During E3 this year it was clear that EA was focusing heavily on eSports, an emphasis that seems to be a new company-wide direction for the behemoth publisher.
EA’s Peter Moore has spoken out about the new move towards eSports in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz. “”We have done a ton of analysis, and everybody loves eSports,” he says. “They see big stadiums, and glitz, and glamour, and fine, that’s the top [of the pyramid]. But there’s a lot more to it.”
Moore goes on to explain that he sees eSports as a three-tier business, from the dorm-room gamers setting up their own LAN tournaments, to the Premiers arranged by ESL et al and sponsored by the likes of Coca Cola to the publisher’s own EA Majors.
“We’ll go in,” explains Moore of the EA organised tournaments, “[and] write big checks to the winners recognising they’re working hard. We’ll build the glitz and glamour type events, which then you aspire to.”
Moore then goes on to discuss the expectations from the involvement of a big company like EA when compared to the third-party events. “We’ve already written our terms and conditions,” he says, “the Code of Conduct is built in that and if you’re taking part today, they already know what we expect of them.
“Because this is an EA Major right here, and if you’re going to compete, you need to be… you look over those things, drug taking, Adderall, Ritalin, match fixing, if someone is gambling on the game, which you don’t see so much here in the US but in Asia it’s a big deal.”
Moore says that signing these contracts will be important – “the same way if you’re a real athlete, you’ve got morals clauses, you’ve got disparagement” – and that this is necessary to keep eSports legitimate and fair.
But what is interesting is Moore’s mention of the prize money and how these large figures are being handed out to “teenage boys”, alluding to the negative effect such money can have on younger minds. Just take a look at any child celebrity as examples of just that.
He adds: “So we need to help them. In the same way, you may not know, but when the NFL gets its rookies all together, they do two days away where lawyers talk to them, psychologists talk to them.” Moore claims that we’re “not quite there yet” with competitive gaming, but that it’s “our obligation” to help them understand and handle such a lifestyle,
EA has a huge roster of games that it can use to leverage for eSports, and Moore talks in greater detail about eSports over on the GI website, discussing elements such as diversity in competitive gaming and how eSports benefits a game publisher.