EA may be one of the biggest game publishers out there, but for all its mighty AAA franchises and timely licensing, it’s been slow to take on the industry’s newest money maker: e-sports. That’s about to change with the launch of the Competitive Gaming Division (CGD), which is led by former chief operating officer Peter Moore.
The CGD is essentially tasked with changing existing EA franchises such as FIFA, Madden NFLand Battlefield into viable esports franchises by creating leagues. Currently, EA is running the FIFA Interactive World Cup, and Madden NFL Live Challenge, as ESL One hosts worldwide Battlefield 4 championships.
However, none of EA’s current tournaments or games enjoy great popularity in esports. The will of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Duty shooters dominate in e-sports, while MOBAs like it Dota 2 and League of Legends attract the most viewers.
Recently, Riot Games announced that the League of Legends 2015 World Championship attracted a whopping 334 million viewers over the course of the four-week tournament, compared to 288 million in 2014. 36 million of those viewers tuned in to the final between SK Telecom and Koo Tigers, with each of the 73 games played averaging 4.2 million viewers.
Joining Peter Moore to steal a piece of that sweet esports pie is Todd Sitrin, who takes on the role of senior vice president and manager of the CGD. Sitrin, a 14-year veteran of the company, previously served as senior vice president of marketing.
What’s not yet clear is whether the CGD will spawn one new ones games to sit alongside EA’s existing franchises. The company has already expressed an interest in developing games in areas where it believes it is weak, and has recently hired people Assassin’s Creed producer Jade Raymond to develop a new action-adventure franchise.
Developing new games is of course easier said than done in esports. Just calling a game an e-sports game isn’t enough, with players and spectators demanding features such as powerful spectator modes, as well as regular content updates. Even when games offer this, they often fail to break through. The will of Infinite Crisis and Dawn Gate-both MOBAs – launched to much fanfare and promptly disappeared shortly after.
That is significant Dawn Gate would be published by EA.