Edmonton Direct to highlight gaming industry this weekend

Edmonton Direct to highlight gaming industry this weekend

· The Pulse

A two-day virtual celebration of all things gaming is on in Edmonton this weekend, with the aim to grow game development and culture.

The Edmonton Screen Industries Office (ESIO) and the Alberta Esports Association (AESA) have teamed up to produce Edmonton Direct on May 15-16. It will offer more than 20 tournaments where people can participate and win prizes, plus it features speakers like Trent Oster of Beamdog, and Mayor Don Iveson.

Victor Ly, president and co-founder of AESA, said the goal of Edmonton Direct is to "unify and bring visibility to the (industry), highlight talent, and focus on the games and communities here."

The global gaming market reached a value of US$167.9 billion in 2020, but according to Ly, the Alberta landscape is still "nascent and emerging." AESA is currently exploring opportunities to develop a provincial esports strategy to offer more opportunities for growth in Edmonton.

It seems like the appetite is there — a recent study by the Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC) found that Canadians are increasing their levels of video game play to stay connected during the pandemic.

"Physically apart but socially connected — for me it really is what's keeping me sane. It always has been," said Ly.

Photo credit: Alberta Esports Association