Blogs

  • 15 Jun 2018 by DigiBC

    DigiBC, in conjunction with the BC Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology, was delighted to welcome a delegation of Korean VR/AR developers, investors, and other stakeholders led by the Gyeonggi Content Agency to British Columbia last month. The delegation was one of the first outcomes of the three-year collaboration agreement between DigiBC and the Gyeonggi Content Agency signed in January 2018 when James Hursthouse accompanied Premier John Horgan to Korea as part of his mission to Asia. Advancing collaboration in digital media and technology is a key focus of the overall action plan between the two sister provinces.

     

     

    Gyeonggi Province, which can be thought of as the 'Greater Seoul Region', is home to many leading Korean games and mixed reality companies and this delegation is an exciting next step in our longer-term plans to encourage cooperation and investment between our regions. The aims of the delegation were to meet with local VR/AR companies looking for co-development, investment, and partnership opportunities, learn more about how British Columbia is emerging as a key MR development hub and an ideal location to be the gateway to the North American market for Korean companies, and promote other avenues of cooperation that exist between Gyeonggi and British Columbia, including international incubation opportunities in the heart of the Korean Games and MR industries for BC companies.
     
     
    The delegation spent three days in British Columbia, beginning with a reception at Canada Place hosted by the BC Ministry of Jobs, Technology and Trade, attended by the Korean Consul General, Mr. Gunn Kim, Assistant Deputy Minister of JTT, Brian Krieger, and Executive Director of DigiBC, Brenda Bailey. Edo De Martin, Director of Microsoft Vancouver, gave a short presentation on why Microsoft has chosen BC to be one its main investment targets for its MRy business. Business in Vancouver covered the event and the resulting article can be viewed here - https://biv.com/article/2018/05/vancouvers-growing-vrar-tech-reputation-draws-interest-south-korea
     
    The GCA and DigiBC hosted a showcase and reception event at the BC Tech Hub Cube on May 30 with around 100 VR/AR local developers and other stakeholders in attendance to meet the Korean companies. On Thursday, the delegation was able to visit three leading BC-based mixed reality studios; Finger Food Studios, Stambol Studios, and Eyexpo and were able to enjoy product demos, as well as presentations from sector leaders on their thoughts on the current and future environment for MR development, both at home and globally. 
     
    The delegation is the first in a series of events that are planned as part of the collaboration agreement, and demonstrates DigiBC's commitment to helping our member companies and the broader interactive community here in BC to benefit from relationships with companies in international markets, as well as helping grow BC's digital media sector by attracting overseas investment and partnerships to our region.
     
     
  • 15 Jun 2018 by DigiBC

    Last month, DigiBC celebrated the May 'Two-Four' with a networking mixer event at our new office in Mount Pleasant. We wanted to create a fun night in a casual atmosphere for our members to socialize with their industry peers. Watching the night unfold, it proved to be a success! Dipping into various interesting conversations and witnessing many new connections being made showed how valuable these events can be. Brenda Bailey, DigiBC's Executive Director, spoke to the attendees highlighting our mission to promote, support and accelerate the growth of BC's interactive and digital media (IDM) industry to the benefit of current and future generations and to prioritize government relations, education, networking and community building.

     

     

    This event would not have been possible without the generous support of our wonderful sponsors. We would like to give a huge shout out to EA Vancouver (beer sponsor), Demonware & Fasken Martineau (gold), McCrea Immigration Law & Relic Entertainment (silver) and Liberty Wine Merchants (wine sponsor). We can't thank them enough! Be sure to join our mailing list and stay up-to-date on all our future events here.

     

     

     

  • 12 Jun 2018 by DigiBC

    Skybox Labs is a game development studio based in Burnaby and was founded in 2011 by a group of former EA Vancouver employees - Steve Silvester, Shayang Kong, and Derek MacNeil. Their work spans across all of the major gaming platforms (console, mobile, and desktop) and they specialize in creating new game concepts from scratch, with design being one of their major strengths. Originally starting out with a team of eight, the studio has seen itself grow over the last seven years and is now sitting at around 115 employees. They pride themselves on being bootstrapped and fully independent, with no external financing. 

    Skybox has developed alongside some of the industry's best publishers on world-class franchises such as Halo 5, Halo Forge PC, Minecraft for Nintendo Switch, and Age of Empires, in addition to doing work in the VR/AR space. Their current roster of work includes products in the Halo and Minecraft universes, a few unannounced AR/VR projects, and their own internal IP. This diverse portfolio provides the opportunity to work with high-profile names in the industry and the ability to be creative on IP projects.
     

    Skybox has an awesome culture of passionate gamers where tons of activities happen in the office before and after work. Everything from console and PC games to board games, miniatures, and collectible card games. This, in turn, has helped to build a real sense of comradery in the studio, as well as mutual respect and trust between founders and staff. There is little employee turnover and the teams run very independently with a low level of bureaucracy. Over the past seven years, the studio worked hard to preserve their core values around transparency and openness which has resulted in having the best of both worlds - a maintained flat structure of a small company while being large enough to work on a variety of projects. 
     

