October 12, 2010 / 5:16 PM / in 7 years

Electronic Arts falls on Medal of Honor reviews

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Electronic Arts Inc shares fell 6 percent in afternoon trading on the Nasdaq, as its flagship “Medal of Honor” game suffered weaker-than-expected reviews on its launch day.

The first-person shooter game set in Afghanistan has stoked controversy over its depiction of Taliban-like characters killing U.S. soldiers. It is seen as a crucial title for one of the leading U.S. video game publishers during the holiday season.

“Shares down because apparently some investors are disappointed by these early reviews,” said Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter.

Ratings for “Medal of Honor” on two influential ratings websites, Gamerankings.com and Metacritic, were lower than scores for rival shooter games like Microsoft Corp’s “Halo” and Activision Blizzard Inc’s “Call of Duty.”

Poor reviews can hurt a game’s chances of blockbuster sales.

“‘Medal of Honor’ reviews are not looking good,” said Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey. “This can dampen future catalog sales as word of mouth dampens consumer enthusiasm.”

EA said on Tuesday that this edition of “Medal of Honor” had the biggest amount of pre-orders in the game’s history.

EA shares were recently trading off $1.06 at $16.60.

reporting by Liana B. Baker, editing by Gerald E. McCormick

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