The acquisition hints at both future opportunities for Canadian developers and a growing mobile market in North America beyond the U.S.
Mobile game developer Jam City acquired Bingo Pop, a mobile bingo title popular among iOS and Android smartphone players alike. As Jam City is set to continue supporting Bingo Pop with its original developers, the company’s new Toronto office hints at future opportunities for the Canadian games industry.
"Bingo Pop fits perfectly into Jam City's portfolio of fast and fun premium mobile games," Josh Yguado, Co-Founder and President and COO of Jam City, told GameDaily. "In particular, we love the fact that it is a live, synchronous, multiplayer game. Bingo Pop melds the classic Bingo experience that everyone knows and loves with fast action, large jackpots and really unique social features."
The acquisition was announced earlier today and comes with praise from Jam City CEO Chris DeWolfe, who celebrated both Bingo Pop's "highly talented team" and Jam City's "rapid global expansion.”
“This acquisition provides Jam City with access to leading creative talent in one of the fastest growing and most exciting tech markets in the world,” DeWolfe said in a press release obtained by GameDaily.biz. “We look forward to working with the talented Jam City team in Toronto as we supercharge the live operations of Bingo Pop and develop innovative new titles and mobile entertainment experiences.”
As Jam City expands into Toronto, the press release also called Canada "a haven” for the best games industry employees "given its prestigious universities, universal healthcare, affordable housing, and diverse communities." With over 35,000 games students in Ontario, DeWolfe stressed that Toronto is the perfect base for bringing on more employees.
“Jam City is looking forward to tapping into the large pool of talent across the region and expanding our operations in such a vibrant and trend-setting city,” DeWolfe said in the press release.
"The diversity and vitality of the region make it a magnet for creative talent from around the world and has fueled Toronto's growing tech scene," Yguado elaborated to GameDaily. "Also, there are more than 35,000 students enrolled in digital gaming related programs across the Toronto and Ontario regions so the game development community has a deep pool of amazing talent. We’re really excited to be part of the community."
It’s no surprise that DeWolfe has high praise for Canada’s game development community. Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver remain particularly popular cities for game development studios among major publishers. Meanwhile, Canada is a powerful consumer market for gaming, making it both a developer and player hotspot. The nation sports over 21 million gamers that are set to spend $2.3 billion in 2018, making it the eighth largest games market in the world, according to Newzoo.
Among Canadians that use the internet, 48 percent of men play mobile games, as do 53 percent of women. Likewise, 66 percent of gamers that spend money on games do so on in-game items or virtual goods, suggesting a powerful gaming market happy to spend money on microtransactions.
That said, a series of layoffs have gripped the gaming industry in recent months, and Canada is no exception. During the fall, Vancouver was recently hit with studio closures between Bandai Namco Vancouver and Capcom Vancouver, whereas fellow British Columbia game developer Disney Canada shuttered its doors as well. While the Canadian games industry seems strong, it certainly isn’t immune to the outside world’s economic conditions.
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