The government of Quebec announced this week that it has awarded WB Games Montreal $63 million in grant money and incentives, according to a report from GI.biz. In return, WB Games will increase its studio size by 100 employees over the next five years.
The first sum of $1.5 million will be used in the initial hiring push, as well as updating equipment as part of its expansion. WB Games Montreal is a new studio founded in 2010 that is best known for the unreleased Batman: Arkham Origins. This deal, along with the continued support of parent company Warner Bros. and Time Warner, confirms that it is poised to become a major development studio for years to come. Within the next five years, the studio is expected to employ over 500 people, and in the words of WB Interactive President Martin Tremblay, be “one of the best-known studios in the world.”
The government of Quebec is among the most video-game-friendly in the world, and has continued to actively strive to make the province and the city of Montreal into one of the premier gaming hubs in the world. A similar grant of $400 million was recently announced for Ubisoft, whose Montreal studio is currently putting the finishing touches on Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, and more grants and incentives could be coming.
The province also offers tax credits to video game employers, a move it first began in 1997, which has helped Ubisoft expand its studio in the area. Quebec currently accounts for half of Canada’s registered video game developers with over 16,500 as of 2011. In Montreal alone, nearly 7,500 people work in the gaming industry, and more than a third of those are employed by Ubisoft alone.
In the U.S., more and more state and local governments are looking to the gaming industry to help create new jobs in the region, but the results have been mixed. Rhode Island, for instance, is still dealing with the fallout of its loan to Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios, which is now being investigated by the SEC.