Now we know what Electronic Arts executive Peter Moore is up to. He wants to know if you’re the best Madden NFL player in the world.
EA announced its plans to take on esports with an initiative targeted at everyone. During its EA Play briefing at the massive Electronic Entertainment Expo trade show in Los Angeles and London, the company revealed it is putting $1 million in prize money toward three tiers of tournaments designed to get every kind of gamer involved. The company put Madden at the core of this effort. That football sim has a small-but-dedicated competitive scene, and it looks like EA wants to push it the only NFL-licensed console game to the next level.
Competitive gaming is growing, and companies left and right are trying to dive in. Twitch announced last week that its community watched 800 million hours of esports over the past 10 months, and Activision, ESPN, and Yahoo are all staking territories in what Newzoo forecasts will be a $463 million market this year — and over $1 billion by 2019.
Peter Moore, EA’s former chief operating officer, is overseeing this move into esports. He will guide this three-forked strategy, which will include the following levels:
- Challenger: This is for community-focused competitions. EA will work with gamers to help them start their own tournaments.
- Premier: These are large-scale events that EA will host in partnership with other companies.
- EA Majors: The top-end events that will determine regional and world champions for EA games.
The publisher kicked this off immediately with a tournament featuring Madden pros hosted by ESPN anchor Stan Verrett.
For EA, esports is a way to connect its popular EA Sports and other competitive games with a hungry audience that loves pro gaming. This is something that Activision has done with Call of Duty for years, and now EA is following suit.