Why EA won’t be the worst company in America anymore (interview)

Moore: It’s not easy. The majority of it flounders. It comes out once and doesn’t make it. We’re going to reassure gamers about Mirror’s Edge. I always regard that as new IP. It was innovative, risky, disruptive, very different. The Star Wars stuff, to your point, we have a lot of work to do with Star Wars over the next five to 10 years, bluntly. We’re continuing to incubate brand-new ideas. Criterion will give you a little hint on Monday of stuff that they’ve been working on that’s new. A little different from what they’ve done in the past.

To our credit, as much as I’m sure gamers may scoff, if our studios have an idea and they want to run with it and they’re passionate about it, chances are we’re going to let them go and drive it to where it’s at and get a prototype. You get some vertical slices of the game and play it and get to a demo level, almost, and we just let them go. Criterion is a great example of that. It’s a game that even I haven’t seen much of, but I trust the team. I trust Matt Webster there to lead that team. I’m as interested as you to see more of it at E3.

GamesBeat: Do you feel that this boom we have is going to keep going for the core business?

Moore: I hope so. Second holiday is always the key. Production is unfettered. There’s as many boxes as people want to buy. I’m excited to see the impact of the price drop for the Kinect-less Xbox One on Tuesday. We’ll see what impact that has. It’s important that Microsoft catches up a little bit, just on a pure numbers game, and starts pushing hard again. You’re going to see some renewed focus from them on TitanFall. I think they have a campaign starting tonight. I won’t give the game away, but you’ll see some stuff from Xbox, who still believe that Titanfall is a game-changer for them.

I think the $399 price point becomes important for them. They’re both great boxes, but this industry benefits when you have two giants duking it out. Nintendo’s had a bit of a renaissance the last couple of weeks with Mario Kart. That’s got them back in the spotlight again.

Nintendo is losing the Wii U's pulse.

Above: Nintendo is losing the Wii U’s pulse.

Image Credit: GamesBeat

GamesBeat: Is there anything that might happen to get EA supporting that platform again?

Moore: You know our history goes back decades with Nintendo. We love them to death. I enjoy going to Kyoto. Online, we’re great partners. You’re not going to see anything next week. But I’m a huge Nintendo fan, and hopefully what Mario Kart seems to be doing, anyway, gets a little bit of interest around the Wii U again. I see Iwata’s not coming to E3 for health reasons. It’s a shame, because I always enjoy watching him speak. But I’m sure Reggie will take care of all the charisma needed. I’m looking forward to what they have to say.

GamesBeat: Kinect, as well, does that seem more like a segment of the games, where there’s an opportunity to use it?

Moore: Yeah. It’s going to be interesting to see how they segment that. I like Kinect. I don’t use it a lot, but I certainly like voice, which is what—I don’t know. Microsoft would have to share their data. But I think the majority of people use the Kinect platform for voice controls and what have you. I wander around shouting at my Xbox all day long. Most of the time it understands my convoluted Liverpool/mid-Atlantic accent.

There’s going to be a cohort now that doesn’t have Kinect. We’ll see. I think it’s more important that they get the hardware embedded and installed, from the perspective of getting the right price point and playing a little catch-up with the PlayStation 4. It creates a healthier ecosystem for all of us.

GamesBeat: How about participating in some of these other emerging areas? Does virtual reality look interesting at this point?

Moore: It always looks interesting. I’m interested to see what the new owners of Oculus are going to do with it. I also went to Sony a couple of weeks ago and tried out Project Morpheus, which I really liked. It’s cool, it’s fun. I’m sure you’ve tried them. They continue to hone these things to where they can be commercially viable. But yeah, we’re always there, always looking. People are always here knocking on our doors. From the outset, we have some big brands to bring to bear.

Both Sony and Oculus, or I guess Facebook, they have to figure out long-term roadmaps, strategy, pricing, rollout, what their objectives are. I’m sure Facebook’s are very different from Sony’s. But Morpheus is very cool, as was Oculus. I’ve tried them both. Our teams continue to look at that. Right now they’re focused on the core platforms. For us right now, that’s Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and our own Origin platform, because we love what’s going on in the PC space. Mobile, is a big focus. And then geographic expansion – Asia and Latin America are two areas of great focus for us to continue to build. We have lots of upside opportunities in both of those regions.

Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic

GamesBeat: Getting a game like, say, League of Legends — what priority is that?

Moore: As an industry, we chase things that are already there, and by the time we get there, they’re gone, or moved, or morphed. Star Wars: The Old Republic, we were building that thing as a subscription-based model, based on what was going on in the MMO world, and by the time we got there with a great game, people had moved on to more microtransaction-based games. We changed and took the game down a little bit and the team’s done a great job of bringing it back up with both models.

There’s a hockey expression. You have to skate to where the puck’s going, not where it is. We do three-year, and in some instances five-year, analyses of where we think the industry is. But boy, in today’s world, even that feels long. Tablets and smartphones, nobody saw them coming, the impact that they would have on gaming, until they had launched. Then we all played catch-up. They’ve been an incredible boon, not only being able to drive revenues, but creating new innovations and teams that brought more people into development studios and into the games industry. The funnel has widened enormously at the top, of people who call themselves gamers. That’s great for all of us.

GamesBeat: Do you think that Google, Apple, and Amazon will become more intentional game platform players?

Moore: Rather than by mistake?

Apple Metal

Above: Apple Metal

Image Credit: Geeks3D

GamesBeat: Or accidental.

Moore: I think all three of them know the power of games, in very different ways. I’m enjoying what Google Play is doing, finally getting that sorted out as regards discovery and navigation. The App Store is dominated by games. Apple is a great partner, as is Google. Amazon, games have been a huge part of their business, both the physical element of shipping games on day one and getting more and more into the digital space.

All three are no longer accidental game merchants. They’re very focused. They know this is a very desirable consumer, a very engaged consumer, and all three understand that it’s a profitable consumer. You engage this consumer and you give them content, they’re going to chase it with you.

GamesBeat: What’s your prediction for what’s going to pop the biggest for you guys on Monday?

Moore: If you asked me two weeks ago, I might have said Hardline. I’m not sure now. You’re going to love Dragon Age. Our team will be on stage. We’ll give them a lot of airtime. RPGs are interesting beasts. They’re hit and miss. This is a great franchise that’s had ups and downs, but this thing just looks stunning and plays brilliantly. We have an interesting way of presenting it on stage on Monday.

Sims is The Sims. It’ll be huge again. It’s such an incredible franchise. It brings in a whole new demographic of woman consumers. I think it’s probably a 50-50 split, men to woman. There’s no other franchise that can boast that. It does a great job of keeping women involved and engaged in gaming.

PGA will be different and interesting. PGA on Frostbite 3, how does that sound? Sports looks fabulous in general, but we say that every year. We deliver every year.

The Sims 4

Above: The Sims 4

Image Credit: EA
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Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), headquartered in Redwood City, California, is a leading global interactive entertainment software company. Founded in 1982, the Company develops, publishes, and distributes interactive software worldwide for ... read more »

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Federico Ortega
Federico Ortega

" we don’t push out games that aren’t ready" ???? he's lying men wth..... look at Battlefield 4 and Sim city ,they're broken games, I've asked when they'll fix the unforgivable errors after 6 months in Bf 4 and not a single answer from them ,unbelievable that you believe this guy...............

David Jack
David Jack

Their customer service can't possibly be worse than Dish TV's.

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