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EA complains of game review cult, but does one exist?
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Sun Jun 29, 2008 6:44 am Reply and quote this post
Is there a kind of "cult of opinion" that controls review scores? Itsometimes seems that reviews include a laundry list of complaints aboutplay or other issues, and then the score comes out of the machinesmelling fresh. While it's hard to say conclusively that reviewers gettogether to talk about what scores to give what games, it can sometimesseem like certain titles seem to get much higher scores than the textin the reviews would suggest. EA has noticed it too, and CEO JohnRiccitiello seems frustrated at the game press; it seems EA's gamesdon't know the secret handshake to get into the club.
"EA doesn't usually get the benefit of the cult—'everybody has to rateit a hundred' thing going on—that happens sometimes even when they maynot, based on the review, have played more than the first fifteenminutes of the game. But that's a separate issue," Riccitiello said atan investor event, as reported by GamesIndustry."It used to be... [a]ll Metacritics were higher once upon a timebecause it was ten professionals rating them. Now, sort of anybody witha pen can rate them, and it ends up with a bit of a wider track sometimes."
It's true that EA tends to have to fight harder to get respect inthe industry; game writers have a long memory, and no one is happy with some of the movesthat EA has made in the past. It's not rare that, at a trade show or EAevent, I'll be comparing notes with other writers and hear things like,"I hate to say it, but GAME X looks good," or "EA has some good stuffthis year, which is a nice change." It seems like praise for EA can, attimes, be hard to come by. The company's somewhat outdated reputationof cranking out repetitive sequels and tired, licensed titles has beenhard to shake, and backhanded compliments around the free bar at gamingparties are sadly common.
It might not be sinister, but EA does have a certain reputationamong gamers and reviewers that could be hurting it in some circles. Acult? Probably not. Some bad blood about past indiscretions? Verypossible.

Contributed by Editorial Team, Executive Management Team
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