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231 Comments
Posted by NellyK

I can't believe bonuses and royalties can be based on something like Metacritic. The video game industry is truly twisted.

Posted by Katkillad

If you are using metacritic for video game reviews you are doing it wrong.

Posted by polyorpheus

@AaronChance: True, but it helps. I like to read a variety of reviews and read through them. I know the biases of the reviewers and who are closest to what I like. This doesn't apply to games I know I will buy like Skyrim or any Valve game, though.

Posted by Nymphonomicon

The problem with empowering people is that a lot of people are dicks and will abuse that power. If Metacritic wants honest reviews, they're going to get people giving zeroes with no written content, expecting people to given anymore (while at least some will) is seriously over-estimating our species.

Posted by BlainN

It looks like Metacritic has taken action.
 
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/37425/Metacritic_Takes_Step_To_Remove_Spam_User_Reviews.php
 
I'm sure this won't be the last of it, but the price of credibility is eternal vigilance.

Posted by sungahymn

Man...People can be such jerks.

Posted by HarrySound

NEVER LISTEN TO THE USERS UNLESS YOU COMPETELY TRUST THEM.

The internet and gaming is full of too many kids to be taken seriously.

Posted by Hilts

Its all about trusted sources pal. I dont know em - I dont trust em!

Edited by Cretaceous_Bob

@MaddProdigy said:

@Cretaceous_Bob: Wow you really don't understand what he meant? How thick are you? I understand oversite is a far cry from oversight, but geez. Good thing you pointed that out, otherwise more people would have been as confused as you are!

Or I was trying to reduce the amount of time a professional writer had a blatant typo in public view. How thick are you?

Edited by Gildermershina

This is the reason I don't really trust people's unsolicited opinions. The user reviews on metacritic, even the ones where they write actual reviews, are mostly valueless and reactionary. It's the same with anything though. To a lot of people, if they don't like, say, a new album by a band, to them it's the worst thing in the world, and they need to tell everybody. The mere fact that anybody else might like it makes them very angry.

Although it's all ultimately subjective, I think good reviewers strive toward some objectivity. Call me elitist, but unless you can write at least a cogent paragraph - hell, even a sentence - about something, then personally I'm not really interested in your opinion.

Posted by YukoAsho

The problem isn't Metacritic. It's the dipshits that have placed such an absurdly high emphasis on it.

Let Jim Sterling explain.

Unfortunately, we're in a strange period in the growth of gaming where reviews are becoming a sort of bible for many. As a result, Metacritic has unfortunately become a battlefield for fanboys to fight in, and companies starved for any means to gauge reactions in the public use it as a sort of bible.

It's going to take a long time to shake this off... It may never happen, now that the internet is being carved up among various fanboy camps. Hopefully corporations will find an alternative means to gauge user satisfaction before the fanboy war burns a truly classic game.

Posted by SpaceInsomniac

@selbie said:

What the fuck is Metacritic doing by tallying user reviews!?!?!?? Sure people like to have their say about a game, but it should not be mashed in with the media's own PROFESSIONAL critiques. If they separated the two, then this whole issue wouldn't even exist!

The two already are separated. User scores have absolutely no impact on the metascore, which is only based on critic reviews. There's the metascore, and the users score, and neither of them have anything to do with one another.

Online
Posted by brownsfantb

I have an idea! Let's not care about Metacritic anymore!

Seriously, I don't remember the last time a specific review or group of reviews actually impacted what I bought. I guess I'm the exception to the rule but I go more on word of mouth and what I read and see about the game before it comes out and decide if I want to play it. If a game I like gets bad reviews, I don't really care. I don't like a lot of games that got great reviews too.

Posted by MaddProdigy

@Cretaceous_Bob: Wow you really don't understand what he meant? How thick are you? I understand oversite is a far cry from oversight, but geez. Good thing you pointed that out, otherwise more people would have been as confused as you are!

Posted by mnzy

3rd Strike Online Edition got 0's from reviews saying "THEY SHOULD HAVE MADE MEGA MAN LEGENDS. CAPCOM SUCKS" and so on.
But GIantbomb also has user reviews like that.
 
I think the only chance to do something about it is, that people have to care about their account. Use Facebook-Login for example.

Posted by knightlyknave

While the scores assigned by critics are important, so are user reviews

Here's where you're wrong. While reviewers can sometimes be mistaken, users are on the whole idiots. Users either post because they loved it or hated it. No one who plays a game that's average will go to the effort to post a review, but critics have to. Why would I want to listen to a bunch of trolls/fan boys? At least it's possible a professional critic might have an unbiased review even if this is not always the case.

