With the help of a US$227-million cash injection allotted over the next 10 years by the Ontario provincial government, French interactive games publisher Ubisoft Entertainment is setting up a major video game development studio in Toronto.
As part of its agreement with the Canadian province of Ontario, Paris-based Ubisoft will invest another US$430 million in the Toronto complex, which will open later this year and create 800 new jobs.
Ubisoft already employs around 2,400 people at its existing Montreal and Quebec City studios, and another recently opened Vancouver facility.
The news follows Ontario investing heavily to become a major digital hub – it committed approximately US$18 million in May to the expansion of Starz Animation Toronto 3-D cartoon studio – to offset falling Hollywood movie and TV production in the province.
‘Our world is one where you can borrow capital, you can copy technology and you can buy natural resources. But to build a high wage and a high standard of living you need talent,’ Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty said of the province’s latest digital feather in its cap.
Ubisoft develops and publishes games for all major platforms, including PCs and major video game consoles such as Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Xbox.
Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said he chose Toronto to make triple-A games, or the game industry’s equivalent of a major Hollywood movie, because of strong local movie talent and competitive tax breaks.
‘Collaborating with local film industry veterans to enhance video game production and extend Ubisoft’s convergence strategy, Ubisoft Toronto will contribute to Ubisoft’s global plan of extending its brands to complementary platforms and mediums, including books, comics, short films and other products,’ the global maker added in its own statement.
The planned Ubisoft Toronto facility will be overseen by Yannis Mallat, CEO of Ubisoft Montréal, and join another 17 development studios worldwide.