Electronic Arts is creating 500 new jobs within its Montreal-based studios as part of a major investment initiative within the Canadian province of Quebec. The news comes directly from Quebec's Minister of Finance, Carlos Leitao, who took the opportunity to publicize the region's growing presences in the video game industry. The investment will be made over the coming decade, totaling as much as $500 million.
While EA has several studios in Montreal, exactly where the company's investment is going remains unclear. Carlos points towards EA's goal of "infrastructure" that will help grow the industry in the region overall:
"[EA] intends to help structure the industry, in particular by designing infrastructure that can be shared with the video game community." ... "We offer Electronic Arts a stable, predictable, competitive fiscal framework enabling the company to move forward with this substantial expansion."
Naturally, EA is gaining from the situation as well. The company will receive a tax credit from Quebec's provincial government for its continued expansion.
Montreal is currently home to three different EA studios, including BioWare Montreal, the recently formed Motive Studios, and the studio working on EA's Frostbite engine. With BioWare Montreal coming off of the launch of Mass Effect: Andromeda, Motive Studios working with Visceral Games on its unannounced Star Wars title, and the Frostbite engine constantly evolving, EA's significant investment is not surprising. All three teams will likely put any additional investment to good use.
Of course, EA isn't the only video game company in the region, or even the largest. Ubisoft Montreal is the powerhouse in the area, and considering how much of EA's Montreal talent originally came from Ubisoft, a rivalry is certain to heat up. Other companies in the region include Behaviour Interactive, which is working on Star Citizen and put out Dead by Daylight last year, and Deus Ex and Tomb Raider developer/publisher Eidos Montreal. Which is to say, Montreal could, should, be considered the heart of Canada's video game industry.
500 employees and $500 million in investment likely won't grow EA's Montreal presence larger than Ubisoft within the area. However, it should put it on par with many of EA's other regional studios like Edmonton, Stockholm, and Redwood City.