Technology

Social games company Zynga launches in Dublin

FarmVille
Image caption Zynga's games, including FarmVille, have proved a huge hit on Facebook

Ireland's gaming industry has secured its latest coup as Zynga opens a major office in Dublin.

The world's largest social game developer - best known for creating FarmVille - has over 250 million monthly users.

The company has experienced rapid growth since it was established in the US four years ago.

Nearly one-hundred staff have been hired to work at the Dublin office, with plans for further expansion.

Operations at Zynga's Irish office will focus on customer care services, online community management, business functions and content management.

Charm offensive

Speaking at the launch, Zynga's chief operating officer, Marcus Segal, said that Ireland's Industrial Development Authority (IDA) helped to broker the deal.

"They found us in San Francisco and they reached out early and often. But that's only part of the story - there are lots of countries that have IDA functions, but nobody did as great a job as the IDA did on really partnering [with us] and showing us the way," he explained.

Ireland's Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton T.D. said that the Zynga announcement was an exciting moment for the country and was an indication of where he wanted to see industry in Ireland going in the future.

The country has proved incredibly popular with large technology companies over the past decade. Facebook, Google and Symantec all have major offices there.

There are financial incentives the help them set up up in Ireland and, according to Mr Bruton, there is to be some adjustment of current schemes to better accommodate the gaming industry.

"We're looking at the R&D support - some of the tax credits have been written [and they] are not quite tailor made to the gaming sector, so we are going to adapt those"

Local talent

A large proportion of employees working in Ireland's technology and gaming sector are foreign - a very welcome and expected aspect of such a global industry, says Mr Bruton. However, there is also a drive to foster home-grown talent.

"Clearly we have to continue to develop the education, we need to look more closely at that. Getting the education pace right is important in sustaining the growth," he told BBC News.

Enterprise Ireland is also running funding competitions to help new technology companies get off the ground.

The last round offered funding for twenty start-ups and received two hundred entries. Richard Bruton said that the agency would be key to finding the latest talent across the country.

"Enterprise Ireland are our eyes and ears in the field" he said. He described the recurring funding prizes as an "incubation scheme" with serial entrants working hard to break into the industry.

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