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EA Gears Up Training Program in Montreal

Electronic Arts (EA) is investing up to $2.6 million for a training program to grow its workforce of gamemakers at EA Montreal (EAM) with the technical and creative skills they need to develop the next-generation of interactive entertainment. Michelle Courchesne, Quebec minister of Employment and Social Solidarity, said that Emploi Quebec will contribute $660,000 toward this initiative.

The curriculum for the modular training program will feature courses in some of the following areas: performance technology, graphics, engineering as well as project and people management. The classes will be accompanied by a lecture series, which will include visits from creative leaders at EA as well as speakers from the film, music, comicbook, computer animation and engineering industries. All regular full-time employees at EAM are eligible to participate in the program.

Alain Tascan, vp/gm of EAM, explained that electronic gameplayers are sophisticated media consumers who seek entertainment experiences characterized by fun and exciting gameplay, high-definition graphics, emotionally believable characters and deep online experiences. He noted that, The key to unlocking the business potential of the industry is simple: great games. Great games will propel the industry forward. The craftspeople who build the games must be creatively energized and have an expertise in cutting-edge technology. We are planning for the future by investing in our studio talent today. Education and training are key components of EAs long-term growth strategy. We are making the necessary financial investments that will empower our gamemakers and help us stay ahead in this competitive market.

He added, We welcome the Quebec governments vision for the game development community in Montreal and applaud their recognition of the importance of supporting local talent within this growing industry.

EA established its presence in Montréal in 2003 by opening a new studio to create and develop new action/adventure videogames. EAM employs 100 highly skilled people at its newly-refurbished state-of-the-art studio in downtown Montreal. The teams are working on SSX on Tour for PSP, as well as another brand new original franchise to be announced in the coming months. The studio is already ahead of schedule and is on track to add new franchises and teams averaging 80 to 100 people.

EAs Canadian headquarters are located in Burnaby, British-Columbia, where the company employs more than 1,600 gamemakers. It is the largest studio in the EA family. Globally, EA employs 6,100 people.

Electronic Arts (www.ea.com), headquartered in Redwood City, California, is a world-leading interactive entertainment software company. Founded in 1982, the company develops, publishes and distributes interactive software worldwide for videogame systems, personal computers and the Internet. Electronic Arts markets its products under four brand names: EA SPORTS, EA, EA SPORTS BIG and POGO. In fiscal 2005, EA posted revenues of $3.1 billion and had 31 titles that sold more than one million copies.

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