EA's Peter Moore Pt.3
9th Feb 2010 | 19:29
We told you he was an open chap. In the first part of our interview with Peter Moore, the EA Sports chief happily discussed the challenges he faced whilst at Microsoft - and those he now has to shoot down at his current employer.
In the second instalment, Moore talked more widely about EA Sport's influence in the non-gaming world - as well as PS3 Motion Control and Cloud Gaming.
Here, in the third and final segment of our interview, he looks to the future - giving his view of EA's Mixed Martial Arts title, Microsoft's Project Natal, 3D gaming and E3 2010.
To see what Peter Moore has to say about winning over EA's "haters", head over to the CVG Facebook fan page.
Why did you feel Mixed Martial Arts was the next step for EA Sports? What drew you to cage fighting?
It is truly a sport - let's be clear there. We see huge growth, particularly in the US but also in the UK, as well as in the sport itself. The icons of the sport have developed and are continuing to develop. These guys are as big to the 16-34 male as boxers were for me when I was growing up.
It's interesting - on the flight over I watched a documentary of the Thriller in Manila [Muhammad Ali's classic fight against Joe Frazier in 1975]. I'd forgotten how big that fight was in the world at that time. You watched it and realised there's something raw about two guys inside a cage - or a ring - who are magnificent fighters in their prime, just going at it.
We think MMA has the ability to rekindle some of that spark; some of the stuff that I remember for the 70s and 60s in those golden years around boxing. MMA is going to continue its meteoric growth and we want to be part of it. We believe we can bring a different take on it.
Speaking honestly, we also see a vigorous opportunity to grow our fighting stable with Fight Night and now this. We don't ship every single year with Fight Night - and there's a cadence we can get into with MMA [one year] and boxing [the next]. They can benefit from each other - there's a lot of work the teams do in the physics and stand-up fighting in MMA we can go on and use with Fight Night.
What's your view of Project Natal. Have you seen any lag and do you anticipate problems with the price point?
I don't. One thing I learnt being right there in Redmond being a Microsoft employee is that when they apply themselves, boy do they apply themselves - and there's some very smart people [behind their ideas].
Microsoft would not have made the announcement they made and continued to make the announcements they have made about Natal - and their belief in it and the concept that it's a brand new platform - if they didn't believe it would work; and work at a mass market level, and ship it on time this Holiday.
When they say they're going to do something, typically they're able to do it. I don't discount them whatsoever. Like everybody in the industry we're excited about Natal. What we did to our industry with motion [with Wii], we're working with Sony and Microsoft to recapture that lightning in a bottle - particularly at a time when our business is going through a sticky time, when we're asking where is our next big growth platform. I think we're all excited. Again, the democratisation of gaming where you don't have any controller to worry about and just use your body is an exciting concept.
Do you think Natal will be exclusively mass market - or will hardcore games succeed on the platform?
It's a great question, but I really don't know the answer. I think you're going to see a combination of purpose-built games, specifically for Natal itself or for motion control at least. And then you'll see some hybrid games that exist that will have modes in there that allow you to take advantage of Natal.
It's still early in terms of this year and our development teams are still kicking their way through it. But I have no doubts they'll get this right.
What about 3D on Sony's side? What have you seen behind the scenes - and what are your impressions?
I've seen a game running in 3D and in the same way as motion control, 3D for the broader Sony universe becomes very exciting. If you've seen James Cameron's Avatar, what he's done is fantastic. He's not only created a great entertainment experience, but he's also solved a business problem: It was becoming miserable to go to the movies.
We invested in our HDTVs and out 7.1 surround sound and our comfy leather sofa, and there was less of a reason for you to do what used to be a big event: Go to the movies and see the big movie on your weekend. Cameron recognised this, and knew we had to build technology that created a new event. I was fortunate at Microsoft to visit James Cameron and see him working on this vision, and his intent was to get people out again to have an experience they simply couldn't get at home.
It's awesome - but difficult to replicate that in your home, I think. But 3D is going to be very important to the entertainment industry. Clearly when you listen to [Sony boss] Howard Stringer talk, it's very important to Sony and if we do our job right in the games industry, we see a real boost there. We'll see what the price points of 3DTVs are as that will be a factor, but I've seen a game running in 3D and it is a very unique experience.
As James Cameron did with Avatar at the movies, you've got to build [games] from the ground up with 3D in mind. None of the games I've seen [so far] have been built that way - they've been regular games running in 3D. The real secret sauce will be when somebody says: 'I'm going to build this game specifically for a 3D platform.'
Would EA Sports games suit 3D Gaming? Are you looking into it?
Absolutely. I'm not making any announcements, but it's no coincidence that of the 3D [TV] broadcasts I've seen in the last two years, I can count the NBA All-Star event in Las Vegas, while ESPN has announced 3D programming - perhaps even a full channel. There have also been a number of announcements around the [football] World Cup, with some games broadcast in 3D.
This is reminiscent of where we were with HD five or six years ago. It seems like a lifetime ago now, but you'd go to CES and be in awe of HD - and it was sports games that showed up the technology.
I think there's great opportunity for EA to bring sports to life in unbelievably imaginative ways, once we can grasp what 3D means to us.
What do you expect from E3 2010 after last year's return to form - and what have you got planned?
There's nothing I can say because I don't know. You would be shocked-slash-horrified to see how close we as publishers get to E3, still not really clear what we're going to say. So much of this stuff comes together so late: The development teams have to work on demo levels - it's non-trivial work.
I echo the sentiment that E3 was a lot better last year; a lot more like 'the old days'. It captured the excitement that the industry's feeling about three platforms that are competing very aggressively with each other with differing experiences. Secondly, it really show the magnitude of who we are versus movies and music, to which we have always had a slight inferiority complex.
E3 is our way of showing - particularly right there in LA - the entertainment mediums we compete with for the same dollar how big, how immersive, how enthralling and how on the edge of the future we are.
Those couple of years when we weren't able to do that [in 2007 and 2008], when we didn't have the full 'E3 experience', they were probably a couple of tough years for the industry, in terms of maintaining its place as a mass-marketing entertainment medium. Now we're firmly back in the saddle - and the future looks very bright indeed.