In the past, Electronic Arts has touted its Metacritic scores as a badge of honor. Just this week, in the same conference call in which he revealed Battlefield 3, EA COO John Pleasants bragged that the company released 14 games with a score of 80 or higher from the review aggregator, which is owned by GameSpot parent CBS. However, in an interview with Gamasutra, EA Sports president Peter Moore has said that his label's Wii games would abandon Metacritic as its benchmark, opting for user reviews instead.
Moore said that EA Sports' Wii game sales are largely unaffected by their Metacritic scores, citing titles that sell millions despite a rating of 70. "Now, yes, you still want to get the best possible review score you can get, but I think it's less critical to the success of a game on the Wii than it maybe is on Xbox 360 or PS3," the executive explained.
By contrast, EA CEO John Riccitiello continues to support Metacritic. The company plans to place 50 percent of its resources in developing Wii titles, alongside the goal of raising the Metacritic scores of all its game titles.
Moore, on the other hand, is more concerned with other benchmarks. "I absolutely guarantee you, the thing we're watching most closely now [with Wii titles] is things like Amazon--and I'll go look at women's magazines that have powerful Web sites, and then we look at what we call 'mommy bloggers,'" he says. "That's where those people go for their information. They are not going to Metacritic. They don't know Metacritic exists."
Metacritic is used by many industry analysts and executives to gauge and predict the success of games. In an interview with UK daily The Guardian last year, Metacritic games editor Marc Doyle said, "More and more businesses and financial analysts are referring to Metacritic numbers as an early indicator of a game's potential sales and, by extension, the publisher's stock price. Apparently, they're able to use quantifiable review data as a predictor of a game's success before the NPD sales data is officially released."
EA Sports' Wii titles include hits like EA Sports Active, a cardiovascular workout game that sold more than 600,000 copies less than two weeks after its release. For more information on EA Sports Active, check out Gamespot's review of the game.