Moore: Next-gen could see more innovations before launch
EA COO and ex MS VP says "it's a brave new world"
When it comes to the console wars, EA COO Peter Moore has seen it all before. After all, as well as his current role overseeing work on Xbox One titles like Titanfall, he was Microsoft's corporate vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business when the Xbox 360 launched in 2005.
"These are long long races and right now I think we're in the locker room putting our shoes on to get ready to walk out to the start line for the marathon. And maybe if Microsoft put the wrong shoe on at first then they've got to go and take it off and find another one," he told GamesIndustry International at E3.
"If Microsoft put the wrong shoe on at first then they've got to go and take it off and find another one"
"People have to remember there isn't a finished box on this planet yet. Everything is still in pre-manufacturing and so there's a lot of changes that could be had, there's a lot of pricing discussions that involve bundles and subscriptions and different ways of goosing the price either way."
Of course there is one finished "next-gen" box on the planet, and that's Nintendo's Wii U. A quick glance at a list of EA's announced upcoming games doesn't show a lot of love for that console, but Moore points out that EA has four titles on Wii U already, and is watching its development with interest.
"We continue to monitor where Wii U goes, and it's a question then of where we deploy our resources. Resources are precious in this industry," he explains.
"We've got resources and we make decisions on mobile, free-to-play, PC games, you've got current gen, Xbox 360 - do we keep our crack development teams on current gen? Do we move them on to next gen? Who does current gen, is that the B team? So we have to make all of these hard decisions. Wii U has to be in that mix , and we're watching with interest what happens with Wii U and maybe it gets a boost coming out of E3 and it's something for us to look at again. "
One area where EA is happy to invest, according to Moore, is in new IP for the new consoles. He points to Gears Of War as an example of why this point of the new console cycle is the best time to launch IP, something that the company is doing with Respawn's Xbox One exclusive, Titanfall.
"The Respawn folks, at that time Vince [Zampella] and Jason [West], ourselves and the Microsoft team sat down and figured out what can we do that is unique and innovative that can help drive the relevancy of Xbox or Durango or whatever the hell we were calling it at that time, and from that perspective a deal was struck," he says.
"And it's almost as if you treat Respawn like a part of Microsoft Game Studio, per se, and it's about making a great experience for the gamer. It will get, as you might imagine, tremendous platform support and marketing support from Microsoft. It also allows the developer to focus everything on a singular platform which means ultimately they're going to get a much better game."
He's proud that EA had the foresight to support Respawn two years ago, and clearly believes the IP could be the next Gears Of War, a new and exciting franchise for a new and exciting machine.
Moore might be all about the games side of the business these days, but as a man who helped to steer the Xbox 360 to success he explains he's not concerned by the apparently high price of the latest iteration.
"It's less about the initial price point, it's the cascade over the years of how you bring in that next level of consumers and people who are committed to your platform."
"Pricing is important, but there's a long way between now and November for both companies "
"So from that perspective starting at $499 has you at a $100 disadvantage to the PlayStation 4, but knowing my former employer well and knowing how they've got a great deal of focus on how they can grow install bases - I always remember saying first to ten million wins back in the old days of 360 - and that's an important thing. "
He also hinted that both companies could have extra features in the pipeline that could affect prices in either direction. While he was non-committal, the mention of subsidised offers will be interesting to anyone who followed rumours earlier this year that said the Xbox One would be $500 on its own, or at $300 with some manner of subscription.
"Pricing is important, but there's a long way between now and November for both companies to do innovative things with bundling and maybe some surprises, who knows, some other things that may bring the price down, and maybe some things that send the price up."
"I don't know, it's a brave new world versus the old days of a singular piece of hardware with no services attached that simply you put in a cartridge or a disc and it played. It's more exciting nowadays and with that excitement gives you more opportunities to mess around with pricing. You may get some subsidised offers, who knows?"
"That's why I'm glad I'm this side of the fence."
Interview conducted by James Brightman.