Casual shift 'drove developers from EA'

Casual shift 'drove developers from EA'
Michael French

By Michael French

August 13th 2009 at 2:10PM

Moore says some EA Sports staff found accepting Wii and mass market audiences too tough

The rise of the casual gamer and the impact thad on games development drove away some of EA Sports' staff, according to Peter Moore.

Speaking in the keynote at today's Edinburgh Interactive conference, the EA Sports boss said that Electronic Arts had to work hard to address the transition to online audiences and the mass market.

"In all the games we made, everything was focused on making things more realistic," he said when looking back at the history of games development prior to the arrival of the Wii. This was no different amongst EA's clutch of sports games, he said: "Each year – particularly at the beginning of  a cycle – sports games were used to show how realistic video games had become.

"That was fine back in the early '80s when there was a huge chasm beteen what the real world looked like and what games showed.

"But then this thing [the Wii] came along and presented us with some challenges. The dynamics changed with the launch of the Wii – play and fun was coming back in, the demographic was changing enormously, and the amount of time to play was being compressed."

For EA Sports, that meant its biggest competition was Wii Sports. Moore said that the firm's dev teams “were being challenged by this sports experience which was being delivered for free with every piece of hardware”.

However staff too used to making games for core consumers, and unwilling to approach making games for bigger audiences less hung up on technical on-screen oomph, couldn't take the change of pace, he added.

"It was hard. A lot of people at that time thought they would move on from our studios –they wanted to chase the core consumer."

EA Sports has two major development studios for its games - one in Vancouver, Canada, the other in Flordia, USA.

Since then, however, Moore said EA Sports has made efforts to score itself a 'position with social and family entertainment’, via things like its dedicated Wii sports games and innovative new online experiences.

The comments were made as part of his keynote talk at the Edinburgh Interactive conference, where Moore also reiterated his plans to make EA Sports a brand as recognised as the likes of Nike and Adidas.