Will Peter Moore ever get over leaving Microsoft? Back in May, the former Xbox boss told us it "broke his heart" to say goodbye. But he's had a whole year to get over it now, and to settle into his new role as head of EA Sports.
So how has Moore enjoyed the last 12 months? What's been his biggest success? What work is there still to be done? And now he's moved from platform holder to third-party publisher, who does he think is winning the console race? Read on to find out.
Eurogamer: What do you consider to have been your biggest achievement during your first 12 months at EA Sports?
Peter Moore: Other than the Sports Bar I set up in the office? [Laughs.] I think making the games more approachable, getting the development teams to understand it's a different marketplace. There are different consumers coming in who would love to be a part of the EA sports nation - but sometimes the games can be just a little difficult.
Under no circumstances are we dumbing the games down. But at the same time, we need to be able to provide an easier entry point for EA Sports games. I'm the poster child for the whole thing because I find some of our games challenging. I want to be able to play them more quickly and have a fun experience from the get-go. If it doesn't work for me it isn't working for the average consumer. So I think the message of approachability and accessibility is important.
Then there's globalisation. I have a different view from the average American consumer on what sports is on a global basis. We have a much more global outlook when it comes to opportunities for EA Sports. Particularly here in Europe, where for the best part of what we do here is primarily FIFA and then other games. We do sell NBA here, we do sell NHL, but FIFA is a huge percentage of what we do.
Eurogamer: What haven't you yet achieved that you'd hoped to?
Peter Moore: I don't think we've globalised as quickly as we can. We need to move a little quicker with online features. We know the future is online, we know the future is different channels of distribution using online, and we haven't quite started to think through how we do that, working with our retail partners and making that a reality. So we need to accelerate that a little bit more.
Eurogamer: EA has clearly tried to shake off the image of being the big money factory that churns sequels out year after year, with the introduction of original IP like Mirror's Edge. But you could argue EA Sports is one area of the business that's still pursuing that model, producing a new Tiger Woods each year, a new FIFA... Is there ever a day where you'll say, 'Okay, we've made the best football game we can - at least on this generation of consoles. Let's stop now'?
Peter Moore: I hope that day arrives, where we just say, 'It's perfect.' The fact is no game is perfect. I'd like to think we continue to innovate. The announcement we made this morning about Adidas Live Season is a great example of how we're continuing to make games feel fresh every year. Online is a huge opportunity for us, and I don't think we've scratched the surface yet, particularly in football, of what you can do to connect football fans around the world.
I'd like to think one day we'll have the perfect game, but we're a long way from perfection, like most games are. No game is perfect.
Eurogamer: Why should people play FIFA instead of Pro Evo?
Peter Moore: Our game was not perfect three years ago. We had a lot of challenges... Simple things like ball physics, the handling, the way the players ran off the ball, all of that has been addressed. The game has come enormously far and when you layer in what we're doing online now, our investment in licences... We've always taken great pride in the investments we make in football, to make sure the football videogame fan gets the most authentic and fully licenced experience.
Eurogamer: At E3 this year, Nintendo unveiled the new Motion Plus add-on for the Wii remote. What's your response to that? How much impact is it likely to have on EA Sports games?
Peter Moore: We've yet to really figure out what it can actually do. It's been a few weeks since our teams started to get their hands on it. We think MotionPlus is really exciting for tennis; the nuances of what you can actually do with the racket are yet to be explored with any of the tennis games currently available for Wii.
It's very much a blank canvas, but I think the ability for us to look at tennis, look at golf, even look at things like football and basketball and perhaps new intellectual property... We'll know more soon, but I think it's a huge plus for sports games.
Eurogamer: Are you waiting for the technology to prove itself? Some critics have suggested what Nintendo's doing with MotionPlus is what it set out to do originally with the Wii remote, but didn't quite achieve...
Peter Moore: We're not going to wait, we're right there with everybody else; we just don't know yet. I'm not sure Nintendo really knows yet what you can do. As to your point, maybe this is Wii Remote 2.0, and like a lot of things you learn a lot as you go. Nintendo is constantly evolving what the Wii experience should be. Having more sensitivity can only be a plus; we just have to figure out how we use that.
No, we're not going to be wait-and-see - we're right there experimenting with everybody else. We don't know yet because we haven't really had it for more than a few weeks what we can do with it. But we're excited, obviously.
Eurogamer: At this year's E3 you'll have seen the platform holder conferences from the perspective of a third-party company for the first time...
Peter Moore: Yep.
Eurogamer: So who won?
Peter Moore: When I was on the other side of the curtain, being the front for Microsoft, I always hated "winners"... It's so subjective. I think all three did very well, they got their messages over. It was a tough E3.
I think Nintendo delivered a very confident message about being the thought leader in the industry. They're bringing new people in, and I was enthused to see things like the MotionPlus. Microsoft delivered an update to Xbox Live that has people intrigued and excited, and they've got great content coming through. They're clearly continuing to broaden their platform, which is really necessary.
And finally PlayStation 3 - I think Jack Tretton did a really nice job of outlining the content that's coming. Things like LittleBigPlanet are going to make a big difference, Killzone 2... Things they've been promising for a while but are only now finally delivering.
I'm excited for all of them and of course excited for us, as a company that is a multi-platform publisher. When you see all three with a very clear message, it's exciting.
Eurogamer: At Microsoft's conference, Don Mattrick pledged to sell more consoles than any other platform holder in this generation. If you still had that job, would you have been happy to stand on stage and make that statement?
Peter Moore: If that were the truth and the metrics bore it out, then yeah. Some years ago I said ten million was an important milestone. I still believe that's an important milestone that really starts to give you critical mass. I think that's been borne out with some of the progress the Xbox 360 has made, in particular with developers and publishers.
Don must have the facts. He must know what his SKU line-up looks like for the next couple of years. I'm a guy that always supports big bold statements, so more credit to them. When you put a line in the sand it's good for the business and it shows confidence, which is important.
Eurogamer: There seems to be an ever-widening perception that NIntendo is running its own separate one-horse race these days, while Xbox 360 momentum is slowing down just as the PS3 finally starts picking up. Do you think that's an accurate view of the market?
Peter Moore: Obviously the numbers call out that Nintendo is a) bringing in new gamers and b) convincing people they need two consoles in their home, whether the other one is a PS3 or a 360 or even a PS2. It's clear Nintendo is blazing new ground and continuing to grow the market.
I think what we should all be excited about is the fact the price points haven't yet really come down to mass market price points. So there's huge runway still to bring in tens of millions more people, a lot of people who would say they weren't gamers until this generation.
This holiday is going to be interesting. We'll see if there will be price movement, which I think we're all sensing there will be. And we'll see who will be the beneficiary of that as installed bases continue to grow.
Peter Moore is president of EA Sports.