Maroon and Gamer: Where the money is

Games take a lot of money and person power to get made. And even when the game moves from concept to production to finalization – the reception can disappoint.

Even employee bonuses are affected by the reception more so in the gaming industry than any other industry. I’ll digress a bit and say that this is the reason we see sequel after sequel and only one or two new intellectual properties with independent game developers flocking to digital distribution avenues like Steam.

It is no surprise to anyone who knows me what my opinion on modern military first person shooters is and to sum it up, I think they’re holding back the genre from further innovations. Apparently the critics – giving the recently released Medal of Honor: Warfighter fours and sixes out of 10 – and I are generally on the same page. Electronic Arts, according to IGN.com, is very dissatisfied with the critical reception for Medal of Honor: Warfighter.

“EA Labels president Frank Gibeau [said] ‘Internal testing and mock reviews indicated that the game is better than the [Metacritic] score we have right now,” IGN.com says. “We believe it is. However, we are seeing folks out there that just don’t like the game.’ Gibeau added that EA is ‘not happy’”

I am pretty divided on this news. On one end, you have the degradation of a modern military first person shooter which might hopefully convince developers, and EA, that this sub-genre’s well is all dried up and it’s time to move on. But on the other hand, I hate seeing the developer’s efforts being poorly received.

I know very little about the stress that it takes to make a multi-million dollar project but I hate it when I spend all this time and effort on a 10-page paper only to receive a C- on it. But that’s where the comparison stops because certain reviews can affect employee bonuses.

On March 15 of this year, it was revealed that Obsidian (developer of Fallout: New Vegas and the upcoming South Park: The Stick of Truth) was denied the Metacritic bonus from Bethesda by just one point. Fallout: New Vegas sits at an 84 based on 39 critics. Ben Gilbert, senior reporter for Joystiq, describes why this is a problem.

“Leaving aside the fact that Metacritic is a woefully unbalanced aggregation of review scores from both vetted and unvetted publications, agreements like this can leave indie studios –like Obsidian- in the lurch should that Metacritic score just barely miss the mark,” Joystiq says.

I think the emphasis on reviews, and Metacritic especially, is rather dangerous when the livelihood of artists hinges on a number. But I want to know what you think. Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts on the effect reviews have on the gaming industry.

 

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