    Skybox is currently hiring for a number of positions and further information on these roles can be found on their website - www.skyboxlabs.com/jobs/
     

     

     

  • 11 Jun 2018 by DigiBC

     

    BC Tech hosted the annual Technology Innovation Awards (TIAs) on June 2 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Current and past DigiBC members were featured prominently at the event, including nominations in the following categories:

    Finger Food Studios - Excellence in Technology Adoption

    East Side Games
    - Tech Culture of the Year

    Cloudhead Games
    & LlamaZoo Interactive - Startup of the Year

     

    Congratulations to the nominees! Your companies were well represented and the exposure you received was significant. We were delighted to be there to celebrate when Ayogo won the Spirit of BC Tech award, and send out congratulations to Michael Ferguson and his team. More than just a party and celebration of talent, the awards are an opportunity to highlight the creative tech sector to the many politicians who attend the event. Working to increase the IDMTC never ceases, and the TIAs presented an informal venue for networking with important decision makers. A win for us all.

     

     

     

    DigiBC’s Executive Director, Brenda Bailey, and board member, James Hursthouse, both had a strong presence at the #BCTECH Summit facilitating and moderating multiple panels. The summit was well attended with over 9,000 participants, 3,300 delegates, and 2,000 high school students. We saw many of our member studios on the expo floor highlighting the excellent work of our sector while engaging potential customers, partners, and employees.  
     

    Having 2,000 high school students in attendance created an opportunity to highlight the Play to Learn” program to them, as well as the 200 teachers who were chaperoning. Created by EA, this Steam based platform is currently in more than 50 classrooms across the province. DigiBC is working with Everfi and the Ministry of Education to expand creative tech outreach using this platform and other educational tools from member companies in the upcoming school year. For a two minute summary of the event, click here.

     

     

  • 08 Jun 2018 by DigiBC

    Minerva is working with Refinery Leadership, to develop a five-day program focused on inclusive leadership skills. This is part of their Face of Leadership BC Tech initiative. They are piloting the program and are looking for participants who:
     

    • are interested in becoming more inclusive leaders
    • work in tech or have a tech-focused job
    • can attend all the sessions in Vancouver
    • will give honest, constructive feedback

     

    Program Overview

    A recent report by the HR Tech Group noted that 94% of surveyed employees in the BC tech sector believe that diverse teams produce better outcomes and business results – yet only 33% offer diversity and inclusion training to leaders. It is increasingly important to build inclusive work cultures as, despite a projected shortfall of talent, there are low levels of diverse representation from key groups in the tech sector. In what ways are you and your organization already leading inclusively? In what ways could you be better, and where is your edge? In partnership with The Refinery Leadership Partners, Minerva is offering a transformative program on Inclusive Leadership for all leaders and all genders in the tech sector. Participants should have a readiness to explore ways to:
     

    1. Observe our personal biases and the impact these biases have on others
    2. Build more empathy, compassion, and curiosity towards others who are different than us
    3. Have challenging conversations by leaning into the discomfort
    4. Lead more inclusively to unlock potential and performance
    5. Influence other leaders to co-create a culture of belonging

     

    This program is based on the belief that to truly create an inclusive culture and yield its advantages, we need have real conversations that expands 1) how we think about each other, and 2) what we are willing to do to help everyone in our organizations show up as their best selves. We believe this takes courage, collective generosity, an expectation that we won’t always get it right. AND we value the importance of having fun along the way!

     

    Program Dates & Format:

    • Workshops (all participants must attend all workshops)
      • Workshop 1: June 26-27
      • Workshop 2: September 11-12
      • Workshop 3: October 16
      • Light pre-work and intercession work in between workshops
    • Lunches provided
    • Location: Vancouver BC, venue TBD

     

    Enrolment:

    All leaders in the BC tech sector are invited to participate. As spaces are limited, we are only receiving 12 leaders for this program. There is no cost to participate.

    To enroll, please contact Tina Strehlke (tinas@minervabc.ca) by Friday, June 15.

     


     

     

     

  • 06 Jun 2018 by DigiBC

    Come meet, interact and network with more than 500 VCs, corporate VCs, angel investors, investment bankers and CEOs of early stage and emerging growth companies at the prestigious New York Venture Summit being held on July 10 & 11 at the Convene, New York City.

    This exclusive event put on by youngStartup Ventures will feature more than 50 VCs on interactive panels, presentations from more than 50 top innovators and high-level networking opportunities. The summit is a highly productive venture conference that is dedicated to showcasing VCs, corporate VCs and angel investors committed to funding early stage and emerging companies. Whether you are an investor seeking access to new early stage deals, or a CEO or founder of a new venture looking for funding, visibility and growth, #NYVS18 is one event you won’t want to miss.
     

