One of the world’s top computer games companies is setting up a major base in the North East after securing a grant from The Journal’s Let’s Grow Fund.
Ubisoft, the world’s third largest publisher of video games, is to create 100 jobs on the Newcastle Business Park with a new customer relationship centre serving Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
The company, known for massively popular games like Assassin’s Creed and Just Dance, was attracted to Tyneside after an intensive process that saw the city beat competitors both in the UK and abroad.
Cash to make the project happen came from the Let’s Grow fund, a pot of money allocated from the Regional Growth Fund to The Journal, BE Group and accountants UNW to create jobs in the North East.
Eventually up to 200 highly-skilled jobs could be created at the centre, with Ubisoft looking to recruit multi-lingual staff to deal with customers in a number of countries.
The jobs boost was welcomed yesterday by city council leader Nick Forbes, whose authority - along with the NewcastleGateshead Initiative and Dynamo, a group set up to boost the North East IT sector - helped court the gaming giant.
Coun Forbes said: “What we’re seeing is the re-birth of this part of the world with the industries of the future. We want to build an international cluster of digital and creative technology businesses on the banks of the Tyne.
“In the city we’re investing in the infrastructure that businesses needs but we’re also investing in the ultra-fast broadband and the skills which are crucial to this kind of business.
“It’s having these kinds of activity that will enable businesses to grow as fast as they want to. These are the industries of the future just as mining and shipbuilding were 200 years ago.”
The Ubisoft centre, which has joined an existing office where people develop computer games for the company, already boasts staff of 15 different nationalities who speak 11 diferent languages.
Employees interact with games players around Europe and the Middle East as part of Ubisoft’s mission to retain customers in the highly competitive computer game market.
Getting Ubisoft to locate on Tyneside is a major coup for efforts to boost the North East’s credentials as a growing centre for hi-tech businesses.
As well as being highly skilled and often well-paid jobs, the project is bringing in largescale foreign investment and is thought to have huge potential for growth.
Business Minister Baroness Lucy Neville-Role, who was at yesterday’s launch, said: “It’s fantastic news that Ubisoft has chosen the North East to grow in the UK.
“This area has beaten lots of other cities and persuaded Ubisoft to invest here in Newcastle.
“This investment will mean jobs, and very exciting jobs in the digital sector, in one of the most fashionable of industries, gaming, which is seeing huge growth in the UK.”