Norway-based Funcom, one of Europe’s leading video game companies, is set to open a new studio in Montréal devoted to massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) development and publishing, providing further confirmation of the video game industry’s strategic role in Québec’s largest city.
Headquartered in Oslo, Funcom will be transferring a number of staff members to Montréal, in addition to setting up a development team. Funcom Canada plans to hire 100-150 people over the next 18 months, including approximately 20 for the R&D team. The company’s Québec workforce will generate a total annual payroll of $6‑7 million. Studio set-up and start-up costs will also represent a significant investment.
“Montréal has become Canada’s video game production centre, with nearly 6,000 employees and one of the worldwide industry’s highest growth rates. The steps taken by our government to establish sector-specific training programs demonstrate our commitment to qualified workforce training and to supporting the industry’s phenomenal growth,” said Clément Gignac, Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade, at the official announcement.
Investissement Québec (IQ) approached Funcom three years ago with a view to promoting Québec’s business advantages. A number of factors convinced the company to establish a studio in Montréal, in particular the Government of Québec’s partnership role in workforce training. Industry specialists are also impressed by local companies’ ability to work in multiple languages, as well as by their close ties with Hollywood studios (over 50 video games have been produced in the past two years) and Québec’s unique program of tax benefits, such as the credit for multimedia productions.
“We are very pleased to welcome Funcom to Québec. Above all else, it is our talented and imaginative creative community that has transformed Québec and Montréal into an artistic, technological and new media hub. Thanks to our skilled workforce, competitive operating costs and government support, we have become a leading force, attracting major global players such as Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, A2M, Eidos, Activision (Beenox) and Airborne Mobile,” said Mr. Gignac.
Funcom employs 320 people at facilities in Norway, China, Switzerland and the US. Recognized as one of the top MMOG developers and publishers, the company has received critical praise for its Age of Conan and Anarchy Online video games.
Ministère du Développement économique, de l'Innovation et de l'Exportation Investissement Québec