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.

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0 Responses to Economic development can be simple, it really can

  1. Anonymous says:

    It IS easy, but notice they said ‘talented’. They aren’t just looking for schmucks who mess around in photoshop, anybody can do that. I doubt they are even talking about new graduates.

    The sad thing is that if stuff like this were taught in schools kids would eat it up. Instead, we still think playing video games is ‘bad’ or ‘a waste of time’, and certainly not something to be encouraged. But oh, how useful it is to learn Shakespeare and geography!

    Odd how no matter what kind of crap it is we encourage reading (even comic books are being recreated as ‘graphic novels’) yet the focus on video games is just the ultra violent ones.

    I’ll say it again, in Switzerland parents control the educational system. Administrators are elected officials and serve only a short time. In Canada its well established: get a teaching job, teach til your so damn sick of it you start taking PD courses, get an administrative job.

    How much easier would it to get kids interested in this stuff at an early age? Imagine instead of doing a book report on ‘imagery’ in some arcane 19th century novel, a student did it on imagery in X video game? Maybe things have changed (I doubt it) but ALL books were always forced on students by curriculae. What a *&^%ed up way to stifle imagination.

    Again, that may seen off topic, far from it. These problems are political and ALL solutions quickly run into that wall. Imagine if education were more decentralized, as it SHOULD be. Up in the acadian peninsula, people could get together and make changes that lead to educational innovation, that have kids experts in video game programming, storytelling, artwork, and marketing.

    But then there’s ‘the wall’. The massive political bureaucracy that keeps ‘people’, even parents, outside.

    And again, that brings us back to proportional representation where I guarantee educational POLICY and not just ‘education funding’ would come to the table.

    It’s fine to talk about how to build a ship, but first you need to find water.

  2. Anonymous says:

    One big problem in education is that people are stuck in a mold–they feel that their children should learn the basics as they did (not realizing that the basics have changed) if they are to get ahead.

    Academic students learn poetry, Shakespeare–heaven forbid they should learn to read an instruction manual and actually create or fix something.

    Academic students are told they MUST take ALL the sciences. OK for many, but not everyone is scientifically inclined, and let’s all be realistic here that NOBODY goes very far in sciences making marks in the 50’s and 60’s. I know a parent who insisted that her daughter (who was interested in taking Business Administration in university) take Physics over Information Processing.

    The number of required courses has increased greatly over the years in NB. Add further to that, if a student wishes to take French Immersion, they have almost no choices left for courses.

    Maybe, finally, it is starting to swing back to the fact that everyone is not created equal–people have different abilities, interests, and aptitudes. We need ALL those abilities; let’s make the best of them that we can.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Actually thats not true. There are very few required science courses, and more have been added. In my day it was chemistry, physics and biology. At my school they only had one teacher for each, and two were the most horrible teachers imaginable.

    I did horrible in sciences partly because of that. I’m currently learning stuff on my own and I don’t agree. EVERYBODY is ‘scientifically inclined’, because science is a ‘method’, not a subject. Curiosity, experimentation, learning is done all through life. And thats what science is, and its current restrictions are part of the problem. Find me a child who hasn’t been fascinated by the stars and I’ll pay you.

    The educational system is widely overdue for evaluating, in fact, as the above poster states, ‘creation’ is an integral part of education. Currently the system is designed to put massive restrictions on creativity, then we wonder why nobody is imaginative anymore. I would never put a child through the public education system The montessori system or home schooling are the preferred choices.

    But like everything else there are huge barriers to this. Government and unions essentially shut out the public. Parents should be commended for trying to round out a child’s education, in the long run physics will benefit somebody getting into computers a hell of a lot more than information processing (which is the next technological position being phased out)