A BAFTA-winning computer games developer has created 100 new jobs in a further boost to Birmingham’s digital sector.
Codemasters, which publishes driving and racing titles including the official Formula One series, is taking on staff at its headquarters in Warwickshire and another 25 will join its 120 strong development team at Tricorn House in Birmingham city centre.
The move underlines confidence in the region’s growing games industry, which employs nearly a quarter of the UK games workforce.
Birmingham is home to more than 12,500 digital and technology firms.
Simon Miles, talent acquisition manager at Codemasters, said: “The skilled talent pool in Birmingham, along with the support available for developers in the area and across the Midlands generally has created a dynamic and creative local business community.
“We are looking to recruit staff from the region as well as enticing some new employees into the city as well.”
The £25 million Birmingham Ormiston Academy, which opened in October, is the first specialist digital media academy of its kind in the UK, according to Business Birmingham, the city’s inward investment body.
Gamer Camp, a finishing school for game developers that partners with industry experts, has also been set up by Birmingham City University.
Birmingham city centre’s Enterprise Zone has introduced incentives including business rates relief and relaxed planning permission to attract digital, creative and games companies into the area.
While business incubation programmes such as Birmingham Science Park Aston’s Entrepreneurs for the Future scheme provides gaming, digital and ICT start-ups with office facilities and support.
Sarah Darch, investment manager at Business Birmingham, specialises in attracting and supporting games and digital media companies to Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country.
She said: “That a global name like Codemasters is expanding here demonstrates that the gaming industry is taking the Birmingham area seriously as a place to locate and grow their businesses.
“A number of other local gaming companies are now expanding, employing new staff or attracting investment, building a real sense of excitement and momentum in the area.
“During a recent visit to the West Coast of the US, a number of digital companies expressed a real interest in establishing a presence here as a first step into Europe.
“With so much happening in the city right now, I expect that a number of other games developers will follow in Codemasters footsteps and look to establish and expand their presence here.”
Codemasters employs more than 600 people at its studios in Warwickshire, Birmingham and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
In March 2010, Reliance Big Entertainment, part of India’s Reliance ADA group, acquired a 50 per cent shareholding in the company, alongside existing investor, Balderton Capital, a European venture capital firm.