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WB Games expanding Montreal studio by 100 devs

WB Games expanding Montreal studio by 100 devs

Fri 04 Oct 2013 8:18pm GMT / 4:18pm EDT / 1:18pm PDT
PoliticsBusiness

Quebec invests $63 million into Batman: Arkham Origins studio to up headcount within five years

The Quebec government continues to invest in its local game development scene. As reported by CTV, Quebec Premier Pauline Marois today announced that the province is committing $63 million in grant money and incentives to help WB Games Montreal as the studio has committed to increase its headcount by 100 new staffers within the next five years.

The studio is best known as the developer behind the upcoming Batman: Arkham Origins. It has previously developed the Lego Legends of Chima Online game, as well as the Wii U version of Batman: Arkham City. The new jobs are expected to pay about $70,000 annually to employees who will average 30 years old. The studio currently employs 325 permanent staffers.

Quebec has a history of providing government support and incentives to the game industry, with Ubisoft among the largest beneficiaries. Earlier this week, the publisher announced plans to expand its Montreal studio by 500 jobs, thanks to a $9.9 million grant from Quebec and an expansion of the provincial tax credit for multimedia development.

8 Comments

Wish someone would give me 63 million. I would guarantee 100 new jobs in 5 weeks, not 5 years.

Posted:9 months ago

#1

Andreas Gschwari
Senior Games Designer

555 607 1.1
Yes, rapid hiring has always been very successfull Todd.

I prefer to see a long term, sustainable, plan that actually maintains the 100 extra positions for a number of years. Rather than 100 hundred people in 5 week, create one game and make them all redundant again.

Getting quality people takes time. Ideally you create the time space to headhunt and interview several candidate for each role and make sure they fit into the current culture as well.

Posted:9 months ago

#2
The point was more about the incestual relationship government and certain corps have. Its basically govt corporate welfare, the govt using public money to hand pick winners and losers in private industry, instead of just letting the market decide. Why not give 63 startup software companies in quebec 1 million dollar grants each, you dont think after 5 years that would lead to way more than 100+ jobs? or how about governments just stay out of picking winners and losers, and just pick up the garbage on time, build roads when necessary,and create a business friendly environent where new businesses arent choked with regs and taxes

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Todd Weidner on 7th October 2013 3:07pm

Posted:9 months ago

#3

Andreas Gschwari
Senior Games Designer

555 607 1.1
Don't know Todd. How many startup companies will succeed after 1 year? I don't know the statistics to be honest.

Look at the big ones in Canada. Ubisoft, EA, Eidos and WB created how many jobs there over the last 10 years?

Not having the government involved at all is of course an option. But if the government does get involved then of course it should invest in winners. Those that supply employment in the long run, foster stability and revenue/tax income. With a startup you have no guarantee where you will end up.

This approach might well not be the best for innovative games, but that's besides the point really. Economically it obviously makes sense.

Personally i am happy that 100 people will be able to find a new job in the next 5 years, working on some fantastic franchises.

Posted:9 months ago

#4
if the government gets involved, it doesnt pick winners, it creates winners. How can you not win if the gov gives you 63 million and not your competition? 100 jobs is nice but its incredbily small potatoes, if just 1 or 2 of those fictional 63 startup worked, thats more than 100 jobs right there. Statistically large job growth growth comes from new startup companies, not entrenched ones.

I dont see how you can be happy about 100 jobs coming at a cost of 630,000 bucks a piece from govt corp welfare.

Posted:9 months ago

#5

Andreas Gschwari
Senior Games Designer

555 607 1.1
Right i don't really want to argue this for ever, so one final response from me to hopefully clear things up a bit.

If you give 1 million to 63 companies, none of them will be in a position to hire 100 people purely based on that. With that kind of money you are looking at a start up of maybe 10 to 20 people for 2 years or something (depending on team size, project etc.).

Start ups have a tendency to grow fast, often too fast and the risk of money going down the drain is much higher.

To be honest, i would have no problem with them giving 1 million to 63 companies. If that leads to sustained jobs and good games - why would i complain. I just simply don't have a problem with the oney going to WB in this case either, because they seem to have a long term strategy in the area and that means sustained jobs as well.

If the government has the money to spend then that's not really my problem either. I am not a big fan of tax breaks for any industry, including our own, but i don't make policy. That kind of govt corp welfare is what many in the UK want for example.

Would you say no if your government would say "Hey Big Daddy Studio! Have 5 million to make games - it's on us!"?

My initial point was more about sustainable growth of a studio, hiring quality talent over a number of years, rather than what i felt was a suggestion by you that it was ok to grown a studio in 5 weeks to 100 people.

Posted:9 months ago

#6
My last comment is. The governments dont have the money to spend, Debt crisis the world over. Governments dont offer guys like you and me and our companies millions for free because we simply dont have a politician in our pocket like large corps do.

And to be honest I wouldnt have too big an issue with this if it was a low interest business loan, but it isnt, it's a grant, free money. Grants are a good idea for non profits, for research, for stable needed large public projects. Not giving money to a for profit private business in a totally unstable industry. Its just a small sample of everything that is wrong with the economies the world over. It just stuck in my crawl today.

Thanks for the discussion however.

Posted:9 months ago

#7

Andreas Gschwari
Senior Games Designer

555 607 1.1
Well i am going back on what i said - one more post :)

I can agree with everything you said in your last comment! (which is why i am not a big fan of government subsidizing any industry really)

Posted:9 months ago

#8

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