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  • 12 Feb 2018 by DigiBC

    2017 marked 20 years since a forward-thinking group of folks decided that British Columbia should have an organization to foster the growth of the digital media sector in the province and formed New Media BC, which merged with WinBC in 2009 to form the basis of our current DigiBC organization. As we enter our third decade of supporting the Interactive and Digital Media industry here in BC, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the last 12 months, and look forward to what’s ahead for the organization in 2018 and beyond.

    2017 was a year of renewal and revitalization for DigiBC. We re-established our mission and mandate squarely at the intersection of ‘Where Creative and Technology Meet’. Serving and promoting the adjacent sectors of interactive & video gaming, animation & visual effects and digital marketing/creative was re-established as our primary focus. A new, smaller board of highly committed directors [DigiBC BoD] is now in place and is qualified and excited to take this mandate forward.

    Our member companies are characterized by the balance of creative and technology roles within their organizations, blending cutting-edge technology with artistic and creative genius to bring stories, worlds, and experiences to life on digital devices for an ever-increasing number of consumers around the globe. Thanks to BC’s rich history of video game development, the province is becoming a hotbed for Mixed Reality development across multiple sectors. 2017 saw our member companies embracing AR / VR platforms, and our audience expand to include people using our products and services for commercial and enterprise, as well entertainment and educational purposes.

    DigiBC was responsible for the introduction of the Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit (IDMTC) in 2010, and once again spent a great deal of time engaged with the provincial government to help educate, guide and inform the new administration around the importance of the credit to the stability and growth of our sector. We delivered our ‘Recommendations Relating to the IDMTC’ white paper in November 2017 and continue to be engaged in a series of ongoing consultations with multiple ministries across government in the run-up to the budget in February 2018. Our key message: that a healthy and vibrant creative technology sector underpins success in broader innovation strategies. Our key asks: that the IDMTC be i) extended indefinitely ii) be increased in a fiscally responsible way so that the scheme remains revenue positive for the province and iii) that interactive Mixed Reality products qualify for the tax credit.

    We also contributed to the development of the Digital Technology Supercluster Proposal (as it related to our Creative Technology Sector) and engaged with the federal and provincial government on issues relating to immigration and NOC code changes that would negatively affect the ability of our animation and visual effects companies to continue their growth in the province.

    Our role in the ecosystem is now clear, and we are developing closer cooperation with organizations such as Creative BC, MPPIA, and BC Tech, all of whom contribute to the success of our creative technology companies in various ways. But we understand that the Creative Technology sector has unique characteristics, opportunities, and challenges that demand a distinct voice.


    Educational Activities

    One of the key advantages our sector holds is our natural appeal to youth and the fact that we employ a wide range of people from different backgrounds and skill sets. Video games, animated movies, and VFX are arguably the most accessible faces of technology to the broader population. The natural ‘curb appeal’ of creative tech continues to motivate many young people to consider careers in technology.

    For example, playing video games leads to a desire to want to make video games, which in turn can lead to a broader application of critical and creative thinking, programming, and other skills across all employment sectors. Because of this, DigiBC has been working hard to develop and support a series of educational initiatives, including discussions with the Ministry of Education and private industry around a formal Education Foundation. The Education Foundation initiative plans for a website & events that will foster cooperation between our industry and students, teachers, parents and life-long learners, and support for the BC Game Developers Innovation Award in conjunction with the Science Fair Foundation of BC.


    International Activities

    DigiBC conducted a number of ‘DigiMissions’ throughout the year, assisting member companies to participate in events such as the Global VR Summit in Seoul in May, Gamescom in Cologne in August, G-Star in Busan in November, and the VRX Summit in San Francisco in December. The aim of these activities was to both directly assist our member companies in accessing opportunities in overseas markets, as well as raising DigiBC’s profile as the voice of creative technology in the province.   

    We receive an increasing number of inquiries from overseas companies looking to establish in BC and work with colleagues at the BC Trade Office and others to encourage this inward investment, raising the number of employment opportunities for local people in the sector.

    Last week, I traveled to Seoul to join Premier John Horgan’s mission to Asia, along with the Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, Hon. Bruce Ralston, during which DigiBC signed a three-year collaboration agreement with the Gyeonggi Contents Agency as part of the broader three-year action plan between British Columbia and Gyeonggi Province (Greater Seoul).

    Digital media is highlighted as a key focus area in the action plan, and DigiBC is proud to be helping drive this type of international business development for our sector. It was gratifying to be invited by the Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Tourism to participate in this mission, and underlines how DigiBC plays a role in helping advise the government in relation to creative technology as a cornerstone of the broader tech and innovation strategy within the province.


