Interviews

Peter Moore Pt.1

Interview: The EA Sports boss on Microsoft, FIFA and being good to your fanbase...

It's both beguiling and off-putting to face a corporate interviewee who gives you a straight answer.

The games media is fed the same, PR'd-to-pulp quotes from the same, PR'd-to-pulp execs so often that CVG readers could probably write many of their sound-bitten, painfully predictable answers for them. Scratch that; better than them.

Thank the Lord, then, for Peter Moore: The man who loved Dreamcast even more than you during his time at Sega in the 1990s; who convinced you to buy an Xbox; and who helped bring FIFA back from being about as credible as John Terry's marriage vows to a position of unforeseen dominance.

Zoom

Indeed, to stall on his Microsoft career for a second (2003 - 2007, fact fans), without his input into Xbox's life (and those colourful E3 appearances) Xbox fanboys probably wouldn't even exist.

Whether that's a good or bad thing is up for debate; his illustrious contribution to the video games industry is not.

Now steering EA Sports into another year of acclaim and expansion - with a Mixed Martial Arts and FIFA World Cup game waiting in the wings - he offers more know-how and wise opinion than at any other time in his career.

CVG caught up with him for a mammoth interview recently. Here's part one of three.

To see what Peter Moore has to say about winning over EA's "haters", head over to the CVG Facebook fan page.

EA Sports seems to encourage its development teams to stay in touch with gamers through blogs, mailouts, videos etc. more than any other major label. Why?
It's funny, I think I really saw it at its best with Peter Jackson when he did King Kong. He did a video blog called 'Kong Is King'. I met Peter at Microsoft's X06 in Barcelona and he told me that he felt had an obligation to his community and customers to show them what he was doing everyday. It was a very refreshing outlook.

[EA] previously has this aura of games being a 'dark art' that must be grandly unveiled. Now, we still do all that with major features - because it's still a competitive environment out there. But as you're developing stuff, you've also got to engage the community, and use network tools to interact with them.

We've built up community guys whose sole job it is to interact with the development teams and then report out. They're very clear on what they can talk about, but we thoroughly encourage our developers to talk openly - without giving the game away, obviously.

We still have a cadence of announcements, but this [traditional marketing] concept of 'I'll give you a screenshot when I'm ready, and then if you're a really good boy I'll show you some footage, and eventually we'll get you so hyped up so you go and buy the game at midnight.' I think - or at least hope - those days are somewhat behind us now.

FIFA has put some clear water between itself and Pro Evolution Soccer in the last couple of years. What are doing to ensure the next game continues that trend - and that gulf widens even further?
The one thing we have in the FIFA team is an absolute paranoia about complacency. Whilst you say there's clear water between us and Pro Evo, EA Canada's mentality is that the competitor is breathing right down their necks.

A number of them actually worked on Pro Evo. They know the capability -as do I - of the very talented team at Konami has. They also know that you're at your most vulnerable when you think you're winning.

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