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Dyack questions long-term effects of developer subsidies

Silicon Knights boss Denis Dyack has questioned the long-term effects of government subsidies in Canada, calling them "insane" and unsustainable.

Silicon Knights boss Denis Dyack has questioned the long-term effects of government subsidies in Canada, calling them "insane" and unsustainable.

For the Too Human developer, Canadian subsidies — which can cover up to 60 per cent of staff wages — are only a short-term solution, and once they come to an end there is a big question mark over whether studios and students taking advantage of them will stay in the area.

As well as Silicon Knights, Ubisoft, Eidos, Electronic Arts and others have major development studios in the Quebec region.

"The subsidies in Quebec are, well, insane," commented Dyack to Gamasutra. "Essentially that's the only reason the studios are so big here."

"Once those subsidies stop, because they can't go on forever... will those businesses stay there, or will they move out, as they're global and mobile?

"It's costing the government a ton of money and the payback is uncertain," he argued.

Evidence of a false economy shows itself in the educational institutions, says Dyack.

"Because all of our universities and colleges are subsidised by the government, what we're doing is training all these people, educating them, and then they're leaving."

For Dyack, the government needs to take smaller steps and encourage companies and students to stay in the region for reasons other than generous subsidies.

"I think what our government needs to do is to make smaller steps, maybe not such extremes, but get the companies actually rooted in Ontario, and really see the benefits of a long-term investment here.

"Most people trained in Ontario would like to stay in Ontario, so let's start giving jobs to people here, let's keep it on Ontario and let's stop the brain-drain to Quebec or wherever," he added.

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Matt Martin

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Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.