    Use the code (DIGIBCVIP) to get an extra 10% off the early bird rates. http://bit.ly/2IIUmOo


    Call for TOP INNOVATORS! Get Noticed > Get Funded > Grow Faster
    A select group of more than 50 top innovators from the technology, clean tech, ed tech, life sciences/healthcare sectors will be chosen to present their breakthrough investment opportunities to an exclusive audience of venture capitalists, corporate investors, private investors, investment bankers, and strategic partners.

    Apply to present or nominate a company - for more information or to be considered for one of the top innovator slots click here.

     

     

     

  • 18 May 2018 by DigiBC

    Are you concerned about the GDPR which comes into effect on May 25, 2018?

    What is the GDPR?
    The General Data Protection Regulation introduces new data protection obligations for businesses while providing increased data protection rights for data subjects. The GDPR also significantly increases fines for non-compliance. 
     

    How does it affect our members?
    The newly approved GDPR fundamentally changes the way organizations collecting data in the EU need to manage their people, policies, processes, and technologies. It is vital for organizations to understand how this new legislation will impact them and ensure they are equipped to properly manage privacy and data protection, and have the technical ability to do so.


    How can DigiBC help?
    DigiBC members are invited to participate in a phone call with a leading European interactive digital media lawyer assisting with GDPR compliance. This half hour Q&A will be scheduled for the end of May. Please contact brenda@digibc.org if you would like to participate or know more.
     

  • 16 May 2018 by DigiBC

    DigiBC's Executive Director, Brenda Bailey, participated in the Canadian creative industry trade mission to China last month. It was led by the Honorable Melanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, and took place from April 9-13. More than 50 cultural companies participated and those from the creative tech sector included Relic Entertainment, Go2 Productions, IUGO Entertainment, Hyper Hippo Games, G-Pak Technology Inc., and Studio X Labs. The opportunity to attend came about through Creative BC and coordination was provided by our truly excellent provincial and federal trade delegates.

    The mission included a broad range of creatives. For example, Corus Entertainment, Kids Can Press, Minority Media, National Ballet of Canada, TIFF, Cirque du Soleil, Alberta Music and Entertainment One attended. That animation, video games, and visual effects are now included in the definition of culture indicates a step forward on how the sectors are viewed by our federal government. The delegates spent two days in Shanghai and three in Beijing.  It was clearly apparent that our Chinese cultural counterparts are seeking new opportunities and are eager to build strong relationships with their Canadian counterparts. Currently, there are more than 20 million people working in the cultural industry in China.

     


    The following information highlights the opportunities opening up in China and was presented in a publication created for the mission titled, “A Snapshot of China’s Creative Industries”.

     

    Video Games / Digital Interactive Entertainment
    Between 2009 and 2016 the number of gamers in China has increased fivefold from 115 million in 2009 to 566 million in 2016. China now accounts for 25% of the global market, having surpassed the United States to become the biggest video game market in the world. Tencent and NetEase hold a majority of the market. In 2016, 49.5% of their gaining market share was mobile.

    The PC gaming landscape in China is complex. In 2016 Chinese users were the third largest group of users on the Steam platform, and numbers have increased rapidly in the past year from 10 million in May 2016 to 16 million in March 2017. Of the top 20 games, by sales, in the Steam China store as of March 2017, six were developed by Canadian game studios! However, games platforms not registered in China may be confronted with regulatory challenges from the government. The uncertainty created by the great firewall and state censorship pose risks to foreign platforms not registered in China which could be blocked any time.

     

    Animation and VFX
    China has 50,000 screens and that number is growing at a rate of 27 new screens per day. Animated productions such as
    'Journey to the West' and 'The Monkey King' have generated box office sales of more than one billion (RMP). Of the top 10 films in 2016, four were entirely foreign productions, five were foreign culture co-productions classed as domestic, and only one was entirely domestic. There is strong interest in co-production in this sector.

    Relative to Hollywood blockbusters, post-production budgets for Chinese films are low. When relative to Canada the Chinese VFX and animation sector is still at an early stage of development, the domestic industry is dominated by a small number of production companies that provide VFX services. To improve these services, Chinese companies are increasingly seeking out foreign expertise. Canada’s reputation as a world leader in VFX and the success of a number of existing high-quality collaborations between Chinese and Canadian companies has created a strong desire for further collaboration.

     

     

    Chinese Market Access Peer Group

    DigiBC is forming a peer group for studios who are interested in exploring the risks and benefits of accessing the Chinese market. We plan to bring together both experienced and companies new to this market to have frank discussions, share learning on market access, and expert speakers. Please contact brenda@digibc.org should you have interest in becoming involved in this initiative.

