Talking about players in the NFL and in these disputes and things -- how do you insulate the team from these kinds of issues? Obviously with the NFL players complaining they're not getting royalties or something like that, it's questionable whether that is the NFL not paying them out or whether that's your responsibility.
PM: As you know, what you're referring to is a lawsuit by the retired players of the NFLPA. Actually we were not involved in the suit. So, nothing really to comment there but you know, a settlement's been made and I assume we've moved on.
Does Madden, the game franchise, change as he retires?
PM: Probably gets better, because now John is home, in the Bay Area, where we're headquartered. And in fact our team is there with him right now. He has a production company in the East Bay and I'm spending more time with him because he's not traveling anymore.
You know, he would, this time of year, start thinking about cranking his bus up for the Hall of Fame game and we'd lose him then for the rest of the season because he doesn't fly. But that's not going to happen this year, so we get to spend more time with him.
Obviously our license rights for his name continue for quite a while, so it will always be Madden, I would hope. And actually it improves our interactions with him.
The kind of morbid thing I was realizing is that he's not going to be around forever and it's going to be a difficult thing for a series that makes it past his...
PM: His demise?
Yes, sorry to say so.
PM: I don't know. If you said to me that once I'm gone there's a video game that lives on with my name, there's certainly achievements with my name on already, so it might be a fitting legacy. I don't think anymore that people would think it would be weird if when ultimately he's no longer with us that the game carries on. Madden 40 or Madden 50 or whatever that would be. I don't think so.
With MMA, are you actually able to bring UFC fighters into it, since the license is elsewhere?
PM: We are looking obviously at every fighter that we can, that we feel is applicable from a quality level and then analyzing their image rights, and if they're available and we want them -- then we'll get them. If they're not then we'll move on to the next fighter.
Okay. Because I would really like Lyoto Machida to be in there.
PM: Machida? A great fighter. There's plenty of great fighters that have their image rights, and we'll start announcing fighters pretty soon.
When do you decide if a sport is viable to actually do a game on? Is it the numbers of fans required? Well, take volleyball: is that not really big enough to stand on its own?
PM: You do a couple of things. You look at the addressable market size; how many players, how many fans who have indicated through research that they would buy a game. And then you look at how well it governed.
Now volleyball is a great example. Do you really need to go get an AVP license to do a volleyball game? Do you need real volleyball players to do a really good [game]? When I was at Microsoft, DOA Xtreme Volleyball sold extremely well with made-up people.
So the question you do is, what is the addressable market, what is the opportunity cost, what sport do I have to pull my guys off to go do something else, and is it a profitable venture for the company. Because we're not in the business of doing the sport just because we like it, we're in the business of creating capital so we can invest the following year and do more sports and doing them better.
EA Sports' Cricket 07
I think that the cricket experiment happened before you were there.
PM: Yes. Last time we did cricket it was shipped in 2006 I think but the number was 07.
Can you foresee specific market oriented titles? Because that's obviously more for the UK and India that you might try that.
PM: Yeah, I mean cricket is always interesting because of the impact. It gives you a seasonal impact anywhere the Union Jack flew over the empire. India becomes even more strategically important for cricket, even than the UK. We do phenomenal business in the UK with a lot of stuff other than cricket. Cricket is the only thing that's really going to sell in India, so we constantly looking at that.
India is still a ways away from having a really solid infrastructure. There's no real huge console market. It's a difficult market. Maybe there's a mobile phone application that you start with, but yeah, we're constantly looking at cricket and figuring out what to do there.