EA Sports boss Peter Moore admits that breaking into the mixed martial arts space -- which the label will try this month with EA Sports MMA
-- will be harder at first without the UFC license, but that the title represents a "long-term play' for EA.
"We've got a strong relationship with Strikeforce, which is obviously a strong competitor of UFC," Moore adds in an interview with the UK Telegraph. THQ is the holder of the UFC license, which did well for it with Yuke's' UFC Undisputed 2009
-- that title outperformed all expectations, selling over 3.5 million units
"We feel we have superior gameplay," says Moore. "I've got a great team on it. It's a long-term play for us. We think there is plenty of room in MMA for two players."
However, THQ's UFC follow-up didn't sell nearly as well
, despite higher initial preorders. It moved units more slowly than the company projected, and seemed to top out at around 2.6 million units, suggesting that one mixed martial arts title might be enough for fans.
But Moore says that EA Sports' brand equity can serve as an advantage here: "EA Sports coming into the marketplace, I always think, is a major plus for the sport itself because we are a company that has a history – for around two decades now – of bringing sports to life for young consumers through video games," he says.
That legacy means he's unconcerned with lacking a major license, he adds. "The fact that there is somebody else in the market who has a very recognizable license shouldn't be a barrier to us getting in there, growing the sport and making the pie bigger for both of us," says Moore.
Moore also says that there's limited growth potential for the boxing field, which means EA Sports MMA
can support the label in the fighting category if the Fight Night
brand's reach is constrained: "It allows us to be able to hedge our bets that boxing, while still being very viable and relevant, isn't going to grow to the extent mixed martial arts has around the world."
"So I think it was the right call at the right time and we're two weeks away from shipping it," he adds. EA Sports MMA
launches October 19 in North America and October 22 globally.