     

     

     Jason Dowdeswell (Relic Entertainment), Bentley Brar (G-Pak Technology Inc.), Paul Ruskay (Studio X Labs), Sam Fisher (Hyper Hippo), Prem Gill (Creative BC), Gemma Scott (Go2 Productions), Brenda Bailey (DigiBC), Adrian Scott (Go2 Productions)

     

  • 15 May 2018 by DigiBC

    Two Tall Totems is a premium software company based in Vancouver, BC. They design, develop, and deliver world-class software, complex websites, and mobile apps for startups and enterprise companies. It was founded in July 2011 by Chris Hobbs, David Hobbs, and Josephine Wong and since then they have grown to become a powerhouse in the Vancouver tech community. TTT are known to develop beautiful and effective software that combines a design-first philosophy with deep expertise in sophisticated communications, security, and web services integration. Since its inception, they have garnered a client list from over 20 different industries and have completed 150+ successful projects. Currently, they are working on a robust mobile app for FortisBC, an interactive app for the Logitech Revols earphones, and revamping the MortgageBOSS platform for The Mortgage Alliance Company.

     

     

    Recognized by the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion, TTT takes pride in cultivating a culture of openness and passion. This is evident with their belief that employees are the core of the company and every single person contributes to its overall success. They also empower the community by getting involved with local and international events as speakers, educators, and sponsors. In the office there are three faces you will see on a regular basis who help keep things in line… three puppy faces, that is! Roxy is the fuzzy office mascot who is highly specialized in begging for food, Mojo (Head of Security) is a sassy pomeranian who takes his job very seriously, and Diamond (Head of PR) can often be found sleeping on the job.

     

     

     

    The staff describe themselves as people who are approachable, skilled, artistic, and even a bit nerdy while supporting each other with positivity and understanding. If you like the sounds of that then be sure to check out their website as they are currently hiring for a number of open positions. https://twotalltotems.bamboohr.com/jobs/

     

     


     

  • 11 May 2018 by DigiBC

    Do you sell online to the USA?

    The internet has changed how business is conducted, especially in a cross-border context. The ease and relatively inexpensive access to the internet, the emergence of social media sites such as YouTube, and the proliferation of company websites that operate as virtual storefronts, has created business opportunities where none existed before. Now any Canadian business with a computer and a good idea can sell goods or services to US customers with little or no physical presence in the US. This leads to a fascinating question: how should governments tax e-commerce?  In the US, there are two vastly different approaches to this issue that lead to drastically different results.
     

    How is income from e-commerce taxed at the US federal income tax level?

    At the federal income tax level, the presence of “old school” rules requiring a Canadian business to have a physical presence in the US before it is subject to federal income tax results in many Canadian e-commerce businesses avoiding US federal income tax liabilities. If the Canadian business is not deemed to have a US trade or business, then the issue of what profits it might have from US customers becomes irrelevant – those profits will generally not be subject to US federal income tax.

     

    WHAT IS A US TRADE OR BUSINESS?

    The rules for determining whether a Canadian company has a US trade or business are largely based in US domestic law but are augmented by the Canada-US Income Tax Treaty (the “Treaty”). The Treaty slightly alters some of the language and rules used in the analysis, thus providing slightly more clarity, but otherwise does not fundamentally alter the underlying concept.

    Typically, a US trade or business exists if activities of a Canadian business in the US are considerable, continuous, and regular. Furthermore, the activities conducted by a Canadian business within the US must also generally be active (as opposed to passive investment activities), substantial, and closely related to deriving business profit. As such, back office and logistic functions of a business, such as clerical activities, collection-related activities, and the mere storing of inventory in the US will not by themselves result in a Canadian business being engaged in a US trade or business.

    In addition to the above requirements that are derived from US domestic tax law, the Treaty generally requires one of two additional requirements to be met before the US will consider a Canadian business to be operating a US trade or business: (1) that the Canadian business has a fixed place of business within the US (such as an office or another place of management); or (2) have a dependent agent in the US who has the power to habitually exercise the right to conclude contracts in the name of the Canadian business with US customers.

    As noted above, Canadian based e-commerce businesses generally do not trigger either of these two requirements as: (1) operating a website that is accessible from the US generally will not constitute a fixed place of business within the US; and (2) taking orders through such website from US customers will generally not be considered as concluding contracts within the US.

     

    How is income from e-commerce taxed at the state income tax level?

    In direct contrast with the federal income tax rules, at the state income tax level, most states have done away with physical presence based rules and have adopted rules to tax businesses based on whether such businesses have a substantial “economic nexus” with the state. Economic nexus is a facts and circumstances test and is often based on such factors as the dollar amount and number of transactions conducted by the business with customers located in the state. This focus on the amount of sales made to customers within a state for purposes of taxing out of state business has gone a step further in certain states such as California, Colorado, Ohio, and Michigan, as these states now have bright line sales thresholds for determining nexus (e.g., Ohio, California, and Colorado have a $500,000 threshold, Michigan has a $350,000 threshold).

    Once a state has determined that an out of state business has economic nexus within the state, the business will typically have to apportion a percentage of its profits to be taxed in the state based on an apportionment formula that varies by state. Many states, although not all, have gone to a “single sales factor” apportionment method whereby the apportionment percentage is based on the total dollar amount of sales to customers in the state divided by the business’ worldwide sales.

    For example, if we assume a Canadian e-commerce business has $1,000,000 of sales to California, and that its total worldwide sales is $10,000,000, 10% of the total net income of the business will be subject to the California state income tax.

