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EA Going Down To Georgia?

by Matt Bertz on Dec 21, 2009 at 09:17 AM

According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, the publishing giant is looking into opening a new studio in the Deep South.

The newspaper's source speculates that the center could employ up to 300 developers, testers, and customer support reps. Also, relocation of existing staff is possible in order to curb the high business costs the company incurs in California. Electronics Arts spokesman Jeff Brown confirmed the tentative plans, noting EA is exploring potential sites in Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana. Brown also noted that EA's interest in an Atlanta location isn't just coincidence considering the Georgia state legislature passed a bill last year that increases tax credits for qualifying computer games companies up to 30 percent. 

“The tax credit is definitely one of the things that attracted us to Georgia,” Brown said.

One of the keys to selecting a location will be a strong pipeline of students educated in game development. For instance, the Orlando-based studio EA Tiburon frequently draws new employees from the nearby Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy, and the EALA studio often hires people fresh out of the USC's Interactive Media Division. Both schools receive considerable financial and advisory support from Electronic Arts.

“If we can find an abundance of talent and a pipeline through a local university that gives us access to talent in both art and engineering, that’s where we start,” Brown said. “The rest of it is really a cost equation.”