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Moore plays it casual at EA Sports relaunch

EA Sports boss unveils major new focus on casual consumers

Back in the spotlight for the first time since his swansong performance at E3 2007, Peter Moore was on ebullient form as he detailed his bold vision for the future of EA Sports, unveiling a major play for the casual consumer.

Speaking to a packed auditorium of invited press at EA Sports' Vancouver HQ, the former Xbox boss lifted the lid on the All Play Wii range and new Freestyle brand, as well as talking up the latest instalments of the division's core sporting franchises.

At the heart of Moore's message was an acknowledgement of how the games market has evolved, and of the need to adapt to exploit new opportunities.

"As we look at the make-up of the new consumer coming in, it's very important to us at EA Sports that we have the ability to have something for them that really allows them to pick up and play and have fun immediately, while at the same time not forgetting our core consumer," he said.

"Our games can be too hard sometimes. And while we have no intention whatsoever in dumbing down the experience we all love and that is driving a multi-billion dollar business for us here at EA Sports, we still have an issue here of approachability."

The All Play range launches later this year, with five titles initially earmarked for release under the banner, including Wii-specific versions of FIFA, Tiger Woods, NBA, Madden and NCAA. The former evangelist of the core gamer-focused Xbox 360 yesterday preached a new message of simplicity and inclusion.

"We're still an intimidating entertainment experience and we have to break down the barriers," he insisted. "The idea of accessibility – when you've got the controller in your hand, it doesn't look like a foreign object of buttons and d-pads and sticks and triggers, and allows people to get in and instantly have fun."

Producer Dave McCarthy joined Moore to demonstrate Madden 09 and NCAA All Play. Madden makes use of Nintendo's Mii characters and allows players to deploy their team using by 'drawing' paths with the Wii remote.

"People of all abilities playing at the same time – that really embodies the spirit of All Play that you'll see across all of our Wii line-up this coming holiday season," offered McCarthy.

Moore further announced EA Sports Freestyle as a new sub-brand of the division, again casual focused, but designed to cover "IP that isn't normally what you'd see from us, that isn't fully licensed, that isn't a full, authentic simulation of the game experience itself."

The president of EA Sports revealed that cartoon boxing title Facebreaker would be the first release in the range later this year.

"We want to present a different persona for some of our games - looking at this new consumer, bringing in more pick up and play, more inclusive, more social games," he added.

"It's part of the bigger story about what EA Sports needs to do to continue to grow past our core. Under no circumstances are we walking away from the core experience of what we've known and loved over the past two decades and been able to build as a sports brand. At the same time we recognise that our industry's changing, that the consumer is changing and we need to be able to bring new experiences."

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Johnny Minkley: Johnny Minkley is a veteran games writer and broadcaster, former editor of Eurogamer TV, VP of gaming charity SpecialEffect, and hopeless social media addict.
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