GDC 2008: EA Unhappy With Metacritic Scores
Don't ever underestimate the power of the critic review, especially in the video game industry. EA CEO John Riccitiello isn't about to make that mistake, and he knows his company now needs to recover after a significant drop in average review scores for EA titles in 2007.
When showing a chart to Wall Street analysts at GDC 2008, the EA CEO clearly wasn't happy about something, and it had nothing to do with falling market share or anything else business-oriented. According to Reuters, Riccitiello was pointing out how Metacritic showed an average review score drop from 77 to 72 last year for EA's games. Unfortunately for the world's largest game publisher, gamers tend to put a lot of emphasis on review scores, and Metacritic is commonly used as a reference. ...and the site says EA's games just weren't as good last year.
"There is nothing acceptable about that," Riccitiello said. "Our core game titles are accurately measured and summarized by these assessments, and that is a very big deal. So this is perhaps, to me, the most important chart in this presentation, we need to recover here."
Metacritic was launched back in 2001 by Marc Doyle, his sister Julie Doyle Roberts and Jason Dietz, a former classmate at the University of Southern California's law school. Initially, they only intended to collect movie review scores, but it branched out quickly, and now, those seeking game reviews constitute the majority of the site's traffic. The site is currently part of the CNET Networks, an online technology media company that also owns other major gaming sites like GameSpot.
Anyway, there's no doubt that EA's titles have fallen a bit in overall quality, and Riccitiello clearly doesn't like that trend. Well, neither do we. Now that he has the stats right in front of him, perhaps this means EA will step up once again...? Let's hope.
2/21/2008 Ben Dutka