Earlier this morning, Electronic Arts announced that it was opening up the beta to its Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online game.
The company also announced that it would go through with a console title with Tiger Woods as its lead endorser this summer.
We sat down with EA Sports president Peter Moore to see why the company made these decisions.
Darren: This has been in the works for months. Why was it important to still come out with this game using Tiger?
Moore: Well, Tiger has been at the masthead of our golf products since 1999. This is the 12th iteration of Tiger Woods’ PGA Tour. Obviously having an online element now actually adds to that. We stand by Tiger as an athlete – AP’s greatest athlete of the decade. This guy, since we signed him to be the lead for our golf products, has won 56 PGA Tour events and we still see him obviously as the world’s greatest golfer and continue to stand by him as such.
Darren: You guys announced about an hour and a half ago that, come June, there will be another franchise with Tiger’s name on it -– Tiger Woods PGA Tour ’11 –- the console game. There have been rumors EA is surveying customers. One, is that true? If so, how much of that helped you reach the decision to continue with Tiger?
Moore: We talk to our customers every single day. We take their pulse about a lot of things and in particular, obviously, when there are situations like this in the news. We want to know how they think. It hasn’t changed. In fact, it’s validated our decision to continue with Tiger at the masthead of our games. But from our perspective, our ability to be able to make sure we’re doing what the customer wants us to do is important and yes, we’ve been talking to our customers and do so every day.
Darren: According to NPD Group, Tiger Woods PGA Tour ’10 sold 191,000 copies each month, while the ’09 game sold about 196,000 each month. To me, that doesn’t seem like Tiger’s personal issues have affected the sales of the game that much. Is that accurate?
Moore: We’ve looked actually at the overall franchise for calendar year 2008 and 2009 and are slightly up when we look at all platforms for the Tiger franchise. Despite what has gone on in his personal life, we’ve seen no negative impact on sales.
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