Vancouver video game company tops charts with ‘The Office’
A Vancouver-based video game company has topped the Apple and Google download charts with a new mobile game based on the popular TV show Office.
And East Side Games general manager Josh Nilson, from a small community north of Prince George, hopes the game’s success will further bolster British Columbia’s reputation as a tech hub and attract more people. from all walks of life in the industry.
The company has previously developed games based on popular TV shows, including RuPaul’s Drag Race and Trailer park boysbut get the rights to the US version of Office was a major boost, he said.
Even though the program has not been aired for almost 10 years, it is still followed by many fans and regularly topped the streaming charts as people re-watch all nine seasons of the show.
The game, titled The Office: We Manage One Way or Anotherhas players working at the fictional workplace Dunder Mifflin, interacting with characters and reliving iconic moments from the series.
Like his previous games, Nilson wanted The Office: We Manage One Way or Another feeling like a continuation of fan-favorite TV shows.
“We like [the games] be a complement to [show’s] the universe we’re building on,” he said.
Developing games, a “blue collar job”
Ironically, Nilson said her story is one that proves you don’t have to work in an office to be successful.
Growing up in Willow River, a small community north of Prince George, British Columbia, Nilson worked in the hospitality industry for 20 years before moving into game development.
And although he’s now based in Vancouver, Nilson says the pandemic has made the tech industry even more decentralized, allowing people to work from anywhere.
“They don’t have to move to Vancouver or Victoria to work in a game studio,” he said. “You can work from home.”
Video games, in particular, are a growing industry. According to the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, 8,700 full-time equivalent jobs in the games industry were created in British Columbia between 2019 and 2021an increase of 19 percent.
And last fall, British Columbia Economic Recovery Minister Ravi Kahlon said the provincial government was focused on creating more opportunities in the sector for underrepresented groupsincluding Aboriginal people, women, immigrants and people with disabilities.
It’s something Nilson wants to be a part of: As a Métis man from rural British Columbia, he wants to prove that people from all walks of life can work in the gaming and tech industries.
“You may not think you can work in tech, but tech is for everyone,” he said.
“I think tech is the next blue-collar job.”