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Peter Moore: 'What was I thinking!?'

Interview: The EA Sports boss is not happy. CVG finds out why...

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"I was speaking to [a colleague] last night, and wondering aloud: 'Have we got more revenue from the first weekend sales of FIFA than have been made through the turnstiles across Europe in the same time period?' It must be close. I mean, 11 million online game sessions. I'm pretty certain that more people played FIFA 11 than paid for a match ticket.

"Then you look at our marketing - it's a long shot from your classic video game advertising. We wanted this year's to be different and unique. We have players taunting each other... there's Rooney in there with a cup of tea and a giant bull mastiff. We need that to break through. That's how we stand out from Nike and so on as a brand in football."

Despite FIFA's runaway success, it - like any other video game striving for realism - struggles to hit its potential on Wii.

A party-fied version still "delivers the numbers", reckons Moore, but he admits the system offers a "challenging market" - albeit one that EA Sports has a handful of "very healthy franchises" on, including FIFA, Tiger Woods, NHL Slapshot and, of course, EA Sports Active.

Surely the label could deliver even better numbers with FIFA on a new Wii, though - an HD model perhaps?

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"No. I mean, it's not our job to say: 'Don't do that' to Nintendo. It's the first party's job to develop hardware specs and pricing. It's my job to make our products work within that. We see where we best fit with what they bring to market. And in Wii's case, that's not just ports of 360 and PS3 games."

Moore is less forgiving when it comes to another problem market - that of boxed PC games. He's critical of publishers that just "throw games out" on the format because it's the way "it's always been done". (Typically, with one eye on the future, he's already thinking about the day when the iPad becomes "a mandatory addition" to EA's list of formats.)

"With FIFA, there is a market there, so we do [a boxed PC game]" he reveals, "It's a robust combination. But most games we do don't make sense on PC in a classic, traditional way. To be honest, if it shows signs of life, we'll do it - but they're big numbers. The question we have to ask is: Can we do a million?"

It's not that EA Sports has given up on PC entirely, however. Moore believes the label's reaching more PC players than ever before - with more PC content than ever before - through browser-based innovations. The firm's Facebook game FIFA Superstars pulls in over four million players a month.

TO THE FUTURE
He's less authoritarian on Sony's 3D 'revolution' - but sticks to his guns when it comes to the question of fidelity versus fancy tech.

"It has an impact on frame rate," he says. "I'm sure our teams will be able to break that problem eventually, but there are also question marks over camera angles, which need to be tighter.

"When our developers come to me - and they do - saying their friends would like 3D in their games, I ask: Is it going to improve the game experience? There are issues there."

Moore's refusal to join the blind 3D worship of his peers is controversial - but can't compete with EA Sports' online pass in terms of forumite squabbling. The one-time code, deliberately created to pinch revenues from the second-hand market, has annoyed plenty of gamers. Moore is unrepentant - and says he's got the stats to back him up.

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