EA, Activision invest in Canadian game development

Top publisher makes $902,000 grant to Vancouver digital media graduate program; archrival tripling its Quebec City studio's staff.

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The games industry is alive, well, and apparently thriving above the United States' northern border. This week, two of the world's biggest third-party publishers announced they will be investing millions in training and employing game developers in Canada.

First came Activision's announcement that it will be tripling the size of its Beenox studio. The California-based publisher is aiming to add 200 developers to the Quebec City shop by 2009, and it will focus on making games for "next-generation consoles" based on "Activision's largest licensed properties including movie-based games and super hero titles," according to the company. Beenox will also be the site of a new quality-assurance center starting this summer.

Meanwhile, over on Canada's West Coast, Activision's archnemesis is spending some major coin of its own to foster higher game education. Today, the megapublisher Electronic Arts announced it is making a CAN$1 million (around $902,200) grant to the Masters of Digital Media program (MDM) at the Great Northern Way Campus. The school is located in Vancouver, British Columbia, which is also the headquarters of EA Canada, the studio behind the NBA Street and SSX series, among many others.

The contribution is part of EA's "global educational and talent development effort" and is intended to foster local talent in Vancouver. The MDM program is a joint effort between four major graduate schools in the city: The University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, the British Columbia Institute of Technology, and the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design.

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