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: What about the Olympics - is 2012 a license that would interest you?
Moore: Well, the license that Sega has goes through 2012 - I believe it does, anyway. Olympics has always been a challenge; I think, to Sega and Nintendo's credit, they kind of cracked it with Sonic and Mario - that was a very strong commercial success. It's [traditionally] never been successful on consoles, for a number of reasons - I think it's primarily because there's a lot of button mashing going on in an Olympics video game, and I don't think that's very satisfying. So we've looked at the Olympics... I've always looked it and just kind of scratch my head. The worst thing about the Olympics is that it comes, it lasts for three weeks, and then it's gone. And even more so in America, where if an American isn't winning they're not interested and move on. And the moment that flame goes out, you better discount your software on the shelf. So that's the challenge that you always have with the Olympics. Much more so than America, we get a lot more excited in [the UK]; particularly with London coming up, the excitement's going to build, year in year out. In the United States, which is a major market for stuff like this, excitement will build for the week and then it will completely disappear once it's done.
Kikizo: Are there any points of comparison with that in terms of annual stuff like Superbowl?
Moore: We're used to it, we ship about a month before the season starts, and we know what's going to happen after the Superbowl's done. Soccer has a longer window, because if you look at the length of the season... it's a ten-month season! And it really only ends when maybe the Champions League final is done, and then they get like six weeks off, and they're in training again in July on their three season tour. So you know, soccer is at least a ten-and-a-half month season, and that allows us to continue to sell our title - FIFA 09 is still selling very well right now, and we're almost a little scared to show FIFA 10 - you just don't want to slow down the sales!
Kikizo: You guys aren't talking about the eventual PS3 and 360 versions of Grand Slam Tennis yet, instead focusing on the Wii version which bundles the new MotionPlus controller - a part of me wonders if that's because the PS3 and 360 versions will also have motion controls, which have not yet been revealed.
Moore: Well, let me be clear, we've announced Grand Slam Tennis on the Wii, June of this year, and later this year - I don't think we've got a specific date yet - it will be shipping on the Xbox 360 and the PS3. We decided to lead on the Wii because we needed to lead, and we knew Wii MotionPlus is coming; we thought this is a great opportunity, that the planets were aligning - what better game than tennis to show off MotionPlus - Nintendo agreed, and we have the ability to bundle. But it's a different experience when you're doing this [waves arms around], can't do that with a 360 or a PS3, and whatever commentary I made once which has turned into a thousand stories, about basically me saying, "I guess they're thinking about the future", which became, I don't know, 150 stories deep on Google.
Kikizo: Well your old friends are more 'to blame' for these motion rumours, I mean Shane Kim in particular has made comments which raise the eyebrow...
Moore: Shane is in a different job than he used to be when he worked for me, but you know, there's enough stuff you've seen, but all I did was speculate. And somebody asked me - I can't even remember what the question was - and I just basically said, "Yeah, I'm sure they are thinking, like any great company you think 3-5 years ahead, and I'm sure they're thinking about motion control". I think that's all I said. It must have been a very slow news day.
Kikizo: So this bundling with Wii MotionPlus, is that something you reckon you'll be doing exclusively as a publisher then? Not including Nintendo itself, I guess...
Moore: Well, as far as I'm aware - and that's the honest answer I can give you - I'm not aware of any other publisher - nor Nintendo - bundling in the Wii MotonPlus controller with any other piece of software. We haven't seen any other announcements. We think we'd know by now, because we're, what, six weeks away from it. So, as far as I'm aware.