By Vipal Monga 

Alphabet Inc.'s Google is planning to more than triple its Canadian workforce through 2022, as the technology giant bolsters hiring at its Stadia gaming studio as well as cloud computing and artificial intelligence projects.

Google currently employs 1,500 people in the country, and will expand offices in Montreal, Toronto and Waterloo, Ontario, the company said Thursday. The moves would increase Google's workforce in Canada to 5,000 people by 2022.

Canada has become a magnet for many tech companies looking to expand their operations. Google joins Microsoft Corp., Amazon.com Inc. and Intel Corp. in building out operations in major Canadian cities. They have been attracted by a deep pool of educated labor, more-liberal immigration policies than the U.S., and cultural similarities between the two countries. Developers and engineers in Canada also command lower salaries than those working in expensive high-tech centers like San Francisco and New York.

The Stadia gaming studio, headed by Montreal-based industry veteran Jade Raymond, will be adding software developers and engineers to help create new games and boost its presence in videogame streaming. Ms. Raymond previously ran studios at Electronic Arts Inc. and Ubisoft Entertainment SA.

Google said it plans to have as many as 800 new employees in Montreal by 2022. It employs roughly 200 in the city currently.

Google unveiled Stadia last year, introducing a way for people to play high-quality games online without a console. Like Microsoft and a handful of others, the tech company is trying to move into so-called cloud gaming, in which games are streamed over the internet rather than on a player's own hardware. With Stadia, players can stream games on Google Pixel phones and computers, as well as TVs using a Chrome browser and a Chromecast Ultra Device. The company said subscribers will be able to play games on more devices later this year.

The global videogame market generated an estimated $148.8 billion in revenue last year, according to research firm Newzoo BV. Google already has a significant presence in mobile gaming through its Google Play store for Android devices. Last year, the company launched a subscription service called Play Pass that gives access to games and other apps on the store for $4.99 a month. Apple Inc. offers a similar service for its App Store.

Google's employees in Waterloo will work on global initiatives such as bringing cloud-computing services to clients in health care, aiming to store data and develop software for hospitals. Toronto, where the number of employees could jump to 1,000 from 400 today, the main focus is on artificial intelligence, the company said. The program is headed by University of Toronto professor Geoffrey Hinton, a renowned computer scientist.

--Sarah E. Needleman contributed to this article.

Write to Vipal Monga at vipal.monga@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 06, 2020 13:46 ET (18:46 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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