Electronic Arts is pushing into esports with a new branch of the company: the EA Competitive Gaming Division, CEO Andrew Wilson announced today.
The Competitive Gaming Division will be focused on establishing esports competitions for EA franchises in sports and other genres, including series such as Madden NFL, FIFA and Battlefield. That includes initiatives to create "competitive experiences with our games," to grow EA's community and to develop live esports events, said Wilson.
Peter Moore, who has served as EA's chief operating officer since August 2011, will move into a new role to lead the Competitive Gaming Division as EA's executive vice president and chief competition officer. Moore will hold his current position for the rest of EA's fiscal year, which concludes in March 2016. Under Moore's tenure at EA, the company has already run a few competitive gaming events, such as the EA Sports Challenge Series and the FIFA Interactive World Cup.
Todd Sitrin, a 14-year veteran of EA with multiple roles in the company's marketing department, will serve as the senior vice president and general manager of the Competitive Gaming Division. In that role, Sitrin will work with EA's internal studios to "create an exciting competitive platform in our games," according to Wilson.
"The formation of the Competitive Gaming Division is a groundbreaking opportunity for Electronic Arts to celebrate your passion for play and competition," said Wilson.
Focusing on competitive gaming is something that other publishers are doing as well. Activision announced this fall that it is working with Major League Gaming on a new esports division, and Blizzard has working on esports for years. Microsoft Studios and Halo developer 343 Industries launched the Halo Championship Series, a league for Halo competition, last year. And of course, esports has long been a big business for League of Legends maker Riot Games and Dota 2 developer Valve.
EA has already been encouraging studios working in genres that lend themselves to competition to build esports elements into their games, Moore said in an interview with IGN.
"We're already very engaged with our development teams around the world to make sure our games have got modes that lend themselves very well to competitive gaming, built-in from the get-go," Moore told IGN. "Not as something that’s put in as an add-on mode or a last-minute afterthought."
Moore added that the Competitive Gaming Division's guidance may result in EA developers removing modes that people aren't playing in favor of something competitive, which has more of a chance of bringing people in. "There are things that just don't get played," said Moore. "The data doesn't lie. So you eliminate that, and you put whatever resources were against that, and put them toward something people are going to engage with."
You can listen to this story — and many more — in the episode of Minimap, Polygon's daily news podcast, below.