Sega Europe COO Mike Hayes is using Metacritic ratings of studios to judge development deals and influence Sega's business decisions.
"The first thing is that we're always trying to put objectivity into the business," stated Hayes to GamesIndustry as he tried to respond to Metacritic detractors by explaining that management in any industry requires hard data to ensure success.
"We're a creative business, and how do you put objectivity into it? But at the end of the day publishers will always want to do that, particularly if you're spending $20 million - you have to try and find that objectivity, and it's going to come from how much it costs, when it's coming out, and how good the game is. I don't think you can get away from that, and Metacritic provides a service that gives you a part of that," he continued.
Different game genres lend themselves to more or less statistical scrutiny, something Hayes considers when choosing what projects to fund.
"If you're going for a high-end PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 game and you want to break out in the genre, or something like that, you have to target that quality - because otherwise you don't have a hope in Hell," he admitted. "There's too much evidence that shows games which score below a certain level in certain genres are not going to cut through. However, there are other genres and other platforms where we wouldn't put a developer against that score, because it's more about the brand, the license, the release timing - it's probably something that in the Metacritic basket of reviews, they're not going to look at the same things that we're going to look for when making a game."
Sega tries to not hold the gun to contract developers' heads demanding high-quality and highly-profitable products, according to Hayes, but Metacritic scores come under review "where we're spending a lot of money, and the score is essential to the success of the product, absolutely I think there's a value in it."
"We value the scores that we're given by the media," stated Hayes. "But to demand it on absolutely everything wouldn't be right at all."