Canada's largest game maker just keeps getting bigger. Ubisoft announced Monday afternoon plans to open a development studio in Toronto that would create 800 jobs over the next 10 years. The French-owned game developer and publisher already operates studios staffed by more than 2,300 people in Montreal, Quebec City, and Vancouver.
The Ontario expansion is result of a collaboration with the government of Ontario, which is investing $263 million in the company to help lure it to the province's capital, said Premier Dalton McGuinty, who spoke alongside Ubisoft representitives at a press conference. Ubisoft's net investment in the studio, which is slated to open later this year, will be over $500 million.
The Toronto office will be led by Yannis Mallat, who also runs Ubisoft Montreal. Mr. Mallat said at the conference that he plans to turn the new studio into a facility for the development of triple-A games in existing and new franchises. He also said that he plans to draw resources from the local pool of game development talent and strive to forge relationships with the city's bustling film industry.
The Ubisoft Toronto announcement follows the game software giant's statement earlier this year that it had acquired Action Pants, a 100-person studio in Vancouver.
Ubisoft's continued Canadian expansion comes at a time when the video game industry is struggling to maintain its remarkable rate of growth. Year over year sales of gaming hardware and software were down in the first quarter of 2009, the first time since research firm NPD began keeping statistics in 2002.