    DigiBC and the Gyeonggi Contents Agency sign a three-year collaboration plan during a recent mission to Asia

    From left to right: Hon. John Horgan, Premier of British Columbia, Canada; James Hursthouse, Executive Director, DigiBC; Chang-hee Oh, President, Gyeonggi Content Agency; Kyung-pil Nam, Governor of Gyeonggi Province, Republic of Korea



    I would like to let everyone know that as of today, I am stepping down from my role as Executive Director of DigiBC. It has been an enjoyable and rewarding 18 months since the board asked me to take on the role, and I am proud of what we have been able to achieve.

    The organization has reached the point where it requires a full-time ED with an exclusive focus on DigiBC, and with new business opportunities continuing to flourish for me, it's time to hand over the reins to someone who will drive the organization forward on a full-time basis. I am very pleased to announce that Brenda Bailey has joined DigiBC as our new, full-time Executive Director. You can read the full announcement here. Brenda brings a wealth of experience in both the digital media and non-profit sectors, and the board could not be happier to have her lead DigiBC into its next exciting chapters.

    I will be continuing with DigiBC as a board member, and look forward to working with the board and Brenda to build on the progress made in 2017. Finally, I would like to thank all our members for their ongoing support and participation, and encourage you, if you’re reading this and are not already members of Digi, or you have let your membership lapsed, to sign up or renew, and join us as we continue to grow this fabulous creative tech sector in the province.




    James Hursthouse


  • 06 Feb 2018 by DigiBC

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  • 03 Feb 2018 by DigiBC

    Hyper Hippo is an award-winning independent studio located in Kelowna, BC. It was co-founded in 2012 by Club Penguin founder Lance Priebe and Pascale Audette, a former employee of Disney Online Studios Canada. Since 2014, they have had over 50 releases to the web, mobile, Steam, and PlayStation platforms and their games have been played by millions of people worldwide. Two of these games recently scored big with AdVenture Communist featured as ‘Game of the Day’ in the Apple store on January 5/18, and AdVenture Capitalist beating out over 70 games to win the ‘Best Instant Game 2017’ for Facebook Instant Messenger.

    A key factor that sets this studio apart is their dedication to player support, and this is illustrated by their use of real-time customer service ratings shown on their website. They very much depend on feedback from their players to help them create better gaming experiences. With a current rating of ‘90% overall happiness', they are certainly doing something right!



  • 02 Feb 2018 by DigiBC

    ESAC Presents: “Beyond Entertainment: How Video Games Are Driving Innovation”


    The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development delivers remarks at ESAC’s Beyond Entertainment conference last October.


    The video game industry has not only revolutionized entertainment but is also playing a central role in the development and commercialization of innovative technology. On October 23, 2017, the Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC) held a 1-day conference and showcase in Ottawa to demonstrate how a fast-growing entertainment sector is now driving efficiency and revolutionizing sectors like healthcare, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality and graphics. Over 100 industry and government officials were in attendance and the conference included a keynote address by the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. Guests were able to experience cutting-edge innovation first-hand while presenters from leading tech companies provided a glimpse into the technology of tomorrow – all made possible from technologies first conceived for video games.

    Experts from Epic Games, Finger Food Studios, Ubisoft, Nvidia, Digital Dimension, EA, UOIT, Games Institute, Silverback Games, Jintronix, Amblyotech, Pelesys Learning Systems, and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre joined together to present and demonstrate the success of their products or practices.  

    ESAC also published an op-ed with further details on some of the innovations presented at the event. You can read it here: Your Next Car Might Just Be Designed By A Video Game


    ESAC Launches its 2017 Essential Facts Research about the Canadian Video Game Industry

    President & CEO Jayson Hilchie presenting the 2017 Essential Facts to the Vancouver industry last November.


    On November 1, 2017, the Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC) unveiled new research about the Canadian video game industry. Prepared for ESAC by Nordicity, the 2017 research highlights the economic status of the industry, including information pertaining to the industry’s GDP contribution, employment statistics, output, project resources, innovation data, revenue, and other related materials. 

    The Association launched its annual Essential Facts about the Canadian video game industry which features some of the key stats from the research and snapshots of the industry. Following the launch, ESAC launched a cross-country tour, stopping in Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto and Halifax to discuss the results of the study. President & CEO Jayson Hilchie presented an outline of the 2017 research to most of the industry’s top companies through the course of three months, with an extended overview at the Montreal International Games Summit (MIGS) in December 2017.

    With nearly 600 active video game companies in Canada generating 21,700 direct full-time jobs, the Canadian video game industry is contributing $3.7 billion to Canada’s GDP annually. Essential Facts 2017 is the principle vehicle to communicate key facts and economic research about Canada’s video game industry. It helps broaden the awareness of ESAC and its mandate and serves as a critical tool for advocacy and lobbying. Essential Facts is routinely cited by governments, in news articles, business networks, and other related industry research across the globe.

    To read ESAC’s 2017 Essential Facts & full industry research, please visit:


    For more information about the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, please contact:

    Jayson Hilchie

    President & CEO