If games are to be a service in this new and enlightened age of MMOGs and social networks, then you’d better be ready to deal with the torrent of demanding customers who’ll be banging on your door the second that service doesn’t live up to their expectations.
Preparing itself for this daunting prospect, EA-owned developer BioWare last year opened a new customer service centre in Galway in preparation for the launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Supported by the IDA, the centre is aiming to grow to 200 staff by the time the game is released, though for now senior director of European operations Ruben Cortez remains tight-lipped on exactly how many of those places have been filled for fear of sparking rumours on the game’s eventual release date.
Senior director European operations Ruben Cortez; Star Wars: The Old Republic
The US-based BioWare has chosen not only to support its European customers from Ireland (covering English, German and French speakers) but will also service the game globally from here, too.
“We were looking throughout Europe, so Ireland wasn’t the only candidate country, but we chose Galway because of the commitment you could see from the people here to work ethic and quality,” explains Cortez. “What we found in Galway was an almost untapped market at that time – there really wasn’t much of a presence here from any gaming company. So I fell in love with it because it was my own little corner of Ireland where I could recruit locally, maintaining national pride while at the same time making sure that we could recruit out of Europe as we needed for foreign language support.”
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