In response to Splash Damage studio director Paul Wedgwood’s claims that Metacritic pressure on devs was “ridiculous,” Sega Europe president Mike Hayes said that reckons Metacritic provides “objectivity into the business.”
Hayes added the caveat that the meta-review site needs to be used sensibly, however, if factored into future developer deals.
“The first thing is that we’re always trying to put objectivity into the business,” he told GI. “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 USD 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 explained.
“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 went on.
“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,” Hayes continued.
“So when we’re doing developer contracts, we won’t say to every developer we work with that there’s a target in there. But 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 – it’s a very good way of measuring it – and I don’t think it’s unreasonable for publishers spending that much money to have certain expectations of quality levels. But to demand it on absolutely everything wouldn’t be right at all.”
By Mike Bowden