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Söderlund: EA Sports can learn a lot from other departments

New head hopes to make FIFA, NHL, Madden less "iterative"

Patrick Söderlund, EA's new head of Sports, has spoken about what he thinks his new division can learn from his old, telling's Thomas Arnroth that games like FIFA, NHL and Madden can learn a lot from the new ideas which EA's other franchises focus on for each new game.

"I think there's a lot Sports and Games can learn from each other," Söderlund explained. "On one hand, it's still game development, which both Games and Sports does. But Sports products are more cyclical, more iterative, while the Games division is more about constantly making new things. There, for example, we can take the knowledge from the Games to Sports, to develop new products and new ways to play. This is one of the ways I think I can contribute."

Taking his new role as part of the large scale reshuffle which saw ex-EA sports head Andrew Wilson named as CEO this week, Söderlund is likely on a well defined path upwards. For the enigmatic Swede, the change comes with a great deal of responsibility and pressure, but he seems prepared for the task.

"This was not an obvious decision for me, I have said no to the second step in my career within the EA before. But this time I feel I have something to contribute, that I can help develop sports games. This is everything to me: I must know that I have something to offer.

"It is always nerve wracking before releasing a new game: it's part of the business and it would be strange otherwise. If I said it didn't feel a bit exciting, I would be lying. Games and Sports accounts for 85-90 percent of EA's total revenue, so it is clear that there is some pressure."

With a background in sport that includes international level volleyball and high end racing, Söderlund is well equipped for his new job, but he reveals that he hasn't been quite as prepared for other recent new responsibilities - particularly the job of overseeing Bioware's output.

"In that case I was much more hesitant," he allowed. "You have to admit it, Bioware knows what it's are doing, they do something that obviously is very good. But in the end I have had things to contribute there as well, things that I believe will make their games better in the end. Of course they do all the work, I can not take any credit for that, but it's more about ways to work, new ways of seeing things or doing things. To say yes to being the head of EA Sports was a much easier decision."

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