Yesterday, Electronic Arts tried to dispel negative press perceptions about Medal of Honor by announcing the game had sold 1.5 million units. Last week, concern over mixed reviews of the game--which is supposed to be EA's answer to the Call of Duty series--was blamed for a one-day, 6 percent slide in EA's stock price.
Today, EA CEO John Riccitiello explained how well the game is doing in terms of sales dollars. When asked on the Fox Business Network if publishers could gauge consumers' appetite for games leading up to this holiday season, Riccitiello said the following:
"I think we can. For instance, a title we released a couple of weeks ago--Medal of Honor? It's already done, in its first five days, $100 million at retail. Compare that to box office for a major movie. For instance, Social Network is out right now, and three weeks in, it has yet to get to $100 million. So when you have a single game trumping Hollywood box office in five days, it doesn't look so bad."
He rebuffed the host's suggestions that reviewers had been "smacking down" Medal of Honor by calling it a "spectacular game." "It's a little like movie reviews--there's an opinion for everyone," he said. "There are some that absolutely love it; it's gotten more 90 reviews than almost any other game we've seen this year, and it's also gotten some 60 reviews."
Riccitiello believes the review divide derives from the game's subject matter, not its gameplay. He explained, "I think what's happened in this case is that the battle takes place in Afghanistan. That's a tough subject for a lot of people, and I think that's caused some polarizing reviews."
When the host suggested you could play as the Taliban in an early version of the game--a side now called simply "opposing force"--Riccitiello explained that the single-player portion of the game was a story of "good versus evil," which cast players as a US serviceman. In the multiplayer, he explained, one side has to be the opponent by default. "When you played cowboys and Indians as a kid, somebody had to…be the Indians. It's not really fun if everyone's a cowboy," he summarized.
Medal of Honor shipped for the PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 on October 12. For more information on the game, check out GameSpot's full review