Ottawa’s Snowed In Studios plans to add second office at City Centre

snowedin
A group of Snowed In Studios employees in the company's current offices on Wellington Street. Studio head Jean-Sylvain Sormany in the top-left corner. Photo by Matt Horwood.

With plans to add a second office at City Centre Avenue, Snowed In Studios’ chief says 2020 will be a “big year” for the company.

Jean-Sylvain Sormany, head of Snowed In Studios, said the company will be moving its localization quality assurance team to 250 City Centre Ave. in mid-April, while their game development branch will remain at their current office on 981 Wellington St. W.

The Ottawa-based game development studio, which recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary, was acquired in 2018 by Keywords Studios in a $4-million deal. Sormany said the acquisition was a “huge help” for the studio, allowing it to access extra resources and new clients.

The acquisition also preceded an explosion in the number of employees at Snowed In. The studio swelled from just 25 employees at the end of 2016 to more than 85 employees at the end of 2019. Sormany said the studio will likely add another 35 employees by 2021. Hence, the need for a new office.

When Snowed In took over 8,000 square feet of space at 981 Wellington St. W. in 2018, it had plans to eventually expand to the floor beneath it. But the building quickly filled up with other businesses, forcing the studio to search for office space elsewhere. 

Sormany said City Centre Avenue was chosen because of its close proximity to Snowed In’s current location, being just a few minutes drive away, but also because of the studio’s fondness for the surrounding neighbourhood. 

The studio is currently working with an architect and design firm to customize the space to fit their needs. The 5,000 square-foot office will include a kitchen, locker room, several meeting rooms and a “large shared space,” allowing the company to run town halls and host industry events.

“The open space for the public will allow us to host more events and have a larger footprint in the region. We really want to open to the community and be closer to the universities,” Sormany said.

Natasha Dobson, office manager at Snowed In, said the studio is already “quite plugged into the game development community” so its new office space will be useful for networking with Ottawa’s tech sphere.

Sormany said he doesn’t anticipate a slowdown of growth, and expects the company to hit 300 employees by 2025. When that happens, the studio will likely reintegrate the two branches and move them into an even larger office space. But for now, a second location brings Snowed In closer to being “a beacon for the game development industry in Ottawa.”