     

    How is income from e-commerce taxed at the state sales tax level?

    Pursuant to the US Supreme Court case, Quill Corp. v. North Dakota (“Quill”), states have historically only been able to tax out of state businesses for sales tax purposes if the out of state business had a physical presence in the state.  The rule laid down by Quill had the unintended consequences of heavily favoring e-commerce businesses over local brick and mortar retailers.  In the last several years, numerous states have passed legislation adopting economic nexus and even bright-line tests in order to subject sales from out of state businesses to state sales taxes. Currently, the State of South Dakota is involved in a case before the US Supreme Court that could likely abolish the need for physical presence based taxation for sales tax purposes.   If the US Supreme Court rules in favor of South Dakota and abolishes the physical presence standard, Canadian e-commerce businesses with significant sales to US customers could be faced with state sales tax exposures in addition to state income tax exposures.

     

    Summary  

    Unbeknownst to many Canadian e-commerce businesses, it is entirely possible that such businesses are subject to US state income taxation even though they are not subject to US federal income taxation. Furthermore, with there being a strong likelihood that Quill will be overturned later this year, Canadian e-commerce businesses will likely also have state sales tax exposures to be concerned with.


    If you have any questions or would like to discuss any potential US tax issues that may affect your business, please contact
    Eric Trumbull of our US Tax Group.


    Written
    by Eric Trumbull, Juris Doctor

     

  • 11 May 2018 by DigiBC

    We had a great time in Victoria last month celebrating #CreativeIndustriesWeek! An amazing job was done by Creative BC making this event happen and working continuously to promote and grow the creative sector.


    The event kicked off for DigiBC with an evening reception held at The Union Club,
    co-hostedbyR2D2thanks to Industrial Light and Magic, where members of government were given the opportunity to test out Finger Food’s Cirque du Soleil VR experience. Also on the program for the night was a screening of Ana de Lara’s Good Girls Don’t, winner of the 2017 MPPIA Short Film Award, and a soulful performance by emerging artist, Maya Rae.


    The following day saw DigiBC join other members from the creative tech industry, such as MPA Canada, Fox Studios, and Warner Studios, for the BC Creative Industries Showcase in the Reception Hall of Honour at the BC Parliament Building. Codename Entertainment represented DigiBC with a demo of their game, Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms. Deadpool was on hand (everyone’s favourite merc with a mouth), and R2D2 continued to capture the crowd's attention, including The Honourable John Horgan as he made his way through the group to address the room to put forth the official proclamation of ‘Creative Industries Week’ from April 23-30, 2018. Prem Gill, CEO of Creative BC, emceed the program which saw short speeches by The Honourable Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, Joan Miller, Vancouver Island North Film Commission and President of the Regional Film Commissions Association, among others.


    Job growth and career pathways were the prominent themes of the event which was highlighted by the attendance of high school students who were given an inside look at some of the exciting, creative careers available to them right here in their home province. With BC’s digital media companies employing 16,500 people and contributing $2.3 billion to the economy each year they are sure to find something to suit and help keep BC’s creative industry thriving.

    We’d like to give a big shout out to Finger Food Studios and Codename Entertainment for representing DigiBC and helping our political partners better understand our sector.
     

  • 16 Apr 2018 by DigiBC

    Established in 2011 by Vancouver based CG animation and VFX industry professionals, Waterproof Studios is a full-service production studio dedicated to the creation of innovative content for the games, film, TV and animation industries. Their talented in-house team of artists, editors, designers, directors, and producers provide a high-quality artistic vision, technical expertise, management, and direction to all their projects from pre-production to final delivery. The studio strives to provide their clients with first-rate solutions and a co-operative and creative environment for all their production and branding needs.

     


    Waterproof has worked with some of the biggest brands in entertainment such as Warner Brothers, Sony, 2K, Electronic Arts and Nickelodeon, and they boast a resume of projects that include
    Mortal Kombat X, Splinter Cell, Injustice 2, Fairly Odd Parents, XCOM 2, Final Fantasy and many others. Currently, they have two unannounced AAA cinematic projects in production, a unique augmented reality (AR) marketing project on the go, and their first animated feature film in development. Future plans include moving into animated feature films and working on some of the biggest game IP’s in the world.

     

     

    Located in a spacious 14,200 square foot facility in Vancouver, they describe their office environment as very laid-back. The studio believes work is work, but it should be fun and somewhere you want to go every day. Thus, they pride themselves on having flexibility with staff and recognize that having a work/life balance is vital for employees.

    Waterproof is currently hiring for a variety of roles including previs artists, animators, Unreal artists, TDs, and production staff. Check their website for further details and to apply - http://www.waterproofstudios.com/jobs.php
     

     

  • 15 Apr 2018 by DigiBC

    Anthony Brown, CEO of AMPD Technologies, was selected as the Canadian Investment Champion for G-STAR in South Korea last November. We caught up with him to hear about some of the highlights from the conference… one of which involves winning an international beer pong competition!

