EA Sports' Peter Moore
Tucked safely within the refuge EA's business centre at GamesCom, I'm pleased to find myself sitting down with EA Sports president Peter Moore. Formerly an executive at Sega and Microsoft, Moore has for a long-time worked in the United States, despite being of British origins. The executive is known for not mincing his words and is an ardent Liverpool FC supporter, while his colourful conference appearances have enlivened many an expo. We sat down to the shoot the breeze with this games industry luminary.
PS3 price change. Are you pleased?
Yes, I think the whole industry is pleased. I think history has told us that when you get a substantial price drop you bring in new segment of the audience that is ready to buy. I think it's even more important in today's tough economic times where that is something of a disposable purchase of a videogame console when you're trying to balance between petrol for the car and rent for the house. I think that having a price drop is bringing it back to the levels the whole industries have been looking for a while. I think it's great for the industry.
Do you think it's enough?
I don't know. Certainly having been that side of the aisle before and doing a lot of work, doing what's known as elasticity studies where you very quietly talk to potential customers to ask "if the price is this would you buy?". And then you actually do data analysis and figure out where the price should be. It's not something that three people sit around in a room and guess. They do a lot of what's known as blind studies, so they typically wouldn't identify themselves as Sony or PlayStation. That's exactly how we did it at Microsoft and you do the analytics because you've got to get it right. If it's not enough then you don't achieve what you're supposed to do and all you're doing then is losing a lot of money out of your P&L [profit and loss] but you're not moving the units.
You've had a lot of success with EA Sports Active, can you see more products launching on the Wii of a similar kind?
I think certainly that the platform that we have for EA Sport Active we're going to grow. More Workouts is a great example if you think of it as a kind of expansion pack for existing consumers. You're going to continue to see more and more. I think not only for the Wii, but we're excited about the new stuff from Project Natal from Microsoft and Sony's motion controller. You can imagine that the health, wellness and fitness [titles] are going to be an important part of what their lineup is going to be, and it's going to help promote gaming. If you've got legs and arms then you can become a gamer, you don't have to push buttons - I think that's going to become important. The industry creating products that are good for people is a strong PR message. We feel good about the positive results, that's what I said yesterday [at the EA conference], users are having, and I think it's great that we can bring what is a very, very democratic platform that we have now on the Wii that has Mums using it, Dads using it, kids are using it and bring it to life as a wellness platform. I think this is a very strong message because as an industry we get criticised for lots, and this is a nice balance to that.
Do you think that beyond fitness titles your traditional sports titles have a place using motion controllers such as Natal and the PS3's motion controller?
Yeah, but what we need to do is to be very careful we don't just try and port something over and go 'Look, here is our Natal version of FIFA' and try and kick the ball or head the ball. I think the Wii has proved that with things like Wii Sports, is that you need to create experiences from the ground up for the technology rather than convert the game or a francise over to the technology. I can see a sports training game that would be a big deal, imagine golf or tennis where the motion is tracked so that you can actually go out and do things properly in real life. I think there is great play there. Maybe at first there could be games with a Natal mode? Perhaps in FIFA where there is a penalty in the game you have to step up and take the penalty.
Do you think the system is accurate enough?
I don't know. We've got dev kits. Like with any technology it'll go through evolutions. I think in a simple world of a penalty imagine the experience in front of you and it somehow identifies where the ball is, and you have to step up and it will identify the speed and angle of your foot in the ball and then make some interpretations of where the ball will go then.... I guess.