EA's Chief Competitive Officer Peter Moore spoke to Gamereactor at Gamelab in Barcelona after his esports-focused speech "Making Every Player a Star". Both his full panel and the complete interview on topics such as passion, the company's competitive approach and infrastructure, Battlefield, and competition from outside the publisher, will be available on the site this week, but first we wanted to share highlights from a couple of answers on how FIFA and its new entry, FIFA 17, are adopting the whole competitive angle.
First of all, how does all the esports scene impact game development? Are we heading to a platform-based service, without the traditional yearly release? According to Moore, "I think people still feel that they love an annual FIFA, they love an annual Madden". And the reason is "there's always been a desire for sport gamers to have a new game that coincides with the new season".
But the CCO thinks the key is elsewhere when trying to keep players engaged, just like with real sports:
"What is different though has been how we kept those games alive", explains Moore. "Six, seven years ago you got FIFA, and we would update it a little bit... but there wasn't a day to day - like we have now - reflection of what's going on in the world of real football. We have a very large team in Vancouver [Canada] that all they do is look at what we need to do to deliver everything that's going on in real football in the world of FIFA, every day: team of the week, team of the season, Messi announces he no longer wants to play internationally for Argentina - that needs to be reflected".
Thus, Moore sees EA keeping the annual release, but adopting a more active approach on daily content.
"When we look at that, games are turning very much into live services", as the veteran executive continues, joking: "Sport games in particular, because whilst you have a Battlefield, yeah not much happening in World War 1 right now, because it happened. You have FIFA or Madden - a ton of stuff goes on every single day, and it's our job and our goal to deliver that to the players and make everything feel fresh"
This led to a question about what EA has learned from the Madden competitive scene in the US. Can we expect more local events for FIFA in Europe going forward?
"Absolutely", confirms Moore. "One thing we've learned is that we need to have more regular competitions, we need to have feeder systems feeding up all the way up until the FIFA Interactive World Cup, we need to make sure that we have something going on every weekend, that feels the more you play the better chance you have getting to the live tournaments and ultimately to those World Cup finals."
Fans can expect new esports-related FIFA 17 announcements, as the game might very well be the top priority for EA in terms of the competitive field:
"What you'll see from us, and we're about to announce it in the coming weeks, is it's stepping up the scale, stepping up the prize money", adds Moore.
"And this is going to happen twelve months a year, there's going to be more events in more countries, we've got to go to live events in studios and do stuff like that. More to come on that, more to announce, but FIFA is a very important part of our plans for competitive gaming and right now in my mind it's probably the number one because of the global reach, and what we need to do and the best opportunity for us".