Posted by Lozz

I love your articles!

Posted by selbie

What the fuck is Metacritic doing by tallying user reviews!?!?!?? Sure people like to have their say about a game, but it should not be mashed in with the media's own PROFESSIONAL critiques. If they separated the two, then this whole issue wouldn't even exist!

It's like if Giantbomb combined its scores with player reviews. It's stupid and unprofessional, which says a lot about Metacritic.

@markusespar said:

Even with professional reviews, the mean score (based on an aggregation of dissimilar data points) is a fundamentally flawed metric. I'd love to see someone create a Metacritic competitor that allowed users to custom-aggregate scores based on sources they trust, whether those sources be professional games journalists or other users.

YES. THIS. And it wouldn't be hard to do either. You could simply add games to your tracking list and, when the reviews come out, the tracked game's aggregate score will represent the opinions you trust.

Posted by halim51

Metacritic should change it so the user reviews have no effect on the score.

Posted by mewarmo990

People go to Metacritic for the user reviews? There's a reason it's called Metacritic and not Metafanboy...

Posted by MoseSSesoM

Never liked Metacritic, always seemed to easy a system to abuse for the good or bad.

Posted by Balex1908

Unfortunately Metacritic isnt going away, so they have to fix this.

And this problem has a really easy solution, dont let people rate a game without writing their reasons behind the rating. I assume Metacritic wont do anything about this until it happens to something big like CoD or BF.

Posted by AaronChance

The best solution is to ignore ALL reviews, and just buy what looks cool. Lots of games have demos, others have plenty of footage online. You don't need someone's opinion guiding by their own personal taste, which you may or may not agree with.

Posted by Teran

Well... one relatively simple solution. Don't let anyone cast a vote without posting a review.

I know this won't magically fix things over night, the system could still be abused however there are a lot fewer people out there willing to post a review (of any quality) than there are people who will vote a score with two mouse clicks... All they'd need at that point is a netflix style button you can push letting you report a review if it's not really a review. Even fewer harassers would bother taking the time to write a quality review.

Posted by Chubbaluphigous

Meta Critic's user scores have always been garbage. They have been the target of fanboy rage for a long time now. If a game is a big exclusive, then it is guaranteed to get voted down. Also, there are a lot of assholes out there, who just want to vote something down. I have never trusted user ratings when there are no written reviews attached. They have no accountability, and no way to verify that they are a credible source for reviewing a game.

I only ever use Meta Critic as a source for links to the different reviews. I have my list of reviewers that I tend to agree with, and Meta Critic a is a good way to get links to all of them at the same time. Putting any stock what so ever in the user reviews is foolish on the both the developer and end user sides.

Posted by Kazona

This proves how utterly useless metacritic is.

Posted by P_Pigly_Hogswine

@markusespar said:

Even with professional reviews, the mean score (based on an aggregation of dissimilar data points) is a fundamentally flawed metric. I'd love to see someone create a Metacritic competitor that allowed users to custom-aggregate scores based on sources they trust, whether those sources be professional games journalists or other users.

It's an interesting point. It's been an issue with reviews of all sorts since long before the internet. For every independent, highly-trusted critic there's a swathe of critics sitting in official or distributor circles who dispense high scores like they're going out of fashion. Truth is you trust certain reviewers more so than even certain sites or publications. It all depends on your personal taste and also the natural ebb and flow of critic's credibility. When in doubt, play the demo, I suppose. ;)

Posted by SpaceInsomniac

Anyone who pays attention to USER reviews on metacritic is an idiot. They're completely worthless, and should be done away with. That won't happen, though, as they mean idiots reading reviews from other idiots, and having a pissing contest about them that results in a shitload of page views.

I'm sure the owners of Metacritic really couldn't care less about those 0 scores, otherwise they'd take action against that sort of crap themselves in the first place. I can't think of ANY game this console generation that deserves a 0 or 1 out of 10.

Online
Posted by yami4ct

@bransonhuggins said:

Look, if you are going to a site, and basing your buying off of what score something got, then you have other problems that aren't going to be fixed here.

As someone else put, if you look at most sites, especially now about say MW3 or BF3 you will see this, "MW3 sucks ass, BF3 is better" or "BF3 sucks. MW3 is going to be amazing". Well, really people, all you do is have pissing contest.

Just because you don't like a game, doesn't mean it sucks. I am not a huge fan of GoW, but i will tell you right now, it's an amazing game. It's just not a game that is for me. does that take away from it being good at all? NO. Why? Because it wasn't made for ME. It was made for a lot of people, and I just happen to not like it much. But I have enough of a brain to know that just because I don't like something, it doesn't mean it sucks. It just means, I didn't like it.

