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231 Comments
Posted by MordeaniisChaos

I still can't believe bonuses are awarded based on anything but sales, as that's all the publisher should care about: how much money did they get. Sales should speak for themselves.

Posted by FoxMulder

I almost never solely rely on critic scores when it comes to anything. I have loved not so good buggy games and hated critically praised ones as well. I will look at scores and use them to sway, but if I am interested in something 100% nothing is going to stop me. As fo user reviews...I NEVER look at those unless they are on here.

Posted by lolzords

The efficiency of metacritic, with its glanceable, if shallow, review consolidation if an enticing service that offers a truly useful service for those of us with little time in the day to digest full reviews, however, it is a shame that such erroneous errors can arise with such services. Circumstances that can have such a negative, monetary effects on game developers and must be remedied.

Edited by Dark_Lord_Spam

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.

Posted by Branthog

Misleading title. It has nothing to do with "the people". If you put stock in shit that some website most people never even visit says (based on completely random visitors rating things) to the point that you base salaries and bonuses and careers and layoffs on it, then that's on you not on the people.

Edited by shotgunsullivan

I have never used metacritic to help me decide if I want to buy a game, but I do like looking at it after a game has been out for about a month to see where it finally lands. If I want to know if a game is any good, I come here.

Posted by CornBREDX
"The way to fix Metacritic user reviews is to simply require a written review and verify user accounts," said Albright. "If it was just some random blog I'd say whatever. But this is a major news review aggregator that should have better oversite and some standards."

I completely agree with this. I'm not big on scores, but I understand the reason Developers like Metacritic. They want to be able to judge what the public perception of the game is based solely on individual experiences. Metacritic helps funnel that into one place.

This is sound, in theory.

Metacritic should know by now how useful they are to developers and should have things in place that keep these kinds of things from happening.

That being said, I really have problems with the idea that Metacritic affects bonuses/pay. Again I get why it's useful from a development standpoint. It can really give you a sense of how much individual players (no matter how small majority the people who actual write them may actually be) enjoy or dislike your game and sometimes even why. However, this should determine how Developers make games in the future, I don't like the idea that this information can affect what they get paid. If they put in the work, they should still get paid. Sales will often determine what you're worth as a developer- although I suppose I have no defense to the argument that sales don't mean those who bought the game actually thought it was good, but on the same front I believe whether or not they buy another your bonuses or extra pay of whatever kind should come from this game not the possibility of better made next games.

I don't know, just my thoughts. Apparently I have a lot of them on this topic so I'll just leave it at that.

Interesting article.

Posted by RedSox8933

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).

Posted by Rawrz

Why would anyone ever go by user scores? Most people just seem to have a habit of loving something and giving it a 10 or not liking it and just giving it a 1.

Posted by BabyChooChoo

Another reason why I wish some people were just outright banned from the internet...

Posted by megalowho

Who pays for these kind of "services"? Or is it just trolling? So much shady shit goes on it's hard to tell sometimes. Great article, interesting problem.

Posted by Dizzyhippos

haters gonna hate

Edited by ProfessorEss

@benjaebe: I didn't mean to sound like I was calling them out, and I should've said "making scores available" as opposed to "sending" - but I stand by my point that if you hate numeric scores, and you hate Metacritic using the scores you give games maybe consider not giving them scores. Or at least give us an explanation as to why you (especially reviewers with clout) have to give numeric scores.

Posted by DragonBloodthirsty

What's that? It's a system where anonymous "this game sucks" reviews can cut into your pay, and you don't know who to look at first? I'll give you a hint: He pays the check that gets smaller.

Edited by Boopie

did that guy just refer to GiantBomb as "some random blog" ???

Posted by Tordah

This wouldn't be an issue if Metacritic took any responsibility at all for how their site works. How can you allow textless reviews if those reviews still count towards the average score? It just doesn't make sense.

I know that even if they did require written reviews there would be a lot of bullshit spam reviews, and the resources required to filter every user review on a regular basis would be significant, but that's the only solution I see working.

