Columnist Attacks Ubisoft Toronto Deal

The recent news that the government of Ontario would fork over $263 million to Ubisoft for a new studio in Toronto remains controversial. In today’s Globe & Mail columnist Marcus Gee is beside himself over the decision:

With a budget deficit of $18.5-billion, your provincial government is strapped – but not so strapped that it can’t find a quarter of a billion in the pocket lint to pay some Frenchmen to set up a new video-game studio…

 

Ubisoft executives say they are in love with Toronto… But game developers are a footloose bunch, jumping from place to place in search of talent and government handouts… Who is to say they won’t jump across the pond when the [U.K.] tax picture changes. Or when currency-exchange rates make Canada less desirable…

 

That quarter-billion has to come from somewhere, much of it from good Toronto businesses that don’t have the buzz factor… Their tax burden will rise, and their business will suffer, while the cool kids in the video-game industry collect government cheques.

Meanwhile, David Olive at The Star seems cautiously optimistic about the Ubisoft deal:

Corporate welfare is tough to justify at the best of times… Could there be better uses of public money than developing the next generation of Assassin’s Creed… And at a cost of $329,000 for each of the up to 800 workers to be employed by the new Ubisoft Toronto?

On balance, the investment is probably wise…

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