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July 30, 2010

Bit Trap Studios Steps Up its Game with Provincial Government Support

Another video game company has set up shop in Newfoundland and Labrador. Bit Trap Studios, a start-up developer of online games, is establishing a studio in the province and developing a new product with the assistance of $300,000 from the Provincial Government.

"Our government’s investment will assist Bit Trap Studios Canada with the early-stage development of its online game product," said the Honourable Ross Wiseman, Minister of Business. "Video game development is an exciting, high-growth global industry, with young, creative and entrepreneurial minds leading the charge. Building this sector in Newfoundland and Labrador will add to our tremendous talent base and generate new business, skills, and employment in the province."

Bit Trap Studios, based in Alabama, is carrying out a project to build and host multi-player online role-playing games, in which the local operation, Bit Trap Studios Canada, has a central role. The company is developing its game and online portal over a three- to four-year period, after which the product will launch commercially.

"Newfoundland and Labrador has an attractive business environment and a labour pool with the right skills for Bit Trap Studios," said Matthew Newhook, President of Bit Trap Studios Canada. "We are pleased to have access to the Provincial Government’s flexible programs and to have them as a valued partner to support our efforts. That assistance is welcomed, as we look to grow our company’s presence here."

Bit Trap will invest an estimated $1.6 million in Newfoundland and Labrador toward this project. The Provincial Government’s $300,000 is aimed at assisting the company in the development phase. The contribution, made via the Business Attraction Fund, is a loan provided in the form of payroll rebates, which is forgivable based on job targets being met. Within the next four years, Bit Trap intends to employ a minimum of 18 people at its local office.

"Our province is an ideal match for the video game industry," said Minister Wiseman. "From music and the arts, to technology, Newfoundland and Labrador’s reputation as a hotbed of creativity is widely recognized, and this is a valuable asset as we capitalize on new opportunities in today’s knowledge economy."

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ latest Global Entertainment and Media Outlook, the worldwide video game market is projected to grow from US$52.5 billion in 2009 to US$86.8 billion in 2014, making it the second fastest-growing segment of the entertainment and media industry.

"I am delighted that funding will be provided to Bit Trap Studios," said the Honourable Shawn Skinner, MHA for St. John’s Centre. "This investment will provide exciting job prospects for individuals with the creative skills required by the industry."

The Business Attraction Fund was created to better enable the province to compete for inward investment and to facilitate companies in establishing or expanding operations in Newfoundland and Labrador.

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Media contacts:

Mark King
Director of Communications
Department of Business
709-729-7628, 699-3454

Matthew Newhook
Bit Trap Studios Canada

Linda Walsh
Constituency Assistant to Hon. Shawn Skinner, MHA, St. John’s Centre

2010 07 30                                                   10:55 a.m.


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