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Interviews

Peter Moore

Ex-Microsoft messiah talks about his plans to revolutionise EA Sports

Xbox World 360 caught up with EA Sports boss Peter Moore in thier latest issue, on shelves now. Here's what he had to say...

EA Freestyle is a new brand targeting the casual gamer. Sounds like Nintendo's Marketing strategy...

Moore: Time is being compressed and people have less time to play games, so we have to create game experiences that are catered to them. We're not dumbing down the experience; segmentation such as Freestyle allows us freedom to explore outside of the core EA Sports brand. 'It's In The Game' is still about testosterone and competing against each other, which is what we're good at, but that business is not going to grow as quickly as the market for new consumers coming in.

Zoom

How does EA Big fit into this picture?

Moore: EA Big will go away. It will eventually disappear and it's actually had a longer shelf life in Europe than it has over here. Big as a label is a little restricted. It's action sports, it's extreme sports - you think of SSX and the Street games. We needed a broader platform to go forward.

So, is 'casual' the way forward?

Moore: Well, look at Rock Band. It really came home for me when we were in Munich for our global marketing meeting and we took over the Hard Rock Café for the night and had a Rock Band competition. There were a hundred of us and it was like a real rock concert. It was a blast. I stood back and I thought that this was an incredible cultural phenomenon.
The crowd were going wild, but all we were doing was playing on toy guitars, toy drums and singing badly into a microphone. Now the beer might have had something to do with it, I don't know, but it was a great social thing. And I said, "Boy, this product is going to change the way we think about games."

Do you think there's any crossover between the core and casual markets?

Moore: What I love about where we are at the moment is that the three gaming platforms are three distinctive experiences. Nintendo are trying to get people off the couch and you play more intuitively so you have brand new consumers there. Microsoft continues to do well with Xbox Live, but it's still a little too hardcore for where they would like to be at this point. That was something we tried to change when I was there.

What about DLC? will that replace yearly updates?

Moore: The criticism that we get is that we just update stuff each year. We do a lot more than that. I think of DLC in terms of a sports season - I mean, who would have thought it would be Portsmouth and Cardiff in the FA Cup Final? If you play FIFA, maybe the game could recognise that. We update the game every few weeks based on what we think is going on, but we should be looking to update the game every day. Wouldn't it be cool if the game the next day you play it reflects what happened the night before?

There's an opportunity for us, and it's difficult at the moment, but there are games in the future that will take a ton of data every time a real game is played, analyse that data, and then drop it down into the videogame. So, say somebody gets injured, and they're out for eight weeks - then they're out for eight weeks in the game. There would be this real-time feeling we're trying to get in our games; that you're not restricted to the code on the disc. The game updates in real time and makes you think you're getting inside of the game. In my opinion, that is the future.

But we imagine the twelve month turn-around restricts things a little...

Moore: We've got to go after more rapid development - I call it 'sell fast, sell cheap.' We need to generate ideas we can try out quickly and cheaply, and say either 'Yes it works, let's continue to invest,' or 'It doesn't, let's walk away'. In our world we only have a year to deliver a game.

This is not GTA, this is not Halo, this is not Metal Gear... This is NBA, Madden and FIFA and the season doesn't wait for us to get through Beta before they start kicking a ball. It's our job to be in sync with the start of the season.

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