With a career that has seen him in critical roles at Sega, Unity, EA and Microsoft, it's little wonder that Peter Moore's word carries a lot of weight in the video game sector – but even he, from time to time, has faced staunch opposition within the industry, and inside the companies he has worked for.
Of particular interest – given recent events – is the time Moore went head-to-head with Sega's Yuji Naka, who, at the time of writing, is facing a jail term and fine for insider trading. In Steven L. Kent's superb Ultimate History of Video Games Vol. 2, Moore recounts a somewhat tense exchange with the co-founder of Sonic Team.
"We had gone into San Francisco to run focus groups because I was desperate to explain to Sega headquarters that our brand was deteriorating in the eyes of the next generation of gamers," Moore tells Kent. "We were seen as ageing. We were seen as yesterday's news. We were seen as 'not really getting it' anymore. We needed to change rapidly or be left behind."
I was desperate to explain to Sega headquarters that our brand was deteriorating in the eyes of the next generation of gamers. We were seen as ageing. We were seen as yesterday's news. We were seen as 'not really getting it' anymore. We needed to change rapidly or be left behind
Moore explains that, in the focus groups, Sega was identified as "your grandfather with Alzheimer's. He used to be cool, but even he couldn't remember why anymore. These weren't my words; these were the words of the focus group. We packaged these focus groups up and localized them and translated them into Japanese, and then we took them to lapan. They were not well received."
One person in the room who took particular offence to the results was Naka. "[He] argued that nobody would ever say anything derogatory about Sega and least of all these kinds of words," says Moore. Naka was convinced that the data "must be in some way faked or contrived or manipulated." For Moore, who had shouldered the responsibility of telling the world that Sega was killing the Dreamcast, it was the final straw.
"At that point, I'd had enough," he adds. "You know, you're exhausted. You're travelling back because you're trying to save the brand; you're trying to save the company from themselves. You're trying to educate them on what's going on outside the four walls of Sega headquarters, and you've been accused of fabrication, manipulation, or flat-out lying. I said to the translator, 'Tell him to f*** off.' There was no way the translator was going to do that. I had put him in a bad spot, but Naka-san had spent enough time in the United States to know what I was saying."
Moore would depart Sega and join Microsoft in 2003, helping the company to establish the Xbox brand in the battle against Nintendo and Sony. He is currently employed as SVP and GM of Sports and Live Entertainment at Unity Technologies.