Florida created a film-and-entertainment incentive program in 2003, offering relatively modest cash rebates to various productions. The biggest recipients were typically large-budget television shows such as "Burn Notice" and "The Glades," or feature films such as "Marley and Me."
Video-game companies were initially excluded from the program entirely, because Florida officials said the state did not want to provide incentives for projects likely to occur even without government help. The state eventually relented and allowed game developers to participate, though game companies were restricted to incentive awards smaller than those given to film and television projects.
Electronic Arts already had a thriving business in Maitland, where its Tiburon studio has been developing video games for EA — including Madden NFL, the best-selling sports title of all time — for nearly two decades, first as an independent contractor and then, since 1998, as an EA subsidiary.