Sega Europe boss Mike Hayes says Metacritic scores are indicative of certain games' success, and while score targets aren't written into every developer contract, Metacritic does have value -- especially in judging expensive projects.
"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 $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," Hayes told GamesIndustry.biz.
Further, "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," Hayes said. "There's too much evidence that shows games which score below a certain level in certain genres are not going to cut through."
Hayes said that "we won't say to every developer we work with that there's a target in there." Which sounds like, for some developers, there is. And the size of the deal seems to be a factor in how much a Metacritic score means to the project.
"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," Hayes said, adding "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."