John Riccitiello, head honcho of Electronic Arts, finds EA's performance as indicated by review scores unacceptable.
Electronic Art's Chief Financial Officer has a record of being outspoken about improving the quality of his company's products. So when he discovered that the average Metacritic ranking of EA games fell from 2006's 75 (out of 100) to last year's 72 rating, Riccitiello had explaining to do.
"There is nothing acceptable about that," said Riccitiello to a group of analysts. "Our core game titles are accurately measured and summarized by these assessments, and that is a very big deal."
Metacritic founder Marc Doyle didn't plan on building an influential game review aggregator, but understands the role that critics' scores can have on game sales.
Doyle detailed, "We never created Metacritic as an industry kind of thing. It was always for educating the user. ... For a movie it's going to cost you 10 to 12 bucks and it's a two-hour investment of your time. Whether critics like it is not a huge deal. But a game costs $60 and 20 to 30 hours of your life, so you want to know ahead of time whether a game is good."
Despite his concerns, Riccitiello is cautious about injecting corporate advisory over the development teams. "The process often gets in the way more than it helps. That sort of circus has unfortunately sort of defined our company for too long. And it's not a good process."
Plus, Electronic Arts continues to perform well financially. He slid in the summarizing remark, "You don't cash Metacritic, you cash checks."