US economic turmoil hits Canadian studios

US economic turmoil hits Canadian studios
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

November 8th 2011 at 5:53PM

Instability has had a huge impact on outsourcing for our US customers, says Di-o-matic

Economic turmoil in the US has caused problems for the industry in Canada, studio heads in the region have revealed.

In Develop’s latest Canada region focus, studio heads said they had experienced or seen decreases in staff, contracts and a slowdown in content being released due to the fluctuation of the US dollar exchange rate.

“As our neighbour is the US; the exchange rate fluctuation of the past few years has had a huge impact on outsourcing for US customers,” said Laurent Abecassis, president of character animation outfit Di-o-matic.

“As a result we have seen less contracts coming from there than before.”

Quebec City-based Frima Studios’ CEO Steve Couture agreed: “The company works mainly with US clients and the US dollar devaluation has had some impact.”

Chris Thiffault, CTO at independent developer SnowedIn, also said that the US has proven to be a problem for the success of Canada-based studios.

“Outsourced projects are often either cut or moved to an internal team which has had its internal project recently cut," he said.

His colleague at the studio, Matt Tanner, added: “Because many major publishers are based in the US, there’s been a slowdown of content being released, which in the end trickles down to studios like ours.

"On the other hand, Indies have really been able to flourish – since for them, its about releasing quality creative content.”

To read more about the challenges the industry in Canada faces from the global economic crisis and the changing landscape of the sector, check out the full region focus here.