Economic development can be simple, it really can

According to the article below Ubisoft is having a tough time recruiting video game developers in Montreal. I happen to know a few video game developers and while they are a unique breed, the skills they have can be taught. NBCC Miramichi has a two year program that graduates gamers with a pretty good base of skills from which to start a video game development career.

For the most part, these jobs are good paying and rewarding and an industry with a very strong growth potential.

So why doesn’t New Brunswick target this sector? It shouldn’t be that hard to get going. Just get the NBCC Miramichi program – and multiply its graduates by 10 times (maybe roll the program out in other campuses). Then set up a Chair in Innovative Video Game Techniques and Usability at UNB with a grant from EA or Ubisoft. Then set up a video game interface translation team at U de M partnering with LexiTech. Then get BNB to get out there and aggressively recruit video game development companies in the US, Canada, the UK and even India. Then seek out small but successful gaming firms in NB such as FatKat and support their growth (and that firm in Lunenburg – would they expand in NB?). Then, after you start stimulating demand for gamers in New Brunswick, run a national advertisment campaign promoting New Brunswick as THE SPOT for video game development in Canada and encourage expatriates to move back and people fed up with high cost, urban life to move to NB. You may want to steal a few immigrants from India that speak perfect English and have 10 years or more experience developing video games.

Presto. A new growth sector not based on wood or fish with unlimited growth potential.

Sounds easy, yes?

In reality, it’s not that easy but I think we need to sketch the possibilities and go from there.

Ubisoft recruitment campaign leaves everything to the imagination
Marketing Magazine

October 26

Video game developer Ubisoft is recruiting new game developers to its Montreal office with a campaign that includes an online test of applicants’ aptitude and imagination.

The centrepiece of the Too Much Imagination campaign is a web-based contest in which visitors complete a 28-question test designed to measure their creativity and knowledge of the game design industry. Along with their answers, applicants submit their resume to Ubisoft, which will then draw randomly from a pool of the most promising candidates to select three winners.
Prizes for winning include Ubisoft games, computer equipment and an offer to intern at Ubisoft Montreal.

“This industry is becoming bigger and bigger in Canada and it’s becoming harder to get access to talented people,” says Cedric Orvoine, director, external communications and public relations for Ubisoft. “We came up with something that was very creative and at the same time challenged game designers to measure up against our own experts.”

Orvoine says Ubisoft needs to hire 150 people and the contest is helping. “For the first month of our campaign the number of visits to our job site was 10 times greater than the month before, and we’ve had over 300 people complete the form and send it in with their resume.”
Orvoine says these numbers are especially significant given the challenging nature of the test.

“It’s not a mass-market test, it’s very difficult. You have to know the gaming industry.”
Ubisoft is supporting the online portion of their recruitment drive with magazine and transit ads–the latter running in Montreal and Vancouver–designed by Montreal-based agency Varial.

The France-based company, which employs 1,500 people in its Montreal studio and another 100 in Quebec City, is also using online tools such as MySpace to access potential applicants.
The campaign finishes Nov. 15, with winners to be announced in early December.