Does NB need a GamePlan?

Prince Edward Island’s GamePlan, an economic development strategy targeted at the island’s gaming industry, is helping local game developers score big in the province. Launched by the PEI government, GamePlan offers a combination of tax and labour credits for businesses and ties with local schools. The program has slowly but surely made headway in developing the computer game industry of the Maritime Province. GamePlan might also stem the tide of young talent migrating away from the island, according to local business owners. At a time when Canada’s digital media industry is strapped for funds, PEI’s gaming sector is growing.

I thought the timing might be right to have this discussion……

9 thoughts on “Does NB need a GamePlan?

  1. Hopefully when a plan is made, they learn the difference between contractors and product developers. Let’s look at 2 relatively recent failures:

    1. FatKat – They were given a lot of money, but when the contracts ran out, all economic activity stopped and the government lost their investment.
    2. Mathis Instruments – They had a great product but couldn’t sell it. They go under, but their product is bought by C-Vision who continues development of it and is actually able to sell it. Sure, the government lost money, but C-Therm (as it’s now called) still has an office in Fredericton that employs people.

    All we’ve been hearing about is how great it is that Company X is coming in and creating 200 jobs after getting lured in by the government. They get a lot of buzz because they’re fast numbers, those 200 jobs come fairly quickly and look good politically. Product development jobs come more slowly and therefore don’t look good for the politicians.

  2. There’s no question, it pays to have not only a plan, but to have an industry[ies] focus. Let’s just say, the ED agencies in New Brunswick are well intended, but not much gets accomplished. Maybe they need to rework or modernize the way they do business. (i.e. Set out a new mandate.)

    Worker incentives for bureaucrats? Bonuses or finders fees to those whose leads develop into a business deal and/or transaction? I think Donald Savoie spoke to that a year or two ago in the TJ, no?

  3. Scott is correct that NB ED efforts need a review. Would we be better off with a compact tiger team of high end ED professionals rather than the fragmented, overlapping efforts of the hundreds (probably approaching 1000 now) of ED staff employed at ACOA, BNB, 15 enterprises, etc. The most common complaints from these groups is no budget to work with followed by no sense of urgency or slow decision making. Consolidating and clarifying the mandate would help on both fronts.

  4. Again, Fatkat got VERY little in funding. In their first year, they got a measly $15,000. I think the Covered Bridge Potato chip company already got more than FatKat got in most of their career. And I’m not sure, but I think most of that was in ‘loan’, meaning that they can’t simply write off the investment-unlike some other companies we could name.

    But this simply goes back to the entertainment industry. Nova Scotia launches a development plan, including tax credits, and partnerships with schools. New Brunswick says its ‘working on it’ and then we never hear anything again. This falls into the same category-why TALK about what they MAY do when there is no evidence that they are going to do ANYTHING? Who here answered the (perhaps rhetorical) question with “no, absolutley no plans!”. Of COURSE they need public policy to develop an industry, but let’s all start holding our breath.

  5. Covered Bridge Potato chip company ,Remember that name for future reference. In fact start the obituary anytime.

  6. Perhaps the government did a reasonable job here. Fatcat got a million dollars and created 100 jobs for at least a short time.

    Compare that to the yarn factory who got $80 million dollars and created something like 400 jobs. Or the Caisse in Shippegan who got $60 million and created a couple sales jobs at the snowmobile shop.

    The taxpayers did okay on this one.

  7. Nova Scotia looks like they have indeed recently launched a gaming strategy. Looks like there are generous tax credits and a solid approach toward partnerships with schools and companies already in the province. If any Atlantic Canadian city has a chance to succeed in gaming it is Halifax as Nova Scotia has many of the schools in the region. Anyone know if Newfoundland is doing anything?

  8. On the discussion of a “Game Plan” for N.B. no one has mentioned factoring the social costs of VLT’s or online gambling to the province. If you consider suicides, broken marriages, physical abuse, the cost of lost wages and under nourished children the glow from this ill gotten blood money quickly diminishes.

  9. Pat….wrong type of gaming. Did you read the thread at all? David is not tlaking about VLT’s. This is totally different.

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