A majority of Canadians support continued public investment in Canada’s video game industry according to new research published by the Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC). In the new research produced by the NPD Group for ESAC, 71% of Canadians say that governments have a role to play in choosing which industries will drive the economy of the future.

What’s more, 55% of Canadians believe that the video game industry has an overall positive impact on the Canadian economy, and 62% also believe that it is an innovative sector which is helping to shape the Canadian economy of the future. Envisioning the opportunity that lies ahead, a strong majority (67%) also believe that the video game industry provides good opportunities for young people currently planning their careers.

“With over 325 companies creating world-class entertainment products from coast to coast, Canada has built a globally recognized digital juggernaut with well-functioning ecosystems of large and small companies in multiple urban centres,” said Jayson Hilchie, President & CEO of ESAC. “Government support has been critical to get us to this point and as our economy continues to evolve elected officials – both provincial and federal – can seize the opportunity to maintain and bolster investments in this industry,” he added.

The Canadian video game industry already contributes $2.3 billion to Canada’s GDP each year. It employs 16,500 people that are young (31yo average) and highly paid ($72,500/annum average).  27,000 full-time equivalent jobs have been created by the industry which grew at a rate of 5% between 2011 and 2013, well above the national job growth rate. The industry is dynamic, capitalizing on the best of technology and artistic creativity to produce innovative products that push the envelope and that are sold all over the world.

“As governments attempt to ascertain how to move ahead with proven support programs, the industry has urged long term vision in order to continue to build a world-class knowledge-intensive digital industry. With over 2,000 jobs to be filled at the intermediate level in two years, companies and post-secondary training institutions have already put in place skills training programs and initiatives to continue to build the workforce for this fast-changing innovative sector. Clearly, Canadians believe that government has an important role to play in furthering growth as well in ensuring companies can access the talent they need to continue driving this industry forward” said Hilchie.