Following many of the industry’s workers, the Canadian Videogame Awards are moving to Toronto from Vancouver next year for their fifth annual instalment.
Organizers of the event, to be held in April, are looking to capture a larger audience by moving to the country’s biggest city. Holding the CVAs in Toronto will allow them to attract more celebrities, media coverage and, they hope, fan attendance.
The move also reflects the shift of industry talent eastward. Vancouver has been hemorrhaging jobs, with game studios flocking instead to the better tax credits being offered by Ontario and Quebec. British Columbia has thus seen its total number of employees halved, to about 3,000 from 6,000.
“If it’s a truly Canadian awards show recognizing talent from across the country, we have to showcase it across Canada to represent those interests,” said Greg Spievak at a reception in Toronto on Thursday night.
While Toronto will be the awards’ home in 2014, the event could end up in other cities in the future. Quebec, in particular, now employs more than half of the industry’s 16,000-plus workers.
“Montreal is always a consideration given the amount of studios,” he added.
A venue has yet to be selected, but organizers are expecting around 750 attendees, to be comprised of fans, nominees and industry employees.
The awards, run by co-founders Greedy Productions, which also produces the Electric Playground and Reviews on the Run TV shows, highlight Canadian-made games from both big studios and independent creators.
This past year’s winners included blockbuster hits such as Far Cry 3 and Assassin’s Creed 3 from Ubisoft Montreal, to indie games such as Mark of the Ninja from Vancouver-based Klei Entertainment and Sound Shapes from Toronto-based Queasy Games.
The Canadian games industry is the third-biggest in the world, by employees, after the United States and Japan. It contributes $2.3-billion annually to the economy, according to the Entertainment Software Association of Canada.