Friday, April 28, 2006

The EA Malaise

EA is announcing earnings next week, and they'll probably suck. Again.

They'll blame it on the 360 launch, or the PS3 delay, or Mrs. Johnson's spotted cow that just doesn't give much milk these days.

What they won't acknowledge, though, is the real problem: they're not making very good games.

In the last three months, here are the top rated games at the absolute authority, but it gives a good aggregate of the review scores.

Some of these games are listed multiple times on multiple platforms, so I'm just pulling the highest score regardless of platform. And only games released in the last three months with 20+ reviews are included--75 games met the criteria.

The ranking below is based on average review score.
1. Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence (Konami)
2. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (2K Games)
3. Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (Ubisoft)
4. Daxter (SCEA)
5. Kingdom Hearts II (Square Enix)
6. World Soccer Winning Eleven 9 (Konami)
7. Burnout Revenge (EA)
8. Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror (SCEA)
9. Galactic Civilizations II (Stardock)
10.Metroid Prime: Hunters (Nintendo)
11. Tetris DS (Nintendo)
12. Fight Night Round 3 (EA)
13. TOCA Race Driver 3 (Codemasters)
14. The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle Earth II (EA)
15. MLB '06: The Show (SCEA)
16. Mega Man Powered up (Capcom)
17. Metal Gear Acid 2 (Konami)
18. Tomb Raider: Legend (Eidos)
19. Shadow Hearts: From the New World (Xseed Games)
20. Drill Dozer (Nintendo)

Here are the totals by company:
Konami--3 (1,6,17)
SCEA (Sony)--3 (4,8,15)
EA--3 (7,12,14)
Nintendo--3 (10,11,20)

No other company had more than one game in the top twenty.

EA only has three games in the top twenty, and only one in the top ten. Pretty weak for what is allegedly (according to EA) the best gaming company in the world. It's particularly weak when EA can devote resources to a game that most other companies can only dream about.

Well, maybe EA didn't release many games in the last three months. Let's look at what else they released and where they ranked out of the 75 released games that had 20+ reviews.
29. The Sims 2: Open for Business
31. Black
33. The Godfather
34. Battlefield 2: Modern Combat (360)
63. Fifa Street 2
69. From Russia With Love

Nine games released--three in the top third overall. Average.

The alleged blockbusters Black and The Godfather? Barely in the top half! Something is wrong when a company has a tremendous advantage financially, puts huge resources into two premier games, and those games are barely above average.

These games will all sell better than they're reviewed, because of EA's enormous marketing dollars, but that can't hide the ugly truth: most of these games just aren't very good.

And that's the real problem.

Site Meter