There’s a common misperception regarding sports gaming; many of the “hardcore” gamers of the world think of the genre as a vast wasteland of mediocrity, homogeneous in nature with little to redeem itself.
Those in the know realize that’s not entirely the case, of course, and in the coming years, the rest of the gaming world might come to learn that as well.
That’s the kind of impact that Peter Moore can make.
Lured away from Microsoft by Electronic Arts this week, the former de facto head of the Xbox division will take over as president of EA Sports in August.
Moore, who’s also served as the chief operating officer of SEGA of America and ran the sports business at Reebok, is uniquely qualified to take over at EA Sports, even though the role seems to be a step down on the surface. Moore’s familial concerns and comfort with the Bay Area came into play, and the dumptruck full of money that EA parked in his driveway probably didn’t hurt.
“The people at EA Sports have created one of the strongest brands in the entertainmentand (chairman) John Riccitiello is building an organization which will extend the company’s leadership to new platforms and new audiences all over the world. I couldn’t be more excited about joining EA and moving my family back to the San Francisco Bay Area.” — Peter Moore, incoming president of EA Sports.
Moore’s departure leaves a gaping hole in Microsoft’s public front. He’s been replaced by Don Mattrick, who coincidentally, is a former president at EA himself. Mattrick’s a veteran; a talented individual with plenty of experience, and there’s no reason to expect any problems regarding the transition at the top. It remains to be seen, however, if he’s capable of filling Moore’s shoes in public; the witty Moore has a deserved reputation as a straight shooter with a minimum of glitz, which has made him rather unique among his peers.
Those very qualities will serve him well at EA Sports, where innovation sometimes falters when faced with the conservative business strategies of upper management. Moore’s a dynamo who tends to put his personal stamp on his work, and with the Xbox 360, he often steered that business towards an ever-expanding offering of online functionality - the very thing that EA Sports dramatically lacks in comparison to other publishers. Perhaps Moore will be able to finally drag EA Sports fully into the online pool, where it can embrace it’s audience; a vast community of like-minded people who love to compete by playing their games.
In other words, while this may be a homecoming of sorts for Moore, it may also just be a dream job - for him, and for sports gamers around the world.