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EA wants LA studio for DICE to challenge Activision

Despite recent cutbacks, Electronic Arts plans to invest in a Los Angeles studio for its DICE team in order to compete more effectively with rival Activision, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

EA bought DICE (Digital Illusions Creative Entertainment) in 2006, and has operated the studio primarily out of Stockholm. But as General Manager Karl-Magnus Troedsson told the Journal, DICE needs a bigger presence in LA in order to compete against Activision Blizzard and its Call of Duty franchise.

One way EA might accomplish that is via a new licensing agreement with Disney. Last week, EA and Disney inked a deal under which EA has the rights to develop and publish games based on Star Wars characters and storylines.

"Every developer dreams of creating games for the Star Wars universe," EA Labels President Frank Gibeau said at the time.

"Three of our top studios will fulfill that dream, crafting epic adventures for Star Wars fans. DICE and Visceral will produce new games, joining the BioWare team which continues to develop for the Star Wars franchise. The new experiences we create may borrow from films, but the games will be entirely original with all new stories and gameplay."

That came about a month after Disney shuttered its 31-year-old LucasArts interactive entertainment division.

EA did not immediately respond to request for comment about the new LA studio.

Troedsson told the Journal, however, that DICE is actively recruiting talent in the area, with plans for 60 staffers by year's end.

Six new jobs are listed on the EA website for audio, art, testing, software development, and game design positions with DICE L.A.

This move comes less than a month after Electronic Arts had a second round of staff layoffs. A few weeks earlier, a reported 170 Montreal-based EA mobile studio employees were left without a job.