    Originally hailing from Ontario, Anthony decided to make the move to B.C. more than 20 years ago. Initially, it was just for the mild climate and beautiful scenery, but it didn’t take him long to find his niche in the technology infrastructure sector. Through his first start-up, Seven Group, he found his calling by working with studios in the media and entertainment market that crossed over with technology. He found B.C. to be the leader in Canada for these areas, so he couldn’t have picked a better place to be. Fast forward to current day and Anthony is now co-founder and CEO of AMPD Technologies and
    Rabid Games. AMPD builds out technology infrastructure with a focus on digital media studios and high-performance computing. They also do hosting, ISP services, and cloud hosting for both development and running live games. Rabid Games is a publishing company focused on high-end PC titles that are based on well-loved IP. They are currently partnered with Piranha Games, who are developing and publishing MechWarrior 5, and are concentrating on building out new markets in Asia and Europe.

     

     

    It was because of this partnership that Anthony became a strong candidate to be the Canada Investment Champion. CIC is a federally run program that selects an industry executive in a particular field/market to represent the country to key target companies as a place to invest and grow their companies. In this case, it was the games industry in South Korea. Attending G-STAR opened up many doors and enabled face-to-faces with key people Anthony would never have been able to connect with otherwise. DigiBC was on hand to help set up and facilitate meetings with important target companies and introductions to government representatives. Some of the highlights from the jam-packed week included doing a town hall at NC Soft’s building in Seoul, having executive level meetings with BlueHole, Smilegate, Kakao Games, Pearl Abyss, and Webzen, and giving a couple keynote speeches. Last but not least, there was also winning the 3rd annual Beer Pong Championships (games industry vs. Canadian government)!
     

    Anthony presenting at NC Soft in Seoul on 'Why Canada is great for games companies'

     
    If you’re a video game company looking to make contacts and expand your business into international markets then DigiBC can help. Through our extensive network, we can facilitate introductions and provide valuable information to our member companies. Sign up today to become part of our industry association and get connected! For more information on membership benefits and fees, please visit our membership page.

     

     

  • 12 Apr 2018 by DigiBC

    Diversity continues to be an important driver of business success at Microsoft. As such, they are launching cohort 2 of LEAP Vancouver to supplement their traditional hiring efforts this year. Additionally, they want to empower women with a technical background who wish to re-enter the workplace.

     

     

    What is LEAP Vancouver?

    LEAP Vancouver is a 6-8 month training program which aims to bring in talent to Microsoft from under-represented groups. In turn, this will help their workforce accurately represent the makeup of their customer/consumer base.  Moreover, they want to empower and help women with a technical background, re-enter the workplace after an extended leave or with a gap in employment (12+months).

    Microsoft is hiring now for the next cohort to work with the newly created Mixed Reality in the Workplace team and the Big Park team. This is a paid contract position with the opportunity to receive a full-time offer if the program is successfully completed.  LEAP participants will have access to soft skills/technical training, mentors, and networking opportunities in various Women in Technology events, forums, and roundtables.

    Are you a female engineer, program manager or designer looking to return to the workforce and refresh your skills?

    For more details of the available LEAP positions: click here

    To refer a candidate or apply, send an email to - leapvan@microsoft.com

     

     

  • 12 Apr 2018 by DigiBC

    DigiBC attended the 2018 Game Developers Conference held last month at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, sharing a booth with the Government of British Columbia. The conference saw a record 28,000 attendees of industry professionals. It was encouraging to have so many people, from all over the world, stop by to express their interest in coming to B.C. to share their talents with our thriving industry. It gave us the opportunity to highlight what we do to support the intersection of creativity and technology in our province, to showcase our member’s projects and the diverse market available, and of course promote the beauty of our corner of the world. We also had many expats drop by to say ‘hello’ to their fellow Canadians with thoughts of returning home.

    We were joined by representatives from BC Trade & Investment and BC Ministry Jobs, Trade and Technology to help explain the ease at which the immigration process can be started. If any of our readers are thinking about making the move to beautiful British Columbia, you can click the links below for more information on immigration, international business in BC, and some of the many jobs available in the area.
     

    https://www.britishcolumbia.ca/

    http://advantagebc.ca/

    www.digibc.org/jobs

     

  • 12 Apr 2018 by DigiBC

    DigiBC is always working with our federal, provincial and municipal government partners to help implement programs that will benefit the industry, and below is a list of some of the recent opportunities we received from our contacts. DigiBC’s Executive Director, Brenda Bailey, is participating in a federal trade mission to China this month to establish and enhance business contacts in the region. Stay tuned for an update and recap on this in next month’s newsletter. In the meantime, here is the list of federal programs provided to us by Yaa-Hemaa from Global Affairs Canada, as well as some industry opportunities from Alana Wagner at the US Trade and Investment office of British Columbia which arose in her discussions at GDC 2018.
     

