Gaming Industry Profile: Windsor-Essex iDream Interactive

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Gaming Industry Profile Windsor-Essex iDream Interactive
Jacob Duhaime, Founder and CEO, iDream Interactive
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iDream Interactive’s goal: become one of Canada’s largest online game developers

Jacob Duhaime of iDream Interactive turned his passion for computer games into the largest online game developer in Windsor and Essex County.

Since launching iDream Interactive Inc., in 2006 from his basement, Duhaime has seen his company double to 12 full- time employees over the last eight months with plans to add two more “as soon as possible.”

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A pioneer of social app development, Duhaime has led the creation and
release of several Facebook and mobile applications that have reached a combined total of more than five million users.

“We’re creating a new industry in Windsor,” said Duhaime, 36. “There are a lot of people here who are passionate about gaming.”

His goal: to become one of the largest online game developers in Canada, rivaling veteran players, such as Big Blue Bubble and Digital Extremes.

Duhaime started the company by creating interactive educational video games for Ontario’s Ministry of Education through an arrangement with the University of Windsor, where he studied computer science.

“From there, we moved to a Facebook platform for our games and decided to focus more on the social media side of the business,” said Duhaime, who also took computer animation at St. Clair College.

Growth in Gaming

His first commercial product, Monster Farm caught the attention of Facebook gaming giant Zynga, which offered to buy his company.

“They flew me out there; I thought ‘this was crazy,’” recalled Duhaime.“They were surprised we made a game, and had expected a larger studio.”

Convinced he was on the right path, Duhaime turned down the San Francisco firm’s offer.

iDream has been prolific, publishing games, including, Slot Universe, which drew three million players.“At its peak we had 120,000 daily active users,” he said. “It took the company in a different direction where we finally had the resources to focus solely on publishing our own games.”

Growing sales and staff prompted Duhaime to move iDream from its downtown location into a new 3,000-square foot design studio in a building purchased by The Accelerator, which offers co-working spaces and programs for start-ups.

“The bonus is The Accelerator just moved downstairs,” he said.“It aligns with what we’re going to do, plus there’s talent down there. They’ve got services like graphic design. So, if I need help I could just walk down there.”

While Duhaime credited his staff with iDream’s success, he pointed to the benefits of entrepreneurship in Windsor and Essex County.

Windsor-Essex has always been a good investment,” he said. “We have all the right tools to succeed. We’ve got the university, the border and an affordable lifestyle. There’s a lot of good vibrations.”

If you require more information about this story or the Windsor-Essex Region, please connect with one of the business professionals at Windsor-Essex Economic Development Department who will assist you with location and investment decisions – please email info@choosewindsoressex.com or visit Choose Windsor Essex