'Ready to explode': Alberta video game developer wants tax break for high-tech industry

'Ready to explode': Alberta video game developer wants tax break for high-tech industry

A high-profile Edmonton-based video game developer is calling for the provincial government to provide a tax credit to keep high-tech developers in Alberta.

"I see a lot of those little start ups happening. A lot of those things trying to get started. There's so much talent in this province," said Aaryn Flynn, general manager of BioWare, on Wednesday.

Flynn worries that without incentives to create more digital media jobs in the province, young developers will move to other provinces.

"There are so many people who are coming out with great education and passions to build these products and then they find themselves going to British Columbia, maybe going to Ontario or Quebec.

"Nothing would make me happier than to capture those folks and keep them here."

Ontario, B.C., and Quebec all offer a digital-media tax credit that covers a percentage of labour and wages. 

Ontario offers a 35-per-cent tax exemption. Quebec offers 37.5 per cent, while British Columbia offers a 17.5-per-cent exemption.

Alberta has no digital-media tax credit.

"The two big things are: a very broad-based tax-credit program which supports investment industry and supports growth for job creation; secondly, once that's there there's very holistic educational and post secondary programs to support that create young developers and encourage and nurture young developers who come out and are able to find jobs."

On Wednesday afternoon, the culture and tourism ministry issued an email response.

"The government recognizes that the digital media and gaming sectors have tremendous potential for growth in our province.  

"We are developing two new pilot grant programs related to post-production and interactive digital media, that we look forward to sharing details on later this spring."

BioWare has released 15 games since it was founded 22 years ago. It's owned by Electronic Arts, a global software development company.

Their latest game, Mass Effect: Andromeda, will be released on March 21. It's the fourth of the series and comes four years after the previous game was released.