Peter MooreChris Kohler, who is on of my favorite interviewers, sat down with Peter Moore recently, and the result is here: Q&A: Electronic Arts COO Fights to Lead the New Game Industry.
Moore is always interesting, and Kohler leads him interesting directions--free to play, for example, which he discusses at length.
This is my favorite part, though:
As a company, we made the decision many many years ago to do less is more. When I arrived we had 67 games in development for console and PC, that we were either about to deliver or had just been greenlit or were in alpha or beta. We’re now down to 14 this fiscal year. We’ve added 41 games this fiscal year which are social, mobile, and free to play.
Who EA is in the five years that I’ve been here has changed radically. We were a big game developer and creator, and you threw it against the wall and you put the marketing behind it and it was a good quality game and you just hoped it landed. And I don’t want to say it was a scattershot approach, but it was by sheer force of just throwing so much against the consumer we know we’re going to [get a hit]. It was Hollywood. We’re no longer Hollywood. We’re more precise than that.
If you look at what we needed to do, we put up big bets and now we have more marketing money to put behind our top-quality games. And we just don’t work in that middle tier anymore because we moved our resources to the Facebook platform, the mobile phone platform and pushing people back to PC. That’s where those people have gone.
We’re accused of being too safe, but then I’ll point to Mirror’s Edge — not a commercial success in the broad terms that we look at it, but certainly as an innovation, was brilliant. The art style, the character herself, the idea of taking this kind of parkour thing but a backstory of authoritarianism in cities, it was brilliant. Again, and you take risks — we don’t get credit a lot for the risks we take.
That's awesome. Mirror's Edge was released in November 2008--four years ago. That's how far Moore needs to go back to be able to mention a game that took "risks".
It can be argued that EA was going to collapse if they didn't change the way that they did business, but for any consumer who enjoys games instead of spreadsheets, it's been a painful transition.