Eurogamer: The timing of your departure from Microsoft. You'd been there a while, were the figurehead and achieved a lot. And 2007 was seen as a huge year for Xbox with the quality of the software and the window of opportunity it had to make a mark before PS3 really gained momentum. Sony has just claimed PS3 has overtaken 360 in Europe, and 360 is struggling in other areas. From your point of view, was there a sense that you were getting close to the limit of what you could achieve with market share, and maybe it was time to move on?
Peter Moore: No, I think it was two things, and I've said it over and over. My family wanted to get back to the Bay area; my daughter graduated from Berkeley a couple of years ago and she works at Edelmen public relations and wanted to be back in San Francisco. My son never moved to Seattle - he graduates in two weeks from Berkeley. And we've lived a long time in the Bay area, and as much as I thoroughly enjoyed working at Microsoft there was really a yearning for getting back to what we as Brits living in America call home, which is the San Francisco Bay area.
And you get to the point in your life where you say, do I live where I work, or do I work where I live? For me, I would rather live in the Bay area, nothing against Seattle, and there's only really one job I would have taken to leave Xbox and that's president of EA Sports.
And I wouldn't have come to EA if the label structure wasn't in place; there was really no room for me [before then]. But when [EA CEO] John Riccitiello called me and said 'here's what we're doing' it was very tempting, and we got into a conversation.
The combination of taking my previous 17 years... People think I'm a videogames industry veteran. No, I'm a shoe dog. I worked at Patrick for many years and then at Reebok. And melding that love and knowledge of sport, particularly being a European and having my finger on the pulse of what's going on in Europe, as well as having a really good knowledge of sports in America for a Liverpudlian.
And then bringing videogames experience. It's all, as you saw in the presentation, where sports and games collide right at EA Sports. So it was a combo of a great job, living back in the Bay area, and yeah it broke my heart leaving Microsoft, but sometimes you have decisions to make and this is one I did. There was no 'I think it's a good time to leave'. None of that.
Eurogamer: Do you still feel an emotional connection to Microsoft?
Peter Moore: Oh, of course you do. You do, but from the point of view that I now work for a company that's multi-platform third-party, and you like to see your friends do well - I think there's some serious money involved over there - and I'm still in contact with them.
At the same time, my goal is to grow EA Sports, and I need the PS3 to continue to gain momentum, I've got to readjust my brand on Nintendo Wii, I've got to look at what we do on PC. I'm hung, drawn and quartered in a lot of circles over some of the decisions, but the PC for sports has serious business challenges. We're continuing with FIFA and NHL on the PC because of strong interest and good business opportunities. But our consumers have moved to where they enjoy sports on their widescreen TVs and in their living rooms. It was purely a business decision - we can't afford to lose money on PC franchises.
Eurogamer: Do you still think 360 is going to win this generation?
Peter Moore: Ah, you know, it's interesting. You hope that everybody does well. The thing I love about this generation is that, and I said this a long time ago, all three platforms have set up stalls that are very distinctive. It's not like in the old days, when Dreamcast and PlayStation, then PlayStation 2 and Xbox were all crowding into a similar space. Depending on what you want out of games now, there's three distinctive platforms.
Clearly Xbox is about online, connectivity and social entertainment; the Wii is about fun and pick-up-and-play and getting off the couch; and the PlayStation 3 seems to have benefited from the GTA launch well, and we're starting to see some hardware numbers and it's finally started to pick up speed. So what you've got now is three platforms doing well.
When I started in this business everybody said never can more than two consoles ever be successful, but I'm not sure that's the case. We're seeing good numbers from Xbox 360 on a fiscal basis, and the statement that I made and that Robbie [Bach] reiterated that it will be successful in terms of profitability this year looks like it's going to happen.
I saw Kaz Hirai apologise this morning on some of the problems. But they're turning a corner and Nintendo continues to go from strength to strength. I was on a retail tour last week in Arkansas, Minnesota and Texas and in multiple stores you couldn't find a Nintendo Wii. How stunning is that, two and a half years on?
Eurogamer: Is it a relief now not to have to be partisan about hardware?
Peter Moore: I was partisan because I truly believed in what we were doing. I was there from the get-go with the 360 from the launch. And I look back at the days of looking at the designs and figuring out the launch portfolio, getting our pricing strategy, getting our launch, figuring out when we could ship Halo 3, could this game Gears of War actually drive hardware? I enjoyed that, but now I've got different problems. I'm delivering ten franchises every year on multiple platforms, but I love it, I really do. The atmosphere here in Vancouver particularly, what a great facility this is, great people, it's a lot of fun.
Eurogamer: Finally, Tom wanted me to ask you if, now Phil Harrison's moved over to Atari, you're going to start picking on them just to keep the old rivalry going?
Peter Moore: Well, DG's there as well and [Atari CEO] David Gardner's such a nice guy. It's very difficult to pick on David Gardner. Phil and I... I think the consumer really likes to think that, in the old days when it was Kaz, Reggie or I, and Phil a little later on, we actually disliked each other.
We're competitive, we have a lot of fun, we're all personalities. I think the industry benefits from having personalities that enjoy talking to the community. I've got a blog going now and I'm usually vilified every day, but that's the price of having a blog. We're trying to talk to our community in a different way, and blogs are a great way of trying to get a personal experience. But we put people up there and people just love to bitch and moan.
Eurogamer: That's the Internet for you.
Peter Moore: That is the Internet. But we'll continue to communicate, we'll continue to give news, and if they continue to bitch and moan that's their right.