EAâ??s Moore: Metacritic mania a â??slippery slopeâ??

EAâ??s Moore: Metacritic mania a â??slippery slopeâ??

By Christopher Dring

July 20th 2010 at 11:58AM

Studio boss says itâ??s â??almost impossibleâ? to score mid-90s with iterative sports games

EA Sports boss Peter Moore has warned that the development world’s obsession with high Metacritic scores may leave gamers in the dark.

In an exclusive interview with Develop, the decorated industry exec said that focusing too far into Metacritic outcomes can put studios on “a slippery slope”.

In recent years Metacritic has become the buzzword at EA Sports as the firm tried to transform its franchises into critical darlings.

Metacritic scores were worked into the development teams’ objectives, and the hardest task fell to the FIFA crew, who were challenged by EA Sports president Peter Moore to go out and win a 90 Metacritic rating on their next game.

Although the effectiveness of Metacritic is open for debate, using it has paid dividends for EA. But now Moore feels that as the quality has been nailed down it’s time to move beyond the score aggregation website.

"I’ve taken the entire FIFA team out for dinner for a tremendous celebration for what they did on FIFA 10, because they not only delivered a 90 they delivered a 91," continues Moore.

"In terms of what I want from FIFA 11, it is difficult to tell them to go and get a 92 or 93. It is almost impossible to take an iterative annual sports title and get it into the mid-90s.

"There are no plot lines, no boss characters, no map packs. There will be metrics that I work into their objectives, but I don’t think it will be around Metacritic.

“Here in the US Robin Hood just come out and it has been ripped apart by the critics, but it made $40m in the first weekend. There is a bunch of games that sell millions of units that only get a mid-70s Metacritic.

“You can break Metacritic down and say ‘We can get two extra points by doing this’ but it may not actually enhance the gamers’ experience, and that is where there is a line we have to be careful we don’t cross. It is a bit of a slippery slope if you focus everything on Metacritic.”