Like so many other countries in the world, here in Canada we’ve gone crazy for digital gaming! Playing games is now the world’s top pastime, with many households preferring to load up the PS5 than listen to music or even watch a movie.
With each passing year, video games become more and more popular, gaming technology pushes new boundaries, and records are smashed all over the place.
The past 12 months in particular have been some of the most significant on record for the gaming industry, so let’s take a look at how 2021 played out for gaming in Canada.
Video Gaming in Canada
As an industry at the forefront of innovation, it’s perhaps no surprise that gaming has taken such a hold over the imaginations of Canadians. The number of gamers living on our shores has shot up considerably over the past decade, going from 9.25 million in 2014 to over 23 million by the end of 2021.
And that’s not all; according to data from ESA Canada, 58% of the adult population actually play more games now than they did before 2020.
As for the games that Canadians can’t get enough of, according to Statista, 50% of gamers in the country opt for puzzle and word games, while 38% are committed to multiplayer RPGs and action games like Fortnite.
Mobile games are still immensely popular with gamers here too, with over 20 million residents enjoying gaming on the go alongside traditional video gaming.
One of the most popular global gaming trends to have emerged in 2021 was that of cloud gaming, and we saw it take root in Canada too. ESA Canada also discovered that, by the end of 2021, 36% of adult gamers were streaming digital content from the likes of PlayStation Now, Stadia and Nvidia GeForce.
iGaming in Canada
The Canadian iGaming market is full of diverse digital experiences from innovative and themed slots to classic online poker and online sports betting. According to the 2021 Canadian Gaming Association report, this market was so popular that it pulled in almost 20 million active gamers – sustaining a business eco-system of 135,000 workers that was worth over $15 billion (with a further $9 billion allocated for public programs and services).
Unlike the majority of North America, Canadian digital casinos aren’t subject to the regulations that restrict country-wide operations. As a result, online platforms are now more popular with gamers than brick-and-mortar casinos.
But, it’s not just poker and slots games that residents enjoy playing online. Digital lotteries are favoured with 19 million inhabitants, while over 3.5% of residents enjoy placing wagers on horse races and other sports in the digital realm.
The Business of Gaming in Canada
Along with being a hugely popular pastime, the gaming industry in Canada is one of the largest in the world and is reaping benefits for the local economy as much as it is on the gaming production front.
There are hundreds of world-class video game development studios headquartered here. BioWare, which is behind such monster hits as Mass Effect, Star Wars: The Old Republic and Dragon Age has based its HQ at the Epcor Tower in Edmonton since 2019.
Electronic Arts also has a strong presence across the country (in addition to owning BioWare), with centres in both Vancouver and Montreal. In fact, Montreal is rapidly becoming a Mecca for gaming businesses in the region, with the likes of Ubisoft and Eidos setting up shop in the city.
And that’s not forgetting the indie gaming studios based in Canada too. Smoking Gun Interactive, Cypabara Games and Incupater Games are just a handful of the innovative start-ups that call Canada their home.
Being such a prolific industry, collectively, gaming businesses in Canada were able to generate over $1.3 billion in revenues during 2021. Interestingly, it was the mobile gaming segment that generated the most, reaping revenues of $643 million from mobile app sales and downloads. In 2022, this segment of the industry is even set to grow by a further 11.8%.