Nova Scotia’s Got Game!
Nova Scotia has a vibrant, creative and dynamic culture. There is also a thriving community of video game developers in Nova Scotia."
- Gwenael Heliou, Ubisoft
A Growing Cluster
Interactive digital media has exploded out of Nova Scotia’s creative community in recent years. One contributor is Nova Scotia's offering as one of the most cost-competitive jurisdictions for video game development in North America and Europe. There are also industry-leading digital media and animation tax credits creating significant cost savings for companies producing interactive games and animation.
As as result, Nova Scotia's famous technical and creative, post-secondary education institutions are offering specialized programs and developing a strong workforce in digital media. This sector expansion has resulted in globally recognized digital media in diverse fields such as:
- Console video games (Xbox One, and PS4)
- Mobile games (iOS & Android)
- VR & AR interactive experiences
- VR Cinematography
- Military simulations
- Animated movies and TV shows
Partnerships and associations
Nova Scotia's video game industry currently employs approximately 400 people in more than 20 studios, and the Nova Scotia Game Developers Association plays a major part in its growth. Not only do they advocate for video game development and foster collaboration within the industry, they also hire graduates from local universities and colleges, and work to promote high standards of relevant education.
Nova Scotia has the highest number of ICT related graduates in Canada per-capita from industry-recognized degrees related to digital media.
- Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD): NSCAD is one of Canada’s oldest independent cultural institutions, and remains a principal national centre of excellence dedicated to the visual arts.
- Dalhousie University: With a specialized degree in graphics, gaming, and media, Dalhousie University introduces students to the critical study of video games and gaming culture, with a particular emphasis on how video games combine interactive gameplay, worldmaking, and storytelling.
- Acadia University: Acadia University offers a BSc with a specialization in game development applying the latest techniques in artificial intelligence, computer graphics, and human computer interaction.
- Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC): NSCC designed a diploma to blend the creative disciplines of graphic design, video, photography, animation, type, and sound with the technical and problem-solving skills required for game development.
- daVinci College: daVinci College's animation program immerses students in a real production studio setting, to experience a hands-on education and instruction by industry professionals in 3D animation and visual effects.
According to KPMG’s Competitive Analysis (2016), Halifax, Nova Scotia ranks in the top 10 cities worldwide, among recognized video game clusters, for having the lowest operating costs.
Digital Media Tax Credit
Nova Scotia offers a digital media tax credit - making this the ideal place for video game development and interactive media.
Qualifying companies can claim the lesser of 50% of the qualifying expenditures or 25% of total expenditures. Qualifying expenditures could include:
- 100% of eligible salaries in Nova Scotia
- 65% of third party labour remuneration
- up to $100,000 in marketing and distribution expenditures
Digital Animation Tax Credit
The Digital Animation Tax Credit is a refundable tax credit for costs directly related to the development of digital animation in Nova Scotia.
This tax credit provides an incentive of up to 60% on labour associated with the project, including a labour bonus of 17.5% on animation-specific activities. The labour bonus is in addition to the base credit available.
Ubisoft's Mobile Game Hub
Ubisoft Halifax is a new member of the Mobile family, working with studios that have brought you award-winning titles like CSI: Hidden Crimes, Trials Frontier, and Hungry Shark.
Nova Scotia's strategic location between Europe and North America offers more than just physical infrastructure. It also boasts some of the world's best internet connections to both Europe and the eastern US, thanks to Hibernia Atlantic's network of sub-sea cables.