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EA Stock Down Six Percent On Middling  Medal Of Honor  Reviews
EA Stock Down Six Percent On Middling Medal Of Honor Reviews
October 12, 2010 | By Kyle Orland

October 12, 2010 | By Kyle Orland
More: Console/PC

Shares in Electronic Arts were down nearly six percent today as lower than expected reviews for the company's Medal of Honor franchise reboot dampened shareholder enthusiasm for the game's release.

The Wall Street Journal (registration required) notes that the company's stock had risen over 15 percent in the last six weeks on expectations that the game's strong pre-orders would lead to strong holiday sales.

But that stock rally seems to have turned around on today's release of largely middling reviews for the new title, the first in the franchise since 2007's Medal of Honor: Heroes 2.

The game's 22 reviews currently average out to a Metascore of 74 on popular aggregator Metacritic, which is similar to the score for some recent games in the series but well below the widespread critical praise for last year's top-selling Modern Warfare 2 from Activision.

Analysts were ambivalent on the reason behind stock drop, with Lazard Capital Markets' Colin Sebastian telling the Journal the market may simply be using the news as an excuse to lock-in recent gains, and MKM's Eric Handler saying the game could still be a hit for EA.

"This is a high-profile game where EA owns the [intellectual property], which can result in above-average margins as no license fee or royalty has to be paid to another entity," Handler told the paper. "As such, I think it's a situation where some of the air is being let out of the balloon following a nice run in the shares and high expectations for the Medal of Honor reboot."

Despite a heavy marketing campaign that began nearly a year ago with a reveal at the Spike TV Video Game Awards, analysts recently warned Medal of Honor needed more buzz to take on next month's release of Call of Duty: Black Ops.

The game attracted controversy for an option to play as the Taliban in multiplayer firefights, leading EA to remove the name from the title at the last moment.

[UPDATE: The Los Angeles Times cites an EA statement which downplays the importance of today's Medal of Honor reviews for the game's sales success.

"The game had the highest pre-orders in the 11-year history of the Medal of Honor franchise," the company said. "This is an essentially big achievement considering Medal of Honor has been dormant for several years. This is the first year in rebooting the franchise."

"Medal of Honor is part of a larger EA strategy to take share in the shooter category," the statement continues. "This is a marathon not a sprint -– today’s Medal of Honor launch represents a step forward in that race."]

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Dan Felder
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Seems a little like Intel's famous Pentium chip problem. When you say something is going to be super-special-awesome, expectations rise to high, high levels and market sentiment focuses on that one driver. If the expectations fall short, people act out of proportion. It's the same reason quarterly revenues have massive effects on stock market prices even though it's almost irrelevant to the company's actual long-term value.

Tomiko Gun
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"The game's 22 reviews currently average out to a Metascore of 74 on popular aggregator Metacritic..."

This quote just makes me sad about this side of the industry as a whole. It's not because the campaign was littered with bugs and trite summer blockbuster inspired plot, or the lackluster and uninspired multiplayer in comparison to what's already out there. Nope, it's because it scored an average of 74 (76 as of this writing) from luminaries such as and

Chris OKeefe
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To be fair, not all review sites are weighed equally when compositing a metascore. Their math is pretty robust and it's not an average. They take a lot of different review sites into account, but they weigh the scores of established, credible review sites more heavily than new or unknown sites.

Metacritic is an incredibly useful statistical tool. It's nice to talk about the objective qualities of a game, and certainly there have been a lot of games that deserved to do better in the market, but it's pretty basic marketing that sales are driven by subjective quality, not objective quality.

That said, I don't know much about the game itself.

DanielThomas MacInnes
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I certainly wouldn't discount the influence of Metacritic, but the game reviews come exclusively from a small, "hardcore" clique that is, all too often, in the pocket of the industry. You'll never see the prozines deliver negative reviews to any high-profile video game, ever. I remember the press gathering for Metroid: Other M at the end of August, and everyone from the gaming press was squirming in their seats, mumbling, and desperately trying to say something nice about Nintendo's albatross. Of course, if they do say anything bad, or write critical reviews, then they won't be invited to the parties anymore, and game publishers will pull their ads from the magazines and websites. It's depressing that we still have to deal with this in 2010.

I suggest paying closer attention to the word on the street, delivered via social media - Amazon, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and the blogs. The Amazon customer reviews are especially insightful, and I'm grateful for their input.

Leon T
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Wow did investors actually think this would be another cod:modern war or something? That is sad.

Jerome Beland
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Maybe not as huge as CoD, but surely not as low as 74 on metacritic. I own it and unfortunately cannot comment the single player yet, but the online part is oustanding, my guess is that realism is not for everyone given bad reviews of the multiplayer.

Daniel Kinkaid
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EA DICE knows what they are doing with the online stuff; look as far back as Battlefield 1942 for proof of that.

I think part of the problem is FPS fatigue. Seriously, how many modern FPS' do we need on the market at one time?

agostino priarolo
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Time to buy EA stocks. (If I had that money)

[User Banned]
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James Barnette
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well despite it MoH was sold out when I was at BestBuy wasting time at lunch