We first heard inklings of this deal last month
, but it's as official as can be now, having just been proclaimed by EA execs and Texas governor Rick Perry at EA's BioWare Austin campus: Electronic Arts is establishing a new EA Sports operation in Austin, TX.
"We're going to be adding 300 jobs to our operations here in Austin," EA's Frank Gibeau said -- half full-time, half contract. EA Sports COO Daryl Holt revealed that it will build a new team in Austin to support the teams in Florida and British Columbia, focusing on HD platforms and then expanding to "emerging" markets. The announcement was highlighted by a video of a Texas A&M-uniformed Rick Perry in NCAA Football 2012
The 300 jobs aren't entirely focused on EA Sports. EA Games president Frank Gibeau told me that the jobs would be distributed between EA Sports, EA Games, as well as IT and finance -- with EA Sports being the only new department to move into the two EA buildings currently occupied by BioWare.
EA Sports COO Daryl Holt told Joystiq "I think we'll probably start this first year somewhere around 30-35, just to get the team up and moving, just so they can start building features and working on HD platform development." He said the team could grow "exponentially, however we want," into new IP and "live services." EA has yet to decide which franchises to put the new Austin team onto.
"We're not going to disrupt what's currently going on," Holt said of the existing studios in Tiburon and Burnaby. "Orlando's expanding, Burnaby's expanding, EA's growing," he said, and moving into the sports-happy state of Texas is part of that growth. It will "absolutely not" replace any of the existing studios, which will "remain core to us." "They're growing as well," Holt clarified. "There's job openings and job postings in Florida in Vancouver."
Right now, the growth in Austin is open-ended, "but it's not something that's going to be open-ended while we recruit the team, because we want to recruit the right talent."