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: Can you tell us about the deal on that? Would Nintendo for example have demanded exclusivity in terms of the Wii SKU coming first?
Moore: No. That SKU was coming first, regardless of whether Wii MotionPlus was in there. As I said a few moments ago, we made a decision: we knew it was coming, we knew the timing, we knew we wanted to be pre-Wimbledon, and take advantage of Wimbledon and bring that back in. Wimbledon wasn't gonna move for us, so we decided to put it right in front of Wimbledon, which the development team marched to, then Wii MotionPlus came along, and we sat down with our friends at Nintendo, and they loved the idea. It made a lot of sense. Same with Tiger in the US; we're bundling with Tiger, very early, and taking advantage of that. And of course you're getting half price on the controller if it's part of the bundle.
Kikizo: Is it possible for you to break down the ratio of Games versus Sports performance at EA?
Moore: We tend not to do that. We can tell you, as I've said before, our Sports business is a billion-dollar-plus business.
Kikizo: Yesterday EA seemed pretty excited about FY10, since FY09 was a bit dodgy...
Moore: I can't talk about FY10 - we're yet to discuss FY10; our earnings call, which you can call into, is May 5th. You can listen to that, you'll get a lot more info from John Riccitiello and Eric Brown on that call, and they'll give you a little bit more on what we're thinking about FY10.
Kikizo: Do you have any thoughts on Kudo Tsunoda leaving EA Chicago?
Moore: It got cold? I don't know! But that was a year and a half ago now, Kudo went just as I was arriving.
Kikizo: What I mean is, obviously he did really well with the Fight Night series. Although it doesn't look like it's harming the new Fight Night...
Moore: The team is doing really well, you've seen it, I'm sure - it looks great. Kudo did a great job with number three - those guys did a great job. But you know, people like to move on and do different stuff. I haven't seen Kudo since... well, I've met Kudo once in my life! We had a great meeting in New York, and then he was gone. So it's been a while.
Kikizo: Is there potential for EA All Play as a brand on other platforms than Wii?
Moore: We looked at that last year, and decided All Play as a product feature was very successful, I loved it, it resonated very well. But we looked at the brand and we decided it was complicated, our research told us consumers couldn't quite figure out where it's at. And we started to have a little more confidence then, in what EA Sports could do and how we could be a singular brand across multiple sports experiences. So All Play as a brand per se goes away, but All Play as a product feature stays embedded in the games.
Kikizo: But can you pick up the idea again, in terms of the casual-specific slant, and other casual venues for that?
Moore: No, I think what we're looking to do is have EA Sports be a singular brand, but stretch across more than just what you expected EA Sports to be in the past, which is a hardcore sports simulation brand. The fact that we feel confident to put it in Active as EA Sports, shows you that we feel good that we can talk to a different consumer, and actually our research on that bore out that even though that woman didn't necessarily think that the old EA Sports was for her, when presented with the Active product she totally got sports gaming, fitness gaming, and utilisation of a cool new technology, and it totally played into what EA Sports is. So we're testing where we can stretch the brand, and so far it hasn't broken.