April 13, 2024
Electronic Arts: Gaming in Orlando
Electronic Arts, the video game maker that employs about 1,000 in Central Florida, completed its move to Orlando’s Creative Village on the west side of downtown. The company’s 175,940-sq.-ft. building is just a two-minute walk from UCF’s downtown campus.

Business Florida 2024

Electronic Arts: Gaming in Orlando

| 1/17/2024

Like most kids growing up, Daryl Holt played all kinds of games with his friends, but it wasn’t until 1976 or so that he first called himself a “gamer.”

Daryl Holt is one of those people who could have taken a lot of different paths in life. His fascination with the unusual is what propelled him away from a traditional consulting career into a job heading one of the largest and most innovative sports gaming studios in the industry.

Today, Daryl Holt serves as vice president and group chief operating officer at Electronic Arts in Orlando, better known in the industry as EA Orlando. If by chance his name doesn’t ring an immediate bell for you, just know that it’s big, REALLY BIG.

Holt had his own business as an accountant who, incidentally, studied digital animation on the side. In 2004, Holt folded his accounting company to join Electronic Arts in Orlando where he has remained for the last 19 years. “The fastest 19 years of my life,” he likes to say.

Within that time frame, sports gaming has literally exploded into a $3 billion industry, with one out of every three people a participant.

And what are they playing, you ask?

Madden NFL, to be sure, but also College Football, NHL, MLB, NBA, UFC, PGA Tour and Vegas Grand Prix, to name a few.

The office houses a Player Experience Lab that welcomes gamers to experience games like Madden NFL. It’s equipped for all sorts of Playtests including: 1-on-1 sessions, group Playtests and focus groups. The Orlando office joins five other Playtest Labs worldwide to inspire the future of online play programs.

Completion of the long-awaited city of Orlando’s 68-acre Creative Village, and in particular, Electronic Arts’ contribution to it, should happen later this year.

Says Holt, “Our state-of-the-art studio in Downtown Orlando is a game-changer, creating an environment where our team members can do their best creative work and bring us closer to the community where we hope to have a positive impact. “We’re excited to continue EA’s long history in Central Florida.”

Tags: Business Florida, Spotlight

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