It’s a sign of growth in an industry when the government starts to take notice and make investments.
The government of Canada has made a $500,000 investment into Ubique Networks, an esports platform based in Nova Scotia. Esports is a term encompassing the competitive environment of video games and will grow to become a multibillion-dollar industry by 2021.
“The past few years have been years of high growth for us, with our platform being launched in and outside of Canada,” said ijai Karthigesu, founder and CEO of Ubique Networks. “Our growth will continue to be intense as we launch our technology in more countries for more users.”
The money is conditionally repayable and comes from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s Business Development Program. It will help Ubique Networks create 10 new roles to help with further commercializing the platform, upgrade data centres, and buy equipment needed to expand into and serve new markets. Right now the company has 14 staff, so this investment would almost double the total number of workers.
Ubique Networks has created the Swarmio platform which lets gamers experience a lagless environment when playing or competing with one another. In this sense, lag means the delay between putting an input onto a controller or computer and the time it takes to see that action happen in real-time within the game. If a normal player experiences a lot of lag, it can be extremely annoying—if a professional player experiences lag, it might lead to missed opportunities at thousands if not millions of dollars in prize money.
The Swarmio platform also offers tournament management systems and parental controls to help build an infrastructure around esports. Swarmio esports TV delivers live commentating and on-demand esports programs.
“Ubique Networks is changing the way we think and instantly connects with people all over the world,” said Mark Eyking, MP for Sydney-Victoria, where Ubique is located. “In order to continue to drive our economy forward, we need innovative companies like Ubique that are creating skilled jobs in our communities and are able to move beyond our borders to showcase Cape Breton’s growing capacity for technology.”
In the past, Ubique has sponsored tournaments with prize pools above $10,000 and helped organize competitions in underserved Canadian markets. The company also took home an Export Achievement Award from their city’s chamber of commerce.
Esports is big business around the globe with companies like Blizzard charging a reported $60 million to new teams trying to enter their Overwatch League—months after charging the original entrants $20 million. Canada is getting in on the action as well, with the largest esports tournament in the world taking place in Vancouver this summer and Canadian players like Sasha Hostyn winning major competitions.