Interview: Peter Moore, EA Sports President
Five pages with the former Reebok, Sega and Xbox boss, on expanding the EA Sports brand, signing up new sporting mega-talent, bundling Wii MotionPlus, growing up in a pub and why darts and snooker aren't really sports.
Kikizo: It's about how you use it. And speaking to that, has your history back at Reebok helped you develop relationships as you've mentioned?
Moore: Yeah, I mean I bump into people. Recently I was in Miami for the World Congress of Sports, and that's another example - we don't just do video game conferences, we're actually asked to keynote the World Congress of Sports, which is a high-powered, North American, who's who of sports, and we gave a keynote address, showing the power of what EA Sports is to the world of sports. And so yeah, I probably bumped into 20 people that I knew from my Reebok days, people I hadn't seen for a long time that are still within the sports business. So certainly my experience of those days - which are a long time ago now - certainly help, because I'm starting to deal with the same people - I dealt with the NFL in those days, I dealt with the NBA in those days, and guess what, I'm dealing with the NFL and the NBA again now! And a lot of the same people are still in those leagues.
Kikizo: You talk to the community quite directly - blogging, forums - and when you were president at Sega I could email you personally and get a reply. It's sort of a contrast to the more 'closed' management style of someone like Nintendo. Can you comment on these management styles - why does the former suit you?
Moore: It's a difficult comparison; I've also worked for a Japanese company, when we were in the Sega days, it was a US subsidiary which was actually a pretty powerful subsidiary, because the Dreamcast had pretty much died already in Japan, and we were the lead dog on a global basis, so I had a lot of autonomy to act, to be the 'face' of the Dreamcast in those days. And it's difficult - Nintendo of America, Nintendo of Europe, they're subsidiaries, so therefore they take their cue from Kyoto, and it's not easy for them to say, without permission, what they need to say. I've always enjoyed the industry, I've always enjoyed interacting with gamers; back in the Sega days we had a lot of fun, in the battle against PlayStation 2 - I have a competitive nature, and it always suited me well to be up front, and to try and be the face; I loved the challenge of the old 'console wars' as they were, in those days, and took a little bit of that with me obviously to Microsoft. Different story now, where we're platform agnostic and I'm at a software company, and, as per my original premise, I love 'em all to death! So... yeah. My style is who I am - plus I'm a Scouser, and you know what we're like.
Kikizo: Do you think things like darts and snooker are sports? And if so are they things you would look to pursue at some stage?
Moore: Anything you can do with a pint in your hand, probably doesn't feel like a sport to me. Snooker, as much as I watched it when I lived here - and I watched it last night on Sky Sports - I'm not sure how it can be a sport. So it's your definition of sport, I think. But I grew up in a pub, so I love darts, and I started playing darts when I was six. Snooker I never really took a shine to quite frankly, but I can sit and watch it, and I love the strategy of snooker - much more so than the US, they play pool, and I don't think it's half the game snooker is. But anyway - no I don't think they're sports, per se.
Kikizo: Baseball is one of the sports I think you don't have currently, what are the others that maybe you're after?
Moore: Yeah, there are always sports we're looking at and keeping a very close eye on. I mean the development cycle of getting up and running, building a new engine and what have you is such that, I can't see something coming down the path and then say I can be in market within a year from now - that's not the way that we work. You know, we'd be looking at our FY12 portfolio right now and saying, boy, this is where we should go, or we should start developing an engine for this game now. So we keep a close eye on that, yes.