    Federal Programs (for companies in game development)

    1. CanExport provides 50% reimbursement on eligible expenses for market development initiatives costing $20k to just under $200k, for companies with 2 to 250 employees, $200k to $50m in annual revenue, and entering into a market where they haven't had a sale in the last 24 months. Travel, accommodation, meals, translation of website, consulting and marketing materials are among eligible expenses. Recommend reviewing FAQs, and you can find a list of the eligible and ineligible activities here. There’s currently a 5-week turnaround from application to decision for CanExport applications.
       

    2. Canadian Digital Media Network: Soft-Landing Program provides support for any travel for business development or investment meetings you may have outside of Canada. CDMN’s Soft Landing program provides up to $4k in travel and accommodation to successful applicants, and the current call is for travel between March and June of this year. Deadline to apply is Feb 11th.

     

    Federal Programs (for companies outside of game development)

    1. Going Global Innovation (GGI) is a funding program meant to facilitate the formalization of a contractual agreement between a Canadian and a foreign organization to engage in joint R&D that could lead to commercialized Canadian technology. With a confirmation letter from a potential foreign partner in their interest in exploring an R&D initiative with your company, you can apply for GGI to cover up to 75% of eligible expenses (up to a total of $75k), for expenses such as travel and accommodation, reasonable hospitality, registration fees, translation and interpretation costs, among others. You can request an application package from innovation@international.gc.ca. Applications need to be submitted at least eight weeks prior to your intended travel.
       
    2. Canadian Technology Accelerators is an initiative that helps Canadian companies with an existing technology, product or service explore opportunities in foreign markets.
       
    3. Build in Canada Innovation Program provides an opportunity for the Government of Canada its departments to procure a Canadian company's technology and test it within the federal government.

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    List of opportunities from our US Trade and Investment Director, Alana Wagner. Please contact her directly (
    awagner@britishcolumbia.ca) if you are interested and would like an e-intro made.

     

    1. Zynga: Is your game a fit for Zynga? They are actively looking for games in a genre adjacent to their own games but are also open to other options. The main concern is that the game be social.
       

    2. Maingames: SE Asia publisher that focuses on mid to hardcore games. If you are interested in publishing your game in SE Asia (Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand, Australia) this publisher would like to talk to you.
       

    3. Disruptor Beam: This Boston-area company builds story-rich mobile games that connect players around popular franchises including Game of Thrones, Star Trek, and The Walking Dead. They are interested in partnerships/co-development/work-for-hire deals with mobile or mobile F2P companies on their new or existing products.
       

    4. Nickelodeon: Are you interested in making games with Nickelodeon? They are open to pitches for their content (both current and older content, as well as cross property) in a unique brand appropriate way that is good for kids and families. This could be a co-development/work for hire/licensing opportunity.

     

     

  • 14 Mar 2018 by DigiBC

     On February 12, the Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC) hosted their annual Video Games on the Hill showcase for parliamentarians and hill staff.  The event was held for the first time at the Sir John A Macdonald building in Ottawa, offering an opportunity for members to once again expand their booths and interactive experiences. Member participation included: Ubisoft Montreal, Nintendo Canada, Other Ocean, EA, PlayStation Canada, Xbox Canada, Ludia, and Eidos Montreal.

     

     Sean Casey, MP for Charlottetown and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage greets the Canadian entertainment software industry.

     

    #VideoGamesontheHill brought together 23 Members of Parliament, 2 Ministers and over 200 guests, with special appearances from the world’s most beloved plumber Mario and his trusty sidekick Luigi. Guests were immersed in the world of games and given the opportunity to play some of the most recent games and consoles on the market, including NHL 18, Cuphead, Starlink, Jurassic World, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation VR, and many others.

     

     

    The event was presented with the participation of Sean Casey, MP for Charlottetown and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage. Mr. Casey spoke on behalf of the federal government and their ongoing support for Canada’s innovative and established video game industry. In addition to the evening showcase, ESAC and board members participated in a number of meetings with government officials in Ottawa. The meeting program included discussions on the upcoming review of the Copyright Act and updates for officials on the effectiveness of the recently implemented Global Talent Stream.

     

     

     

    ESAC would like to thank its members and guests for their participation, which contributes to the growth and development of the annual Video Games on the Hill showcase & parliamentary day. For more information, contact Jayson Hilchie at jhilchie@theesa.ca

     

  • 13 Mar 2018 by DigiBC

    Shelley Coultish and Karyn Derby from Telefilm Canada were in Vancouver on February 22 and Victoria on February 23 to promote the Experimental Stream of funding through the Canada Media Fund (CMF). The Experimental Stream encourages the development of interactive digital media content and software applications that are on the leading edge of innovation. It was a successful event with opening remarks provided by Catherine Warren, President of the Centre for Digital Media & Great Northern Way Trust, and Brenda Bailey, Executive Director of DigiBC, which led into an informative presentation by Shelley Coultish and then a full schedule of individual meetings for companies that have projects looking for funding.
     

    We’d like to thank The Centre for Digital Media for hosting the event in Vancouver and Fort Tectoria for hosting the event in Victoria.

