There was good news on the jobs front for Galway this week with American company BioWare’s announcement of another 200 jobs at its new customer service centre in Galway.
At the opening of its new facility in Parkmore West Industrial Estate by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, the global computer games company said it planned to add to its current workforce.
The Parkmore centre will provide 24 hour customer support for its new online game, Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ which is due to be released in North America on December 20, and in Europe on December 22,
BioWare had announced 200 jobs before Christmas, 100 of which have been filled, but it now plans to increase its workforce to 400 and is actively recruiting throughout Ireland.
The Canadian company, which is a division of American stock exchange listed Electronic Arts Inc, has several facilities, but the Galway plant is its first outside North America.
Dr Greg Zeschuk, Electronic Arts vice president and general manager of the BioWare MMO business unit, said Galway, with its third-level colleges and educated workforce, was a key component in choosing Galway for its new facility.
“It’s exciting to bring the Galway community into the BioWare family in support of this high-priority launch. This project would not have been possible without the strong support from the Irish Government and the strong local mix of technology infrastructure and recruitment opportunities.”
The jobs boost has been welcomed by local politicians, who sat it is an endorsement of Galway and its people.
“Ireland has become a major hub for international computer and internet companies,” said Galway West TD, Brian Walsh. “ EA Sports is another in a long line of top international companies from this sector to invest in Ireland. That they chose Galway as their home is massively encouraging. It is a clear signal that people in Galway and the region have the skills base and expertise for this vibrant digital media sector.
“It is an excellent endorsement as well as a significant economic boost for the city and the region. One hundred of the jobs are already in place, leaving a further 300 people to be recruited.”
Galway West TD Derek Nolan said it was clear BioWare chose Galway because it had the right mix of well educated and dedicated people, together with solid technology infrastructure and international recruitment opportunities.
"I know the company is eager to start recruiting positions in customer service, network support, marketing and quality. Amid all the bad news of late this really is a good day for Galway."
. An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who officially opened the centre, said the new facility was a “big vote of confidence in Ireland”.
“The announcement is welcome not only because of the direct jobs created, but it will also assist in our efforts to grow the digital media industry in Ireland and in particular the gaming sector. I firmly believe that Irish people excel at creative industries. The blend of imagination and entrepreneurship is a natural advantage of the Irish when it comes to working in industries such as gaming.
Ireland had a real opportunity to develop the gaming sectors if it was willing to make key choices in its investment, he said.
“We must clear obstacles to growth and back the innovators. That means supporting new industries like cloud computing, lifesciences, cleantech, digital content, the digital gaming industr, and others. Today is another significant milestone in our journey of supporting these sectors.”
Since 1995 BioWare has created some of the world's most critically acclaimed titles and franchises, including Baldur's Gat e™, Neverwinter Nights™, Star Wars®: Knights of the Old Republic™, Jade Empire™, Mass Effect™ and Dragon Age™. In 2008 BioWare was acquired by Electronic Arts, a leading global interactive entertainment publisher which in 2011created the BioWare Label. BioWare currently operates in seven locations across the world, including Edmonton (Alberta, Canada ), Montreal (Quebec, Canada ), Austin (Texas ), Fairfax (Virginia ), San Francisco (California ), Los Angeles (California ) and Galway (Ireland ).