Last week, San Francisco managed to squeeze one more video game conference out: the MI6 Video Game Marketing Conference. EA Sports President Peter Moore addressed a crowd eager to hear how EA Sports is planning to tackle the emerging casual market. Now, for the hardcore fans of Madden, Fifa, etc., Moore explained that the future is bright (did you expect him to say anything else?) The more interesting aspect of Moore’s presentation was its focus on targeting the casual market.
The casual market, which has been a cash cow for Nintendo this generation, is one that EA Sports looks to go after as it readies itself for the release of EA Sports Active, a Wii Sports/Fit competitor that offers one thing that Nintendo couldn’t to soccer moms, grandparents, and well, anyone else who owns a Wii – the EA Sports branding.
As Venture Beat reports:
” The average player of EA Sports Active will “probably be a woman, 35, with two kids at home,” who wants to stay fit, Moore said. Someone from the team demoed the game on-stage, quickly playing through a running game, a boxing game, and more. EA Sports Active will be customizable, both in the type of sports you play and the intensity of the workout, and it will include a a stretch band, as well as a tool for attaching part of the Wii remote to your leg (so it can track track the movement of your whole body). But why would someone play this instead of Wii Fit? Moore compared the difference between the two products to that between eastern (Wii) and western (EA) fitness. Whereas Wii Fit emphasizes things like proper form and balance, EA Sports Active will “make sure you actually risk breaking into a sweat.”
Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? By going after the casual market, EA Sports will have a chance to profit off of a consumer base that is (going by the success of Wii Sports) eager to implement gaming into its “lifestyle”. I think this is a smart strategy by EA and a great opportunity for them to extend the EA Sports brand name. Here are my only concerns.
While I am all for introducing new users to sports video games, I am not quite comfortable with having titles such as EA Sports Active, Wii Fit, etc. try to position themselves as tools for exercise. I’ll admit, I have not seen enough of EA Sports Active to make a judgment as to whether Peter Moore’s claim that the title will induce “sweat” is true or not. I have seen Wii Sports and Wii Fit in action, and let me tell you, you aren’t looking like this after a few rounds of Wii Boxing:
Second, as someone who looks forward to every new detail in the more hardcore EA Sports titles, I am a bit concerned that by focusing on the casual market, EA may take some attention (and resources) away from new Maddens, Tigers, and Fifas. I hope EA Sports can give the appropriate attention to its loyal consumer base that it deserves. Will the casual 35-year-old Mom with two kids appreciate improved physics and enhanced QB vision as much as a “Maddenite” would?
I’ll be keeping a close eye on EA Sports Active and am hoping that in the end, both the hardcore and the casual are satisfied. Because who doesn’t want to look good in spandex, right?