Dream Tech Job: EA Employee Gets Paid to Watch NFL Games
At Electronic Arts, assistant designer Anthony White's job is to ensure the football plays that Madden gamers run against their friends are as accurate and up to date as possible.
Wed, October 01, 2008
There are dream jobs, and then there are Dream Jobs. Anthony White has the latter.
Every week during football season, this EA assistant designer receives a little black box at his desk at EA's Tiburon Studios. Inside the box is a portable hard drive with videos of that week's NFL games.
White then fires up that little black box and proceeds to get paid for watching every single one so he can ensure EA's Madden NFL Football titles are as accurate and up-to-date as possible.
"Sometimes I have to pinch myself," White said, to which we say, "no kidding!"
But, lest we all incorrectly assume this kind of job just fell into White's lap, think again. Since 1991, White has basically lived and breathed the Madden franchise. Back then, the series was only two years old, and White was fresh out of high school awaiting deployment in the United States Air Force.
"I would sit there and play continuously, all through the night," said White, 35. "Mom and Dad thought I was nuts. . . . While most other guys my age were into hanging out, going to the mall, girlfriends and things like that, I'm at home drawing up plays on notepads and different things I want to try out in the game."
The insanity eventually paid off. After starting a Madden strategy site in 1999, White got noticed by EA. He was offered a job as an assistant producer at Tiburon in 2005.
Today, he's basically in charge of making sure the plays you run against friends in Madden are as accurate and fresh as possible. For Madden 09, that meant watching and adding 32 new formations, and about 1,200 new plays.
Just last week the NFL saw a number of new, unorthodox plays unveiled by teams like the Miami Dolphins. You can bet White saw every minute of Miami's quarterback-less offensive packages, and that they'll be in Madden 2010. It's what he does, after all.