More than 200 new jobs are to be created by top US online gaming company ZeniMax which announced yesterday that Galway has been selected as the location for its European customer support centre.
ZeniMax Online Studios, headquartered in Hunt Valley, Maryland, made the announcement along with the Minister for Enterprise, Jobs, and Innovation, Richard Bruton. The customer service centre, which will provide customer support for players of the company’s online multiplayer role playing games, is expected to result in the creation of hundreds of jobs over the next several years.
IDA spokesperson, Thomas McEvoy, told the Advertiser that ZeniMax Online Studios is currently looking at a number of properties in the Galway area and is expected to finalise a premises in a matter of weeks. He added that the recruitment process will begin immediately and the first round of employees could be in place at the premises by July this year. “In phase one, 200 plus jobs will be created, but this is expected to grow depending on the market acceptance of their products in Europe. This is a rapidly growing business sector, if products take off, the number of jobs can increase rapidly over the next few years,” said Mr McEvoy.
Under the leadership of industry veteran Matt Firor, ZeniMax Online Studios, was founded to create online role playing games. Driving the growth of the Galway operations will be director of customer support, Rich Barham, who was a major contributor to the management of in-game support needs, customer care, and retention of World of Warcraft and was a key team member setting up customer service centres in North America and Europe.
Speaking at the announcement, Mr Firor, president of ZeniMax Online Studios said: “Today’s announcement marks an important step for us. We are excited to be building an experienced team, led by Rich, which will focus on providing superior customer support for our games. Galway has world-class educational facilities, is a beautiful place to work and live, and offers a wide variety of benefits for our employees. Our ability to provide superior customer service for our future products is firmly on track.”
Minister Bruton acknowledged the work by IDA Ireland which he says won this investment for Galway in the face of “stiff competition from other European locations. He said: “It demonstrates yet again to the global investment community that Ireland continues to attract high-quality foreign direct investment.”
Already home to The BioWare Ireland (EA Games ) studio customer support centre, Galway has continued to prove its ability to attract the best international gaming companies, according to IDA regional manager for the west, Jim Murren. “This announcement means that Galway is now a centre for games companies. There are over 20 games companies in Ireland with 1,800 people employed. These are based in areas such as Dublin, Cork, and the next area seen as very important is Galway. All the companies look to Galway as they believe their people can fit in perfectly with the environment and the culture here.
This is very positive news, it says something for Ireland,” said Mr Murren who added that ZeniMax’s announcement is further proof that the retention of access and infrastructure, such as Galway Airport at Carnmore, and further development is critical.
NUI Galway president, Dr James J Browne, said that he looked forward to “welcoming the company to Galway and to developing a supportive relationship between NUI Galway and this leading industry player”.
Dr Browne described the announcement as “a very positive development for Galway and the west” and said it highlights the region’s attractiveness to such creative and knowledge intensive companies.
ZeniMax Online Studios, part of the ZeniMax Media inc family of companies, is a premier developer and worldwide publisher of interactive entertainment software currently working on unannounced MMOG titles from its headquarters in Hunt Valley.