On the filp side of that, there have been plenty of games that people have said suck, but that I have to say I have enjoyed. Just because someone comes on and gives a bad review, doesn't mean that you shouldn't play it. Make up your own mind, and form your own opinion.

As far as Amazon goes, listen people, if you go onto Amazon, and you give something a 1 star review, and your gripe is with the shipper or anything BESIDES THE ACTUAL PRODUCTS, then shut the fuck up. You are here to review a product, so review it. No one cares if it didn't get there in time to meet your standards. that in no way represents the product, that represents the shipper.

My thoughts exactly. CoD isn't my cup of tea, yet I'm willing to admit it's a very well made game. Conversely, you (in the general sense not talking to anyone in particular) may not like FFXIII as much as I did, but that doesn't make it garbage. Metacritic does have its uses, though. If I'm looking at a game I might want to rent or buy, I will typically run over to MC. I than look at the excerpts from different sources with different scores, and click through some positive and some negative to get a balanced perspective. For me, it's more about aggregating the reviews all in one place rather than me have to go through sites like IGN, which is a terribly designed site, 1UP etc. individually to find their reviews. It's just easier that way.

Posted by doctorworm

According to Metacritic, Dragon Age 2 has a score of 79. I don't think I trust Metacritic anymore..

Posted by DarthOrange

Sounds like people mad at the internet because there penis growing pills didn't work.

Posted by markusespar

Even with professional reviews, the mean score (based on an aggregation of dissimilar data points) is a fundamentally flawed metric. I'd love to see someone create a Metacritic competitor that allowed users to custom-aggregate scores based on sources they trust, whether those sources be professional games journalists or other users.

Posted by mlarrabee

Ryan & Vinny: "Now it's the real internet." ... "Hackers. Spammers. Dick-pill ads. Walgreens is having a special."

I think Steam should aggregate review scores from a different system.

I thought the internet jackasses had reached apogee, but I guess not.

Posted by BrontoThunder

Why can't people do this to games that deserve it (more)?

Posted by k4el

@TadThuggish said:

The way to fix Metacritic is to never use Metacritic.

QFT.

The best solution for that site is for everyone to ignore it. It's deeply flawed and overly influential.

Posted by prestonhedges

@shinyidol said:

Hi Patrick. It is Collin with two l's

Your friend,

Collin

http://blog.eu.playstation.com/author/cmoore/

Shit, he's right. Even the typos themselves are pointing it out when it happens.

Posted by thebigJ_A

@bransonhuggins said:

...snip...

As far as Amazon goes, listen people, if you go onto Amazon, and you give something a 1 star review, and your gripe is with the shipper or anything BESIDES THE ACTUAL PRODUCTS, then shut the fuck up. You are here to review a product, so review it. No one cares if it didn't get there in time to meet your standards. that in no way represents the product, that represents the shipper.

Amen. I hate that. I'm an avid reader who's recently fallen in love with my new Kindle, so I'm reading user reviews on Amazon a lot lately. It seems like every fourth review is some twit who's pissed his book came a day late or some bull. You find the same thing on Newegg. Some nitwit fried his new motherboard or some other asinine thing and puts up a zero review.

The one good thing on Newegg, is I've actually often seen the manufacturers, or the Newegg people, replying to these reviews and finding out wtf is really up. I wish Amazon had that. Wouldn't be a solution for Metacritic, I don't think. It's just too big.

Posted by bransonhuggins

Look, if you are going to a site, and basing your buying off of what score something got, then you have other problems that aren't going to be fixed here.

As someone else put, if you look at most sites, especially now about say MW3 or BF3 you will see this, "MW3 sucks ass, BF3 is better" or "BF3 sucks. MW3 is going to be amazing". Well, really people, all you do is have pissing contest.

Just because you don't like a game, doesn't mean it sucks. I am not a huge fan of GoW, but i will tell you right now, it's an amazing game. It's just not a game that is for me. does that take away from it being good at all? NO. Why? Because it wasn't made for ME. It was made for a lot of people, and I just happen to not like it much. But I have enough of a brain to know that just because I don't like something, it doesn't mean it sucks. It just means, I didn't like it.

On the filp side of that, there have been plenty of games that people have said suck, but that I have to say I have enjoyed. Just because someone comes on and gives a bad review, doesn't mean that you shouldn't play it. Make up your own mind, and form your own opinion.

