Namco Bandai opening video game studio in Vancouver's Centre for Digital Media

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A major Japanese video-game company is setting up shop in Vancouver.

Namco Bandai Studios Inc. has announced its new Vancouver studio will start up in June. It will be housed in the Centre for Digital Media at Great Northern Way Campus.

The subsidiary, Namco Bandai Studios Vancouver Inc., will develop social games, according to a B.C. government news release heralding the announcement.

"As we build our global development network, we are very honoured and excited to have found Canada as our partner," Hajime Nakatani, CEO of Namco Bandai Games Ltd., said in the release. "British Columbia has demonstrated a deep understanding of the digital media and game industries, especially in Vancouver, which has a long history as a pioneer in game development. This makes it a perfect choice for our first step forward in establishing our global network. I am confident that we will be able to achieve new and amazing feats in Canada, thanks to its great talent pool, leading edge academic and research institutions and pro-business federal and provincial governments."

B.C.'s Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training says it provided "significant assistance" to the company.

"The decision by NAMCO BANDAI to locate a new game studio in Vancouver to develop online social games for the North American market is a testament to the strength and innovation of the B.C. video game industry sector, its local development talent and its strong educational institutions," Howard Donaldson, president of the industry association DigiBC, said in the release. "NAMCO BANDAI is a leading Japanese video game company with a rich history of creating a number of blockbuster games with global appeal such as Tekken, Ridge Racer and Soul Calibur. I very much appreciate the B.C. government's efforts to attract such a highly recognized game company to locate in Vancouver and help enrich our creative ecosystem within the digital media community."

According to the government, B.C. is home to 85 game studios, which employ 5,000 full-time employees and have thousands more under contract.

Comments (8) Add New Comment
Joss
There's no indication this studio will create new jobs for Canadians. The government news release said the company "received significant government support" to set up a studio here. And Pat Bell says this will boost employment. Last time I checked with the BC government on a similar story in which the quote "boost employment" was used, two jobs were created. I sense if they had some numbers that would mean anything they would share them. Given all of the stories about companies hiring foreign workers, and the propensity of boosterims by the BC government, I have little enthusiasm for anything it reports.
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Eric
The BC government refuses to compete against Quebec and Ontario governments' film/media tax credits (BC's 17.5% versus Quebec's 37.5%).

Today Slant 6 laid off a few dozen game developers and last month United Front Games laid off a bunch of people. Layoffs and studio closures are becoming too common in BC and while more and more studios are setting up shop in Montreal and Toronto.

The BC government has no problem spending $11 million of taxpayers' money to have a Bollywood award show while the visual effects and game industries are hurting.
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A F
In a time when local game companies are going down in flames or fleeing the province like its a sinking ship. I'll take any win I can.
Namco Bandai are legendary in this industry, having them come park their RV on our front lawn looks like a big win from where I'm sitting.
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RUK
@Joss

Are you kidding me? You think that Namco would come to Canada to acquire, level, clear, build, staff, and operate a facility without hiring *any* Canadians?

What a logistical feat!
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EA
they are setting up a studio right inside the school... seems to me they want to use a lot of unpaid student workers.
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Joss
Apropos of EA's comment, unpaid internships have been reported at Hootsuite, a highly profitable company. I wonder how prevalent these are?
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Joss
@Ruk, truthfully I am skeptical. Given what we are learning about the foreign worker program, it may be that some or all of the 30 people working in the Vancouver studio are not from Vancouver. There is no indication from the provincial government or the Centre for Digital Media that these are local hires.

The Vancouver Sun on April 11 reported that "about 30%of new grads from the Centre for Digital Media find employment in the industry." This is an appalling statistic.

I hope you are right...truly I do. But I have reason to be skeptical.

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RUK
And you are right to post your skepticism. It is my hope that these anonymous mauderings do more than pass our time, that they are read and thought about by the various powers. And if the question you raise is a source of potential embarassment, well then I hope that Namco sees fit to do the honourable.
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