Posted by ProfessorK

It sucks that it seems to be the norm to grief anyone, anywhere, anytime now and days. I hope they revise the system and take the issue into consideration.

Edited by tourgen

sounds like issues I've had with credit reporting agencies. yeah they suck but you don't get a choice whether you use them or not, and their information is always inaccurate. I don't think this deserves a news article. game devs just need to police metacritic. paying for reviews would be one way to do that.

actually, just cut right to it and PAY METACRITIC for good reviews.

Posted by bransonhuggins

here's my thing. If you are only basing your opinion on a game, based on and arbitrary score given by other people, then maybe you shouldn't be playing to begin with. I for one, know that if I played based squarely on that, I would have missed a lot of good games. Just because someone gave something a bad review or score, doesn't mean you won't like it. Maybe you should go out there, try it for yourself, and then, I know, this is shocking, make your own opinion. Just saying.

Posted by BooDoug187

I love how the fix is simple, make the person write a word review, but does the site do it, "No we dont want to upset our users" what kind of excuse is that? Hell a simple sentence of "I hate this game it sucks" is better than some asshole 4chan wanna be trolls rating random games 0 "for the lutz!"

Posted by BlainN

Thank you for drawing attention to this abuse Patrick.  I hope it lights a fire under CBS Interactive to take these issues seriously.  And they are serious, despite what many of my fellow commenters seem to think.
 
Gaming is big business.  Big businesses require lots of people who know specialized skills: finance specialists, marketers, managers; HR folks.  It'd be great if all of those people were gamers as well, but that's not realistic.  How many people in the recording business don't know any Beethoven aside from the opening of the fifth symphony?  How many people in the publishing business have never read Hemingway?  How many people in the film business have never seen Bergman or Fellini?  These people don't make artistic decisions.  They make business decisions.  Their shareholders demand it.  And sites like Metacritic are the closest things to impartial opinions they've got.
 
And both scores matter.  Some people distrust critics and want the opinions of buyers.

Posted by beeftothetaco

Fanboys and trolls from /v. That is all.

Posted by Nomin

So what, there are as many positively biased user reviews as negative ones anyway. Think the user ratings as some sort of 'hype' meter then it all makes sense. The critics ratings number actually is a fairly accurate representation on the game's reception on the media circles, no wonder the publisher and developers trust them as a source alongside million other figures. I think Metacritic is no less an authoritative source on a game's quality than any other single games 'review' sites, because it is simply a representation of a glut of them.

Posted by Jerr

I think requiring justification in the score through actual text would be the best thing. What people don't think about as much (as it more affects consumers rather than developers) is the possibility of users spamming games with overly positive reviews, either to cause mischief or express their fanboydom. Of course developers wouldn't care, but I think that it would give consumers looking to purchase the game an inflated sense of how good it is perhaps. Just a view from another perspective on the same issue.

Posted by DrLariat

@TheHBK said:

That game sucks ass anyway.

Dude you are so edgy I cut myself on your post.

Posted by Zatoichi_Sanjuro

@SpudBug said:

great article. This is a really shameful process. Metacritic should be more proactive about tracking down the source of these negative reviews.

They need a synergy based paradigm, obviously.

Edited by Zatoichi_Sanjuro

Metacritic determines bonuses and royalty payouts for many.

I wonder how many Metacritic accounts some devs have.

Posted by SpudBug

great article. This is a really shameful process. Metacritic should be more proactive about tracking down the source of these negative reviews.

I wouldn't be surprised to see competition for these publishers getting on metacritic and rating their games down. This kind of shit is going to make them irrelevant.

Posted by MrMazz

Good job Patrick

I have never understood how devs and publishers use Metacritic to determine bonuses and what not You would think sales would be the driving factor. I would not give on F if my game on metacritic was a 24 but I sold 300 million copies casue I'd be rich

Posted by Atary77

When will companies realize that Metacritic ,is freaking BROKEN!?

Posted by Max_Hydrogen

@LiquidSwords: Indeed, I have never, ever cared what Rotten Tomatoes has to say and the only reason I know of Metacritic's existence is because they talk about on GB; I have never even been on Metacritic's site.

