seek new locations, outsource production, and develop niche studios, including on Canada's East Coast. In this paper, we examine emerging occupational cultures and trace the origins and evolution of video game production in Canada's Atlantic provinces—a critical yet peripheral space economy in the gaming sector. Our findings are drawn from 30 interviews with gameworkers, studio managers, government officials, and other industry experts. We find this industry to be driven by the confluence of three major factors: (i) provincial governments have supported video game development as a strategic industry via financial incentives; (ii) firms are benefiting from a return migration effect and are repatriating Atlantic Canadian talent from media hubs by selling “home,” work‐life balance, and an alternative to the punishing gamework culture associated with Silicon Valley; and (iii) post‐secondary institutions in the region have improved their talent pipelines through computer science, digital media, and video game development programs.