IDA IRELAND confirmed yesterday that US computer game company Blizzard Entertainment has created 500 additional jobs at its European customer support centre in Cork city.
Blizzard said it would create 100 jobs by 2010 when it opened the centre in 2007, but employment has now passed 600.
The increase in employment was announced as Blizzard signed a new agreement with IDA Ireland to develop best practices in customer services at the Cork support centre.
Blizzard is a division of Nasdaq-quoted Activision Blizzard, and is best known for its online games including World of Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo.
“Ireland has been very positive for us,” said Paul Sams, chief operating officer with Blizzard. “It was definitely the right decision to locate there.”
The multi-lingual workforce in Cork has the ability to provide written and spoken support in 25 European languages.
Mr Sams added that the costs of doing business in Ireland were “very competitive”, and that local employment laws struck a good balance between the rights of staff and employers.
Under the terms of the new agreement, Blizzard will start to use a series of new support tools, technologies and training routines which will enhance productivity and improve the quality of customer support.
Currently the Cork facility supports European players of Blizzard’s flagship World of Warcraft game which had 11.5 million subscribers at the end of 2008. Mr Sams said the company plans to add support for other support Blizzard titles such as the recently relaunched Battle.net service.
He said expansion in Cork had been driven by the success of World of Warcraft and upcoming releases including StarCraft II and Diablo III.
IDA Ireland is attempting to create a cluster of games companies and in the last three years four significant players – PopCap Games, Gala, GOA and Big Fish Games – have joined Blizzard here.
While acknowledging this may mean some staff may be lost to competitors in the short-term, Mr Sams said in the medium-term all of the companies would benefit from having a larger pool of experienced staff to recruit from.