Electronic Arts and the Louisiana Department of Economic Development are partnering to create a new quality assurance team supporting the release of new EA Sports games.
Based in Baton Rouge, the QA centre will ramp up to employ 20 full time and over 200 part time testers made up predominately
of Louisiana State University students. Payroll for the operation is 'expected to increase to approximately $5.7 million per year within two years' the two said in a joint announcement.
The QA facility will initially be located at LSU's South Campus as part of the Louisiana Business and Technology Center. And EA will 'make use of Louisiana's Digital Media Tax Credit Program, as well as assistance from LED and EBR City-Parish for facility improvements'.
LSU has a new educational program in place called AVATAR (Arts, Visualization Advanced Technologies and Research), designed to improve the links between business and education, which helped facilitate EA's decision.
"We are proud that EA will be part of this initiative that will assist in the development of the digital media industry in Louisiana," said Sharon Knight, SVP of central development services at EA.
"We feel EA Sports is a great fit with LSU as there is a deep-rooted heritage in sports at the university. This partnership will open future opportunities for the state of Louisiana, LSU and EA."
The news is just one part of the State of Louisiana's plans to encourage more digital media firms to build businesses in the region.
The state's Governor Jindal commented: "This announcement of EA putting the first-of-its-kind video game testing center in the U.S. right here in Baton Rouge is a terrific win for the city and the future of our state. We know our economic development initiatives have to be aggressive, but they must also be innovative, and EA has both of these important attributes. This testing center will create 20 full time jobs, and more than 200 part-time jobs for LSU students who will get paid to play video games. I know this will be a dream job for some kids, but it is also a key part of strengthening our state's economic development so we become the best place in the world to do business and all of our children can stay right here at home to pursue their dreams.
"This job win is a critical step in creating a digital media economy that will generate even more high-paying high tech jobs and help us compete for even more jobs within EA in the future."