SBJ/November 21-27, 2011/Idea Innovators

Cam Weber, EA Sports

Photo by: JON GALINDEZ / EA SPORTS

Define innovation: To me, innovation comes in two major forms: The first is when we implement a new feature or functionality that delights consumers in a way they weren’t expecting, thus fundamentally improving their experience. The second is when we build a new technology or toolset that helps us redefine our development process, allowing designers and content creators to iterate more rapidly. As a result, consumers get the benefit of a more polished product.

What’s the innovation you’re most proud of? I’m extremely proud of the deep integration of storytelling we introduced in the sports video game genre with “Fight Night Champion.” We were faced with the challenge of making a boxing simulation game feel fresh and new, and we did this by combining great storytelling inspired by Hollywood boxing films, along with authentic simulation boxing gameplay

What’s the future of your industry? The future of interactive entertainment really lies in the ability to deliver our games across many devices and making that experience persistent and connected.

What inspires you? There is nothing more inspirational than working with a group of talented people — all with a strong desire to win and succeed — driving towards a common goal. That is the definition of a team.


Cam Weber

General Manager, American Football
EA Sports

Not long ago, sports video games were solely a once-a-year packaged product. Publishers made a disc, released it to retail, and then waited 12 long months for their next chance to advance the game’s development.

Thanks to online, social and mobile platforms, those days are now a fast-fading memory. Gaming is now a vibrant, fully in-the-moment industry, and Cam Weber, EA Sports’ general manager for American football, has been at the forefront of the historic shift.

Running the company’s two most popular sports games in the U.S., “Madden NFL” and “NCAA Football,”  Weber has been a key architect of a broad movement that has seen the titles successfully extend to the iPad, iPhone, Android, Facebook and other emerging platforms.

“There is a much larger audience than just the console, people sitting on the couch playing at home,” Weber said. “So the big question we’re working on is how we spread the gaming experience across all of these devices, but at the same time tie all those experiences together in a single narrative with the user maintaining continual progress through the game.”

Before leading EA Sports’ American football games, Weber worked at the company’s Vancouver studios, helping produce the mega-popular “FIFA” soccer series and boxing franchise “Fight Night Champion.” But as a former player and then quarterbacks coach at NCAA Division II school Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada, Weber is now using his own on-field experiences to further the realism of the football games.

“That authenticity is so important, and there’s still more we can do,” he said. “With more developments happening around motion-based gaming and things like [Microsoft’s] Kinect, there’s a huge opportunity for us in games like ‘Madden’ to be creative around things like the two-minute offense.”

— Eric Fisher

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