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Moore: PC sports market has declined

Thu 03 Jul 2008 8:24am GMT / 4:24am EDT / 1:24am PDT
Business

Consoles and piracy have helped put the squeeze on the changing PC market, says EA Sports boss

Consoles like the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 have lured sports gamers away from a PC market already moving towards a download model and under threat from piracy, forcing developers to prioritise other formats.

That's the view of Peter Moore, boss of EA Sports, who outlined his views on Peter Moore's Official Blog this week.

Next-generation consoles "with their high definition graphics and 5.1 sound capabilities have attracted millions of consumers to eschew the 'lean in' PC sports gaming experience for the 'lean back' full room console experience," Moore wrote.

"Businesses have to make hard trade offs for where to invest for the best return, thus creating capital to make even more games," he explained. "I know this concept touches a nerve with some of you, but our industry is founded on publishers that have driven for financially-successful games and then re-invested the proceeds in development of even more content for gamers to enjoy.

"It's a simple financial premise, and an obligation for publically-traded companies who answer to their shareholders. We are not making games in garages or bedrooms any more."

But Moore reserved his harshest criticism for the people who steal games off the Internet. "Piracy is an issue," he wrote.

"Sorry, I know many of you disagree with me on this, but the numbers don't lie. Companies spend millions developing content, and deserve to see a return on investment for their risk. The employees developing the game design, writing code and creating art deserve to get paid for their work. Period."

Moore's comments are particularly interesting as they come just days after Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime told Eurogamer.net that suggestions the PC games market is in decline are "just completely dead wrong". "PC is the gaming platform with the largest installed base around the world. It's also the platform with the best margins," Morhaime had said.

Morhaime was reacting somewhat to similar sentiments from Valve boss Gabe Newell, whose company flew journalists to Seattle in May from around the world to evangelise the PC as a platform.

"We think the number of connected PC gamers we are selling our products to dwarf the current generation of consoles put together," Newell had told the press on that occasion. "There are tremendous opportunities in figuring out how to reach out to those customers."

For his part, Moore added that EA Sports is still exploring options on the PC. "In order to make fundamental shifts in an ecosystem, you sometimes have to hit the reset button. That's what we have done this year at EA Sports as regards some of our franchises on the PC," he wrote.

"That does not mean that we aren't coming back next year with new, innovative, maybe even less-expensive ways to play all of our franchises on the PC, but for right now we are assessing all of the options open to us to shift the current paradigm for our games on this platform," he wrote.

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