Electronic Arts creates 300 jobs in Galway

EA Sports presents FIFA 13 during the EA media briefing at the E3 2012 in Los Angeles
Image caption EA's FIFA football series is one of its best known games

Games company Electronic Arts is creating 300 new jobs at its European customer service centre in Galway, in the Republic of Ireland.

The centre already has a 400-strong workforce.

The US firm said the new support jobs partly reflected the switch to buying games online rather than boxed games bought on the High Street.

It has had help from the Irish government, which wants to attract more games firms and jobs to the country.

Irish premier Enda Kenny said the new jobs showed the "enormous potential" of the industry.

"This decision is a real endorsement of Ireland's ability to meet the needs of leading multinational companies in the digital media space," he said.

Online retailer Amazon announced 100 news jobs at its Dublin development centre in May, and the body representing technology firms in Ireland said some 4,000 new posts had been created in the sector in the first half of the year.

Peter Moore, chief operating officer of Electronic Arts, said it had been attracted by the level of local talent, and praised local universities for offering computer science and digital arts degrees. Although the jobs being created are helpline roles rather than code-writing and design.

"More progressive universities recognise that this is an industry of the future," Mr Moore told BBC News, adding that he expected the firm to expand its presence in the country.

Changing times

Electronic Arts, which publishes the Fifa soccer and Star Wars games, said it had made a record $1.3bn in revenue from digital products in the year to July - a third of the total - reflecting the shift from packaged games.

It has been a difficult time for games retailers such as Game Group, which went into administration earlier this year, with the loss of more than 2,000 jobs.

Peter Moore said the industry was changing, adding that some of the Game stores were reopening under new ownership.

The creation of the 300 new customer service jobs showed the industry was moving away from sales of boxed games and "evolving quickly to digital", he said.

"More and more we are dealing direct with consumers."

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