The concept of competitive gaming isn’t something new for Electronic Arts, having hosted various tournaments for its FIFA franchise in the past decade. However, it wasn’t until 2015 when the company established a separate Competitive Gaming Division under the leadership of Peter Moore that would focus solely on esports.
As a publishing giant, one would had expected EA to come out swinging. However, the company chose a rather modest approach to carve its name in the world of competitive gaming.
“We went in with a very clear strategy, and that’s to make stars of all our players,” Moore told theScore esports. “And that strategy means that we need to build community events, we need to focus very much on building a strong infrastructure that could manage massively scaled online tournaments.”
The executive vice president pointed out that the world of esports is not so easy to get into. Before transforming its core titles into esports havens, there are several other challenges that must be tackled first.
Compared to other big names in the world of competitive gaming, EA finds itself in a rather unique predicament. Traditional sports, which Moore highlighted as a double-edged sword, makes it easy for the company to garner an audience.
“Pretty much anybody, period, can watch a game of soccer or watch a game of American football and understand to a certain level what’s going on and enjoy it,” he said. “I’m not sure that’s the case with a MOBA, and we have that advantage. It’s eminently viewable and understandable from the get-go.”
However, since EA is competing with the real thing, it makes it all the more difficult to convince the audience to watch a FIFA tournament rather than a real-life live soccer match. There must be a balance as well as attraction for the audience to choose between the two.
More interestingly, Moore admitted that team-based gameplay is vital for a healthy esports environment. Most of the popular online multiplayer games have players teaming up with each other. That is not the case with EA where its main sports titles focus on individual performances.
EA is chalking out a plan to change this aspect in the future. In the case of Battlefield 1, the company is pursuing a competitive model later this year which will promote team-based activity. This will result in significant changes to the game itself; meaning smaller maps, clearer objectives, balanced gameplay, and more. Peter Moore, though, refrained from sharing those details.