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Archive for February, 2010

On February 10thElectronic Arts Logo, my class had the distinct privilege of meeting Peter Moore, President of EA Sports. Peter was fresh back from watching Super Bowl XLIV; his Madden NFL Super Bowl simulation had accurately predicted the outcome of the game (proudly, for the sixth time in the last seven years). It is amazing to hear how much data regarding player stats across all the major sports are being stored by EA immediately following each game to ensure gamers have the most realistic experience possible, which also enables such powerful simulators.

This was the only class session I’ve ever held when the students really didn’t care when class was over. Peter is incredibly engaging and cordial, in addition to being a brilliant leader in his industry – marked by his award as one of Sports Business Journal’s Most Influential People in 2007 and 2008.

I could write a short book on the experience; however, I will limit myself to listing some of the interesting moves EA has taken in recent years to remain relevant and adapt in the rapidly evolving gaming industry, which underpinned my students’ learning from the Innovator’s Dilemma.

Capturing the core. There’s no question Electronic Arts is the leading video game producer in the world with approximately 20% market share and a near cult-like following by core sports video game players. These players demand continuous innovation with respect to realism. Although realism is critical, keeping EA’s audience engaged means moving to a more interactive, user centered approach. Players can now build their own teams online with EA Sports Team Builder. Peter gave the example that fans of this feature have been building their old high school teams with realism down to building the precise jersey.  EA now has 2.2 million players completing at least one online game each day.

Globalize. Global growth means localizing products such as FIFA Online 2. In order to learn what users want, they give it away free, while constantly monitoring game play to continually improve the gaming experience. It has now reached 7 million users in Asia & China.

Captivate the masses. The growth of the casual gaming segment started with online gaming, but took off with the introduction of the Nintendo Wii back in 2006. This audience, for whom innovation related to realism does not have a great attraction, is a whole new segment for EA Sports.  Although adaption of franchise games hasn’t always been easy, innovation means inventing new types of games such as EA Sports Active which target women in their 30’s and 40’s – a whole new audience for EA Sports.

I could carry on, but I can summarize the main takeaway I had which is that Peter and his division are not afraid of change. From digitization to globalization and new consumer segments, they are willing to usher in new business models and extend their brand into places not anticipated only a few years ago.

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