Electronic Arts' Sports label is aiming to do battle with the world's big sports brands, under leadership from new president Peter Moore, by pushing forward with new online technologies - starting with a new quiz game free to players.
In a New York Times report, Moore - who started his new job yesterday after announcing his decision to step down as head of the Xbox business in July - said: "“There is a great opportunity to take EA Sports and turn it into a general sports brand that can compete not only with Take-Two and Konami and the other usual suspects in the video game world [...] to look at ourselves in a different way and compete with the likes of Nike and ESPN to win the hearts and minds of a very desirable demographic group, which is the 14-to-34-year-old male worldwide."
This could be done via "broadcast sports, sports camps, the ability to license consumer products around the EA Sports brand" and "technology that brings sports to life for coaches, players and television viewers, and it means services online for sports fans to connect with one another.”
Later today, EA plans to reveal a new project called GameShow, described as a live online trivia game while will be available free for PCs. The game will arrive later this year and is ad-supported, and lets players compete as individuals and teams. If a success, it could appear on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network.
“We continue to talk a good game about online, but we as publishers have not taken full advantage of that opportunity,” Moore said. “In some ways GameShow is a pilot for what we hope to be a much more substantial online presence going forward.”
Moore wants to the division to focus more of its activity on PC - so far it has built its FIFA and Madden business via console releases predominantly - as that's the platform of choice in the growing and emergent South Korea and China markets.
“It may sound like heresy, but I’m not here to just sell more Maddens and more FIFAs,” Mr. Moore said. “Protecting our base is very important, but I didn’t come here to just maintain the status quo and build the business five to seven percent a year.”
Specifically, he thinks EA could launch its own site for news and social networking:
“As a sports fan, for the information I have to collate every morning, I have to go to 8 to 10 to 13 different sites just to hit my favorite bookmarks. Yahoo has a lot, and ESPN too, but ESPN is very North American. I think we have an opportunity to aggregate information and bring it to life with video technologies.
“If we look at this connected world we’re entering, sports is a sort of social and cultural glue that reaches across the globe. There is an opportunity for EA Sports to evolve beyond a games brand to become a true global sports and entertainment brand, and I think we can compete there.”