As far as Amazon goes, listen people, if you go onto Amazon, and you give something a 1 star review, and your gripe is with the shipper or anything BESIDES THE ACTUAL PRODUCTS, then shut the fuck up. You are here to review a product, so review it. No one cares if it didn't get there in time to meet your standards. that in no way represents the product, that represents the shipper.

Posted by afrofools

What's the point of giving people free codes to a game they already played.... unless<end>

Posted by shinyidol

Hi Patrick. It is Collin with two l's

Your friend,

Collin

Posted by CastroCasper

So at one point they were going to give away free codes for the game, if people wrote positive reviews for said game? Wouldn't most people writing those reviews have never actually played the game? I guess its the same as the bad reviews but still weird.

Posted by FrEeZe

This is why you can't trust user reviews for video games. There's too much stupid factor.

There are the 0 reviews and then the counter-0 reviews and then the counter-counter-0 reviews.

Posted by Hokucho

I was not aware of this!

Posted by TPoppaPuff

So how long before Activision starts downvoting their own games at launch to save from paying out bonuses to their developers incentivized bonuses based on Metacritic? Or have they been doing that already?

Edited by vinsanityv22

People are f***ing stupids. I don't get why forums and boards have moderators, but Metacritic (or anyone else) user reviews do not. Although maybe Gamefly does actually moderate them; they seem to have great user reviews. Even the 1's (out of 10) usually have some text, even just a line or two, about why that person hated the game. With awful grammar, naturally. But not writing anything? You're just being a di*k and loser.

Metacritic needs to get on top of this sh*t. And it would be great if we could just beat up people with mental problems like this; anyone who does sh*t like this randomly is a bane on society. On the internet AND in real-life.

Posted by prestonhedges

@Dark_Lord_Spam said:

Fuck. FUCK. This is genuinely disheartening. I can't fathom intentionally attempting to obliterate any person's livelihood, but when they're trying their damnedest to bring innovation, ingenuity, and interest to an increasingly stale market? Really? Are these scumbag spammers trying to express disdain for indie projects? Are they truly just fucking bored? I wish I could go buy these games immediately to show some meager support (I would've already bought Bastion), but I unfortunately don't own a 360. Fuck this whole mess of a situation, man.

I doubt Supergiant or anyone else is going to go bankrupt just because someone on a website clicked a button. This is just PR wankery at its finest.

Edited by Brackynews

Imagine if Jim Carrey's or George Clooney's or Spielberg's paycheck was affected by Metacritic, or Rotten Tomatoes, or way back to Siskel & Ebert?

How quickly would that break Hollywood? Clearly there is a correlation where more sales means more residuals, but once the movie is done, you get the percentage in your contract, or SAG gets on the studio's ass. And then you're on to the next job.

Remember these business fuckers with the metacritic carrot on a money stick, are the same fuckers with the "fast track to production" carrot for QA testers. And we know how that goes.

Posted by manwithnoname

that sucks

Posted by lockwoodx

The toy soldiers QL looked shitty, the TNT was boring with people begging you to play more Age of Empires, and I didn't agree with the review. I think Metacritic was right on the money and I trust them most of the time.

Edited by Xeirus

@RedSox8933 said:

Recently I've only read reviews from Giant Bomb. I believe that one of Jeff's main goals of the website was to reestablish the byline, and for me he and the crew have succeeded in doing this. I know their tastes, and I know when to trust a review and when to disregard it and buy the game anyway. And for me, that is the most important thing about any kind of critical journalism (if that's a thing).

Yup, once you realize what this site is about and have a feel for the staff you're crazy to go to a random website and trust it. GB is really the only place I trust anymore. Watching Jeff's at-home video the other day pretty much reminded me why I trust the site, he sort of touches on the subject of things like this in the video and I loved it.

@Dark_Lord_Spam said:

Fuck. FUCK. This is genuinely disheartening. I can't fathom intentionally attempting to obliterate any person's livelihood, but when they're trying their damnedest to bring innovation, ingenuity, and interest to an increasingly stale market? Really? Are these scumbag spammers trying to express disdain for indie projects? Are they truly just fucking bored? I wish I could go buy these games immediately to show some meager support (I would've already bought Bastion), but I unfortunately don't own a 360. Fuck this whole mess of a situation, man.

I agree, it's extremely frustrating, especially when I've seen into the dev as much as we have of Bastion and you realize there's tons of other small companies out there like them trying to make a living and people just shit on it for no reason other than it's funny or they're bored, like you pointed out.

Also, Bastion is available on Steam for next to nothing, buy it and support them please.