FIFA's a pretty big deal, which makes EA Sports president Peter Moore one of the most important executives in the industry. But it's easy to forget that the ex-Microsoft and Dreamcast man has more on his plate than virtual footie.
He's got golf, Madden, MMA, and that emerging market, fitness, to worry about. Here, in an interview with Eurogamer, we quiz the Liverpudlian on everything from Tiger Woods' private life to the controversial Online Pass.
Eurogamer: You've been successful with FIFA following the investment in a new engine a few years ago. How long before you have to create a new engine and start again?
Peter Moore: It's more of a question for [FIFA lead producer Dave] Rutter. For me, this has been a great year of polish. That's the advantage of going in early with a new engine. We're now maybe in the fifth year of this new engine. It's no longer new, I guess. He would be a better one to ask that question of. But I think he's going to tell you that for the course of the future there are certainly no complaints from the community of what this engine can do.
Eurogamer: Is it a case of if it 'aint broke, why fix it?
Peter Moore: Yeah. A 91-rated game, we'd be loath to throw that engine away and start all over again. Once you do there's a ramp time for the team to get used to a new engine. It probably doesn't seem like a good use of resources in mid-cycle, if that's where we are for this generation.
Eurogamer: Do you really believe we're mid-cycle?
Peter Moore: If you look at the history of the pricing, we're in mid-cycle. Chronologically, this is the last few years of previous cycles, but when you look at pricing, we're mid-cycle.
Over the years, $199 and below has been where 75 to 80 per cent of business is done. With the exception of 360 and the Wii, PlayStation 3, which seems to have a lot of momentum, is not even close to that. So we're still to reach a price point across all three consoles where historically 75 to 80 per cent of business is done. Yeah, I think we're in mid cycle.
Eurogamer: So you don't expect to see the next round of consoles for a while yet?
Peter Moore: No. Particularly when you've got things like Move and Kinect, these are tantamount to new platform launches for both Sony and Microsoft respectively. I don't think they are going to be investing in new hardware 12 months, 24 months, 36 months after investing I'm sure a considerable amount of money in getting both of these platforms out.
I'm sure if you ask them is this a tactic and a strategy to extend the current lifecycle, they'll say absolutely. You add Kinect to the average price of an Xbox 360, you're back up to that $400 again. That's not the end of the cycle. We're nowhere near mass-market pricing. Maybe with the Wii - and you've seen a little bit of a downturn in that business. But they've sold a considerable amount of consoles.
Eurogamer: Do you expect Nintendo to bite first, then?
Peter Moore: I don't know. It can be, having been in this business, a little bit of a game of who blinks.
Eurogamer: You've been there before, of course.
Peter Moore: Yes I have. If a company feels they're losing momentum, you've exhausted the consumer base that is willing to pay that price point, and then you look at other tangibles and variables like what big first-party launches we've got coming out, where are we investing in third-parties, and then you make a hard call. It's a very difficult call for the companies because it's a lot of revenue that disappears. It comes right off the bottom line.
But at the same time, from the perspective of the platform holder, you can't afford to lose momentum in the marketplace, so you have to make that tough call. History has told us that comes when the companies involved think they're starting to exhaust the amount of consumers that will pay for a piece of hardware at that price point.