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Understanding the Canadian Gaming Market

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Gaming in Canada is big business with the industry producing significant revenue for the national economy. At the end of 2019, figures showed that the gaming sector returned $3.6 billion dollars in gross income and those numbers represented a 15% increase from the preceding twelve months.

Gaming is a very resilient business and there’s every reason to expect further rises in 2020 and beyond. It’s grown at a steady pace and, while some still feel that it’s a pastime for the young, there are titles out there that are set up to suit all ages. Here are some more details relating to playing habits and the type of games being enjoyed by players right across Canada.

 

Growing Community

A report carried out in 2018 showed that 61% of Canadians considered themselves to be a ‘gamer’. Those numbers cover a big age range and naturally, there is a diverse set of tastes within that significant percentage.

The same report indicated that Canadians spoke on Twitter about their gaming habits and that allowed for extensive research into titles that stood out. In fact, Canada ranked as the eighth highest nation in terms of gaming content so what are locals enjoying?

 

Popular Choices

The ‘Twitterverse’ confirmed that some of the most popular titles stood out with Fortnite right at the top of the tree. Others that may well sound familiar to regular, or even casual gamers include League of Legends, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.

 

Those are popular global titles, but those figures might suggest that Canadians prefer a longer-form game that tells a story rather than a quick ‘shoot em up’ battle that contains little narrative. There are many titles that fall into this category so there’s certainly plenty of choice but whatever players’ preference might be, the gaming industry certainly has it covered.

Along with Star Wars, Canadians can play games that are linked to popular TV or movie titles. Sport is a big theme too with football, golf, soccer and tennis among the action and strategy games currently on the shelves.

 

Play to win

Canadians like to challenge themselves when it comes to games of strategy as we’ve seen. The thrill of competitive gaming and the chance to overcome friends and family is an obvious quest but many others like to aim for rewards that are more tangible.

 

The online gambling sector in Canada is heavily regulated but it does bring in revenue in excess of $30 billion each year. The figures include casino, sports betting, lottery and bingo so clearly, many Canadians like to include this as part of their overall approach to gaming.

With strict regulations applied by the government, not every global operator is involved in Canada but brands such as casino 888 recognise Canada’s love for online gambling and they have acted accordingly to help meet their customer needs.

Canada’s online gambling market holds a large market share of the gaming market within the country

 

Freedom and Flexibility

One of the reasons why gaming has continued its steady rise is the fact that the industry is developing all the time. New technology keeps being introduced to enhance the gameplay experience, so the sector is never complacent.

Handheld consoles were an obvious improvement that came along some years ago while the progression to ‘wands’ that replicate tennis rackets and golf clubs boosted the interest in sports-themed titles. The ability to play ‘on the go’ is a big driver in terms of new players and increased game time. Thanks to that developing technology, it’s never been easier to log in to a mobile phone, tap on an app and take a few plays of your favorite title.

All those introductions have helped to increase gaming revenue in Canada but where does the gaming industry go from here?

What’s Next?

Virtual Reality is often cited as the next ‘big thing’ in video gaming but the technology is already here. VR is being enjoyed by a growing number of gamers, but it hasn’t quite spread to the wider community. Issues with cost and the lack of flexibility that mobile phone gaming offer may be behind that trend, but it’s expected that VR will continue to grow in the years ahead.

Advancements in artificial intelligence could also come into greater effect. This is a factor already seen in the casino industry where suggested titles are offered up to players but it’s another area that’s been slower to take off.

An increase in payment options for in-play purchases could also aid the sector’s growth and those are expected to come in steadily in the next few years.

What is certain is that the gaming industry will continue to innovate, and that creativity is partly behind its success. Gaming brings in multiple billions of dollars to the Canadian economy, but those numbers should continue to rise in the future.

 

 

Published By Harry Miller

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Brown works out with Seahawks QB Wilson – TSN

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Free agent wide receiver Antonio Brown posted a video on Instagram of him working out with Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

Brown captioned the video, which shows him catching a deep pass from Wilson, “Who wants to see this on Sundays? That was fun!”

 The 31-year-old Brown could be suspended if he were to be signed by a team ahead of the 2020 season. The former star player has been involved in a number of legal issues stemming back from the 2019 season.

Brown played in just one game during the 2019 campaign after being released by the New England Patriots in September of 2019. The wide receiver signed with the Patriots that same month after he was cut by the Oakland Raiders, who acquired him in March of 2019 in a deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Brown, who spent nine of his 10 career seasons with the Steelers, has amassed 11,263 receiving yards and 75 touchdowns with 841 receptions over his career and has seven Pro Bowl nominations.

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MLS: 6 FC Dallas players have tested positive – TSN

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Major League Soccer says six FC Dallas players have tested positive for COVID-19.

Two of the players tested positive upon arrival Saturday at the league’s host hotel in Florida for the MLS is Back Tournament. The other four tested positive within the last two days.

All six were assessed and moved to the isolation area of the hotel where they continue to receive “remote care from a health-care provider,” the league said,

The rest of the FC Dallas delegation, following MLS health and safety protocols, are quarantining in their hotel rooms pending results of additional COVID-19 testing.