If something is too popular or unpopular, I usually find that feel the opposite way about it.

Posted by Wazzit

No one Fan should have all that POWER

Posted by Delerat

@benjaebe said:

A 4/5 on Giant Bomb becomes an 80, even if that's not the reviewers intention. And there's nothing they can do about it.

It feels like this should be on equal ground with misquoting someone or misrepresentation or something. They are taking people's words and skewing them to fit their system.

Posted by WiqidBritt

exactly why I don't pay attention to "user" reviews, especially in aggregate form like this

Posted by BRNK

@kpaadet said:

I find it hard to believe it is as big of a deal as this article makes it out to be, especially considering they didnt even notice until someone else told them it was going on. What sane person has ever even gone Metacritic to read the user reviews?

As the article mentions, many companies and employees get bonuses based on their game's Metacritic score... so for better or for worse, there can be a lot riding on that number.

Posted by Swoxx

People are pricks

Posted by Curufinwe

They shouldn't allow user scores without a user review to back it up.

Posted by HeadHitsConcrete

This is just actual proof that my ignoring of Metacritic scores is sensible. Before I did it because I disagree on a personal basis with most of what is popular, accepting that I have strange taste in music, movies, and games.

Posted by BoG

I didn't realize that developers put so much emphasis on Metacritic, nor did I realize how (at least in the user review aspect) poorly run the site is. I don't think there is much of an excuse for this. If Metacritic wants to remain reputable, they should fix this.
Moderator
Posted by oldskooldeano

@LordXavierBritish said:

More and more I'm starting to think games journalism needs to just throw away the entire concept of review for something more akin to Quick Looks and Let's Plays.

More often than not I've been sold on a game more from seeing people actually play and enjoy it than reading a long list of, sometimes dubious, generalized opinions.

I'd say that's one of the reason GiantBomb is the format that it is, and why we are all here. That and Brad's dulcet tones of course.

Posted by Arkasai

Metacritic needs some kind of community management, like real ID on Amazon...or some way of putting a limit on the number of anonymous accounts someone can post from. The ability to one-man astroturf a title undermines the whole purpose of having user ratings.

Posted by DFSVegas

He did his due diligence. He made it clear that they wouldn't favor positive reviews. That's the sound of a man who has faith in his product, and just want to try and right a wrong.

So naturally, CONTROVERSY. There always has to be some in this world where we truly have no real problems.

Posted by TheHBK

That game sucks ass anyway.

Edited by 234r2we232

I've never used Metacritic, but I can understand why people do. Their fast-food approach to scoring seems to be made legitimate by some of the sites they leech from, but it's entirely why I find it to be not the least bit helpful. It's just another Internet thing that can be abused by lonely Internet jerks.

Reviews are only useful when you know enough about the reviewer - whether they're trustworthy, and what they enjoy as a person. Isn't that kind of the base imperativeness to the usefulness of a review anyway?

It's funny they included the Bastion thing in there "we complained via Twitter, and our game's score went up"... jerks :/

Edited by kpaadet

I find it hard to believe it is as big of a deal as this article makes it out to be, especially considering they didnt even notice until someone else told them it was going on. What sane person has ever even gone Metacritic to read the user reviews?

Posted by Manatassi

When it comes to games I completely ignore User Reviews. They are completely Useless.

Posted by Fuga

hahaha, you can write a review without any words? wow

Posted by thedez

No one site should have all that POWER.

Posted by LordXavierBritish

More and more I'm starting to think games journalism needs to just throw away the entire concept of review for something more akin to Quick Looks and Let's Plays.

More often than not I've been sold on a game more from seeing people actually play and enjoy it than reading a long list of, sometimes dubious, generalized opinions.

Posted by notha

@Yodzilla said:

I didn't think anyone paid attention to the user reviews. The aggregated "real" reviews yes but the user reviews have always been garbage.

last week, in an attempt to find some good obscure games, i browsed the metacritic scores by user score because a lot of the games didn't have critic scores.