     

    For more information on the Canada Media Fund click here.

     

     

     

     

     

  • 13 Mar 2018 by DigiBC

    Blackbird Interactive is an independent video game studio located in Vancouver, BC. It was founded in 2007 by a team of former Relic Entertainment and Electronic Arts employees and in true start-up fashion, the company began in the garage of the CEO, Rob Cunningham. In 2010, the studio moved to its current location, a converted industrial space on Great Northern Way that was formerly used for servicing heavy machinery and vehicles. BBI currently has over a 100 employees and is rapidly continuing to grow. They have more than doubled in size in the last year and a half, and are subsequently moving to a brand new 29,000 square foot studio by the end of 2018.

     


    The studio launched its
    firstgameHomeworld: Deserts of Kharak™ in January of 2016. This is a PC real-time strategy game available on Steam, and published by Gearbox Publishing. It is the prequel to the acclaimed Homeworld series originally made by Relic and published by Sierra in 1999. In 2017, BBI partnered with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to create Project Eagle, an interactive art demo of a future Mars colony in Gale Crater at the base of Mount Sharp (near the original landing site of the Mars Curiosity Rover). It is set in 2117, 44 Martian years (82.8 Earth years) after the first human mission to Mars. Project Eagle was built to be presented live on stage at the 2017 D.I.C.E. Summit. Currently, BBI is working on three super exciting secret projects. While they are not quite ready to share any of the details, the studio can assure you that they are incredibly stoked to be working on all of them!

     


    Blackbird prides itself on having a company culture that is founded on creativity, community, and collaboration. They believe that great ideas can come from any position in any discipline and they strive to make certain that every voice is heard. The studio has worked hard to ensure that employees have a solid work/life balance and are provided an environment where they are truly happy to come to every day. In addition, company events such as picnics, board game nights, field trips, camp days, movie trips, and parties are regular occurrences throughout the year.

     

     

     


    If you’ve liked what you’ve heard and think BBI could be the place for you then you’re in luck! They are currently hiring and have a number of new openings, so be sure to check the website for further details on what positions are available.
    https://blackbirdinteractive.com/jobs/

     

     

     

  • 12 Mar 2018 by DigiBC

    WHAT’S NEW IN PERSONAL TAXES

    It’s time to start thinking about your 2017 Personal Tax Return – April 30 is fast approaching. The following is a summary of changes and updates that may impact your taxes and the information you need to gather.

     

    ELIMINATED TAX CREDITS

    • Education and textbook tax credit– Effective January 1, 2017, the federal education and textbook tax credits were eliminated. This measure did not eliminate the tuition tax credit, and it does not affect the ability to carry forward unused education and textbook credit amounts from years prior to 2017.

    • Canada caregiver credit– The caregiver credit, infirm dependent credit, and family caregiver tax credit have all been replaced by the new Canada caregiver credit. This provides a tax credit of 15% of up to $6,883 of expenses incurred for the care of dependent relatives with infirmities, and 15% of up to $2,150 on expenses incurred for the care of a dependent spouse, common-law partner or minor child with an infirmity.

    • Children arts and fitness credit– The federal children's arts and fitness tax credits have been eliminated for the 2017 taxation year. The BC child arts and fitness tax credits will be eliminated in 2018.

    • Public transit tax credit– This credit was eliminated as of July 1, 2017, which means you can only claim eligible public transit expenses if they were incurred prior to that date.

     

    CHANGES AT CANADA REVENUE AGENCY

    • File My ReturnCRA has launched a new service which will allow eligible Canadians to file their tax returns over the phone through an automated service. This service is for those individuals who have simple tax returns.

    • Launch of BizApp CRA has released a new app to allow small businesses and sole proprietors to make pre-authorized payments to their corporation, GST or HST tax and payroll account.

    • Paying taxes in personCRA has now made it easier to pay your individual taxes and other select payments in person. Individuals can now pay using debit or cash at any Canada Post outlet but first need to create a payment barcode online.

     

    OTHER THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND

    • The deadline to contribute to your RRSP is on March 1, 2018, for the 2017 taxation year.

    • Sale of principal residence Starting in 2016, if a taxpayer sells their primary residence, it will need to be reported on the tax return (date of acquisition, proceeds of disposition and description of property)

    • Increase in tax rateThe top federal/B.C personal marginal tax rate has increased from 47.7% in 2017 to 49.8% in 2018.

    • Charitable donations 2018 will be the last year that taxpayers can claim the Federal First-Time Donor’s super credit if the taxpayer and their spouse has not claimed it from 2008-2016. This credit provides up to additional 25% tax credit on the first $1,000 of donations claimed.

     

    DMCL is an independent Vancouver-based accounting firm with 20 partners and over 180 professional and support personnel. We're entrepreneurs at heart and are recognized for our expertise in audit and assurance, accounting, taxation and business advisory for public and private companies, not-for-profits and owner-managed businesses.

    If you have any questions, please contact Cory Stewart or a DMCL advisor.

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