Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
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Growing the Video Game Industry in Atlantic Canada

Deirdre Ayre, Studio Head and sister of CEO Andrew Ayre, works on a new interactive game based on the Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial bird – the puffin
Andrew Ayre, CEO of Other Ocean Interactive, left his Newfoundland home two decades ago and ended up in the Bay Area of California, blazing a trail in the emerging video game industry. Although he still lives there, he took a piece of his heart from San Francisco and brought it back to Atlantic Canada, establishing a world class video game development studio “back home”.

“We know the determination and drive of the people here and we are delighted to be bringing our industry experience home to create well-paying, long-term jobs,” said Ayre.

First in Charlottetown, PEI, and now with a second office in St. John’s, NL, Other Ocean Interactive has recruited a dynamic team of professionals, putting their technical prowess to work in one of the most competitive and fastest-growing segments of the global entertainment industry.

“We’ve not just opened a business in Atlantic Canada, we’re building an industry,” said Studio Head Deirdre Ayre, who helped to co-create Other Ocean Interactive with her brother, Andrew. “I am proud to say we have created 75 jobs in the Atlantic region so far and that number is still growing.”

They may be a small team, but don’t underestimate this company’s potential. Other Ocean is best known for the development of Konami’s award-winning Xbox LIVE™ Arcade download, Castlevania™: Symphony of the Night™, Midway’s Nintendo DS release of the popular franchise Ultimate™ Mortal Kombat®, Dark Void Zero (DSiWare) an 8-bit prequel to the upcoming Capcom AAA title Dark Void, and the highly popular Sega’s Super Monkey Ball™ as well as Super Monkey Ball™2  for the Apple iPhone.

Being away from the hub of the industry poses many challenges for the small company but, with the help of ACOA investments, they are tackling these challenges head on.

“Atlantic Canada’s educational institutions are generally responding well to the needs of the industry. Holland College, University of Prince Edward Island, NBCC Miramichi and the Centre for Arts and Technology in New Brunswick, in particular, are producing some strong graduates,” Deirdre mentioned. “The partnership between industry, ACOA, and these institutions tends to be strong and is a great foundation to help build a future for video game development in Atlantic Canada.”

Other Ocean has received $600,000 in assistance to date from ACOA’s Business Development Program and Productivity and Business Skills Program of the Atlantic Investment Partnership, which has enabled the company to recruit internationally and relocate skilled workers.

Who ever said playing video games wouldn’t pay off.

Published in 2010