Capital Gaming Expo: Canada’s much needed gaming conference

Capital Gaming Expo: Canada’s much needed gaming conference

In 2015 Canada was the third largest video game industry in terms of employment numbers following the USA and Japan. With 20,400 employees, 472 companies and a direct annual economic impact of nearly $3 billion added to Canada’s GDP in 2015. With powerhouses like Ubisoft, SquareEnix and Eidos setting up shop in Montreal, Canada’s influence on the global gaming industry has been significant, but just with all other things Canadian, it has shied away from stepping into the spotlight. Until now.

With the first Capital Gaming Expo (CGX), organizer Jillian Mood of Jillian Mood and Partners enthusiastically shoves the Canadian Gaming Industry onto the stage it deserves.

Taking place at the Nepean Sportscomplex in Ottawa last weekend, CGX2017 was a pleasant mix between PAX and GDC (Game Developers Conference). For those interesting in homegrown games, the 17,000 square foot venue showed off indie games like “Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes” and “Bendy & The Ink Machine“, hosted tournaments of Magic The Gathering and Super Smash Brothers and of course provided time to just sit down and play some games.

And the end of day 2, an estimated 4000 people attended the show floor, which is quite a remarkable number for a first time conference. For comparison, when PAX opened their doors for the first time they drew just over 3300 people to their event. With plenty of possibility to grow, CGX2017 was off to a great start which will hopefully inspire other Canadian Game Devs to take up a booth next year.

The real meat and potatos however (at least according to yours truly), was the developers’ conference on the other side of the center. Canadian Devs, both aspiring and established,  were treated to an impressive lineup of speakers and plenty of network opportunities. Ranging from Jason Vandenberghe talking about his pitching struggles for “For Honor” to the incredibly insightful presentation by Rebecca C Palacios (Ubisoft) on Embracing Narrative & Player Experience with UI, there was something for everyone.

Sharing lessons and best practices on a well organized platform like the Capital Gaming Expo will no doubt amplify the growth and success of the Canadian Game Development scene as the listeners in the audience this year, might grow to be speakers in the near future.

With the ambition and drive that the organizers have shown in year one, this event can only move forward. And, with the proper support from the industry, I can see this growing into THE gaming event in Canada.