Electronic Arts is following in the footsteps of competitor Activision Blizzard with the creation of a new e-sports group within the company called the EA Competitive Gaming Division. Peter Moore, the company's chief operating officer since August 2011, will lead the division as chief competition officer. Moore was previously the head of EA Sports and oversaw the company's FIFA Interactive World Cup competition.
The company behind sports franchises like Madden and FIFA and shooting series Battlefield certainly has a number of properties that could make for high-level competitive play. But more than anything, EA's new commitment is further indication that even the largest traditional game makers can no longer ignore the phenomenon that is e-sports. With prize pools in the millions of dollars and global viewership sky rocketing, competitive gaming is entering a new phase of popularity and mainstream appeal. Activision Blizzard, makers of Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, announced its own competitive gaming division in October headed up by ESPN and NFL Network veteran Steve Bornstein.
EA wants to build leagues around Madden, FIFA, and Battlefield
"Competition runs deep in the DNA of Electronic Arts, and our games are already at the center of competitive gaming events at different levels today," EA chief executive Andrew Wilson said in a blog post today. "EA’s CGD will seek to build a best-in-class program to centralize our efforts with new events, as well as the infrastructure to bring you the world’s preeminent EA competitive experiences." Essentially, EA wants to set up its own leagues, design its own competitions, and then stream them live around the world, much in the same way League of Legends creator Riot Games has turned its own e-sports competitions into a lucrative entertainment business.