Dallas is due to open its tournament against the Vancouver Whitecaps on July 9 at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex in the Orlando area.

The league says no other members of the MLS delegation at the host hotel have tested positive, and no other club has been in contact with the FC Dallas party since it arrived in Florida.

League protocols include regular screening, testing, social distancing, person protective equipment and a mandatory quarantine for all individuals upon arrival at the hotel until they have a negative test.

It says so far 392 people have been tested with six positives.

The Whitecaps, Montreal Impact and Toronto FC have yet to arrive in Florida for the tournament, which runs July 8 to Aug. 11.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 29, 2020.

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Toronto, Edmonton to serve as NHL hubs – Winnipeg Free Press

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Lucky us, eh?

On a day we celebrated all that we love about the true north strong and free, it was fitting the National Hockey League decided the only way to hold the Stanley Cup playoffs this summer was to do so entirely here in the land of poutine, Beaver Tails and maple syrup.

COVID-19 is out of control in many American locales, including Las Vegas, which had been the runaway favourite to be chosen as a so-called hub city until the surging number of cases over the past week became impossible to ignore.

I don’t care how tight the so-called bubble for teams is going to be, choosing to bring people into a pandemic hot spot would have been reckless at best and, at worst, criminally negligent.

The NHL can be truly ridiculous at times — see last week’s draft lottery debacle as Exhibit A — but they’re definitely not that dense. And so we’re down to Edmonton and Toronto, which make a lot more sense than anywhere south of the border (Sin City, Los Angeles and Chicago were also on the short list, with the NHL initially wanting one hub in each country).

Both cities have checked off all the requisite boxes for both the league and its players. That includes getting the federal government to waive the mandatory 14-day quarantine for those coming from outside the country in a glaring example of how money talks and sports often calls the shots when it comes to policy and procedures that wouldn’t apply to the rest of us lowly citizens.

A note of caution: Vancouver was the hub city of choice until Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, wouldn’t kowtow to the league’s demands regarding contact tracing. Good on Henry for refusing to budge, and shame on the NHL for trying to change what made B.C. a prime location in the first place.

That fact alone should have everyone’s Spidey senses tingling about this whole process, which really boils down to the almighty dollar and stopping the financial bleeding.

All of this is the result of many long days, and nights, of negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA that spilled into Canada Day, which is always a marquee date on the hockey calendar reflecting the start of free agent frenzy, but took on an entirely different look this time around.

An announcement about a tentative agreement on all return-to-play protocols including training camp and the unprecedented 24-team tournament is imminent.

Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ont., home of the Toronto Maple Leafs. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joshua Clipperton

Expect some spirited debate, as many players are said to be less than thrilled at all of this. But the alternative is likely worse, which is why it should ultimately get approved once they vote, likely this weekend, and things can quickly ramp up.

Details on how this will play out have begun to emerge. Barring an unexpected, last-minute development, all Western Conference teams including the Winnipeg Jets will participate in empty-arena, made-for-TV games in Edmonton. All Eastern Conference teams will do the same in Toronto. There will be extensive health and safety protocols. Players will be allowed to opt out. Training camps should begin in all home markets by mid-July, with the puck dropping on play by the end of the month and continuing into early October.

Perhaps the most surprising development in all of this isn’t that they’ve found a way to play, which seemed inevitable from the start. No, it’s that a lengthy extension of the collective bargaining agreement is being wrapped in, including a new financial framework for players and owners and apparent Olympic inclusion in both 2022 (Beijing) and 2026 (Italy).

That’s a significant step given the ugly labour history this century, especially in the midst of such uncertain times. And great news for those pining to see a return of best against best on an international stage, which was sorely missing from the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea.

Kudos to the league and players for putting aside past differences and finding common ground and a path forward. The last thing a sports fan wants to stomach is yet another lockout where wealthy players and wealthier owners fight over money. Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt. Wouldn’t recommend. Zero stars.

So, yes, hockey is back. Almost. Kind of, even if the NHL of the immediate future will look nothing like the NHL of the recent past. Winnipeg vs. the Calgary Flames playing in August inside an empty Rogers Place in Edmonton, just like we all saw coming.

It’s still hard to fathom we’re at this stage, considering the global health crisis is much bigger than at the time sports paused in mid-March. Remember when one single NBA player, Rudy Gobert, got COVID-19 and that was enough to bring games across North America to a screeching halt?

Now we have 25 NHL players already testing positive during informal skates in June and most barely bat an eye. The one big difference, of course, is the bubble environment that will be created, in consultation with health experts, which the league believes can mitigate potential spread, including within the hub cities, which should at least get a modest economic boost by being hockey hosts for a couple months.

They better be right. To which I’d say good luck to all involved, as Edmonton and Toronto will be opening their doors to a great unknown. The last thing we want to see is the kind of inept bungling that has made our U.S. neighbours the epicentre of the pandemic. As much as I can’t wait to cover live hockey for you readers once again, it can’t come at the expense of public safety.

Oh Canada? Or woe, Canada? It remains to be seen.

 

mike.mcintyre@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @mikemcintyrewpg

Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre
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Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.

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