EA’s Peter Moore says a fond adios to the game industry


When Peter Moore put the launch dates for Halo 2 and Grand Theft Auto IV on his biceps, I thought he was in for good. But it was not to be. Today was the final day for Electronic Arts executive in an industry he’s been a part of since the late 1990s.

Moore resigned his post as chief competition officer at EA to become the CEO at the Liverpool Football Club in England. In doing so, he will return to his first love — sports — in running the operations of a Premier League soccer team.

“Today is my final day in the video game industry,” Moore wrote on Facebook. “These are the words that I have dreaded writing for weeks now, following the announcement of my appointment as CEO of Liverpool FC. I am leaving behind thousands of great memories that comprise the career journey of a lifetime. From the advent of online gaming, albeit via a 56K modem, to the ‘console wars,’ and now to games as 365 days-a-year live experiences, I have been fortunate to have borne witness to the amazing growth of this, our wonderful gaming industry.”

Moore is one of the larger-than-life characters of the game industry, an athlete who moved from Reebok to Sega in 1998 to launch the Dreamcast game console. Bernie Stolar recalled that when Sega CEO Hayao Nakayama met Moore, Nakayama said, “Why did you hire a shoe salesman?” Stolar said that Moore really knew how to build a brand.

Above: Peter Moore

Image Credit: Microsoft

And yes, Moore turned out to be more than a shoe salesman. Sega fired Stolar shortly before the Dreamcast’s launch, and Moore took over in the U.S. The former soccer coach helped Sega launch the Dreamcast in the U.S., selling 9 million units worldwide and turning North America into the console’s best market. But the doomed box lost its fight with Sony and Nintendo, and Sega left the console business.

Moore joined Microsoft in 2003 to help launch the Xbox 360 game console. That’s where he showed off the tattoos on his biceps for Halo 2, when he announced the launch date of the game, and later when he announced GTA IV would come to the Xbox. (The GTA IV tattoo was temporary). As Glixel noted in an interview with Moore, he was a rare personality in games amid some very corporate executives.

He helped launch the Xbox 360 console and make some of the key decisions behind the console strategy. Moore also had to deal with the flak when it turned out that the Xbox 360 had systemic defects that resulted in huge returns and a billion-dollar write-off. One of his less diplomatic moments was when he said to my former colleague, Mike Antonucci, of the San Jose Mercury News, “Ya know, things break.”

Moore left Microsoft to head EA Sports at Electronic Arts in 2007. He rose to chief operating officer, the No. 2 executive at EA, and he served as chief competition officer in his last role. He always had a sense of humor. I recall that while onstage at an EA E3 press conference, Moore poked fun of my roller bag in front of the vast audience. His whole approach was to cater to the core fans while making games accessible to the mainstream.

In his goodbye note, he said about gamers, “If you are a gamer, take a deep breath and a moment of reflection occasionally and admire the incredible creativity of the medium you love. And if a game disappoints, provide constructive feedback, not the vitriol that is unfortunately so prevalent nowadays.”

He added, “As for me, I am crystal clear in understanding that I was merely the front man for your brilliant achievements, the “suit” that sometimes did goofy, cheesy stunts and speeches to draw attention to your phenomenally creative talent. I move on now, not to a job, but more of a calling. With one more crank of the self-reinvention wheel, I am taking on a new and unique challenge, one that’s roots are embedded in my heart.”

I have to say, I’ll miss Peter. Our last interaction was when he spoke at our GameBeat conference in August, talking about his role as the chief competition officer at EA.

Here’s Moore’s full message from his Facebook page today.

Game Over. Press Start…

“Today is my final day working in the video game industry…”

These are the words that I have dreaded writing for weeks now, following the announcement of my appointment as CEO of Liverpool FC. I am leaving behind thousands of great memories that comprise the career journey of a lifetime. From the advent of online gaming (albeit via a 56K modem), to the “console wars”, and now to games as 365 days a year, live experiences, I have been fortunate to have borne witness to the amazing growth of this, our wonderful gaming industry. During my days at Sega, Microsoft and EA, I have worked with some of the smartest, creative, and innovative minds on this planet. Hundreds, if not thousands of whom I am honored to call “friend” …

I shall miss everything about this industry each day henceforth.

If you work in the industry, I am in awe of what you do in bringing games to life in ways we could have only dreamed of a few short years ago. If you are a gamer, take a deep breath and a moment of reflection occasionally and admire the incredible creativity of the medium you love. And if a game disappoints, provide constructive feedback, not the vitriol that is unfortunately so prevalent nowadays.

As for me, I am crystal clear in understanding that I was merely the front man for your brilliant achievements, the “suit” that sometimes did goofy, cheesy stunts and speeches to draw attention to your phenomenally creative talent.

I move on now, not to a job, but more of a calling. With one more crank of the self-reinvention wheel, I am taking on a new and unique challenge, one that’s roots are embedded in my heart.

To everyone that I have had the privilege of working for, with, or at times, against , I love and cherish our time together. To my family, that has supported me as I traveled and worked longer hours than maybe I should at times, I love you and thank you for your patience and tolerance.

As befits a visual medium such as ours, I’ve put together, as much for my own benefit, a video that captures just a small sample of the immense fun that I have had working in games over the past 18 years. I hope some of these memories bring a smile to your face and further validation of how lucky we all are to be a part of this unique and vibrant medium.

You’ll Never Walk Alone,

Peter

This post is part of the PC Gaming channel, presented by the Intel® Game Dev program.


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