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231 Comments
Posted by HellBrendy

Metacritic can die in a fire. It's nothing but problems to the business.

Posted by RobertOrri

@Mordukai said:

Developers know Metacritic is crap. We know Metacritic is crap. Now someone please let the suits in the publishing house know about that.

Yes.

Posted by JustinAquarius

I knew publishers took MetaCritic very seriously, but I didn't think that meant they took the USER reviews seriously too.

Posted by Viking_Funeral

@Undeadpool: To be fair, regarding Dragon Age 2, it was the fans voicing their frustration at what they saw as bought reviews. It is the general consensus these days that Dragon Age 2 is not a great game, or even that horrible, rather being merely mediocre, but at the time the fans were seeing 94 & "Game of the decade!" reviews pop-up on Metacritic. Either reviewers were getting a very different experience than the fans, or something happened.

Then it was revealed that members of BioWare's team were stealth-posting 10 reviews on Metacritic. That, in addition to the horrible reaction BioWare had to the backlash, made Metacritic user reviews one battleground of many between the upset fans and BioWare.

Posted by dvorak

User scores are just a little bit more useless than critic scores. But we already knew that.

The joke is that the only people that actually get paid more if they receive better reviews are the devs.

Posted by mordukai

Developers know Metacritic is crap. We know Metacritic is crap. Now someone please let the suits in the publishing house know about that.

Posted by Sammo21

This is why Metacritic shouldn't allow user reviews at all, especially before the game is even released to the public.

Posted by Shaanyboi

Fuck metacritic. I hate aggregated review sites... Worst fucking thing.

Posted by prestonhedges

@dox said:

@Vinny_Says: The only reason they care is because consumers review those sources. If consumers didn't care then developers would not care.

Citation needed.

Edited by MeatSim

They said how to fix it. Only allow a user rating if they have written a text review.

Posted by sirdesmond

@Vinny_Says said:

It's sad devs put so much importance on metacritic, even sadder when they care about user reviews where anyone can write anything

It's sad that devs have to put so much importance on Metacritic because their jobs, amount of pay, and future opportunities depend on the publishers that put so much importance on Metacritic because they need a collection of subjective numbers to tell them if something was a success or not.

Posted by wrathofconn

Man, this is fucking stupid.

Posted by Mercanis

Metacritic is a reductive blunt instrument. Find writers you know and trust instead of using silly aggregators.

Posted by Vexxan

Proves why Metacritic is a BAD IDEA.

Posted by MadLaughter

This same thing happened to Dragon Age 2. That game has legitimate issues, but there was a huge bombing of negative scores as the swell of frustration about so many pre-order bonuses occurred.

Posted by SomeDeliCook

Reviews don't mean a damn thing compared to word of mouth.

Edited by MormonWarrior

User reviews on those sites are nothing but spam. The vast majority of them are like this: (CoD: Black Ops) "COD SUX ITS LAME NOT REAL GAMING TOTALY BROKN. 1/10" I don't care who you are, a good game is a good game even if you're not a fan. The regular Metacritic score is a little better. At least they somewhat mask the hyperbole. Sometimes.

When taken in the right context, Metacritic is really useful. I can see that "Gee, Brad's review of Metroid Other M is quite a bit higher than what most people think and the complaints others have concern me. Maybe I'll GameFly it before buying it." It gives me an idea of what to expect from a game rather than blindly buying it. I don't put too much stock in the ratings anymore, but it often helps me sift the amazing games from the merely good ones so I can prioritize. Anything below the 70's is not worth playing ever.

Posted by Fizzy

@krazy_kyle said:

Review scores are very unreliable to the point where I do not bother with Metacritic or any other large gaming site like gamespot or IGN. I just use my own initiative now and it has served me pretty well so far. I still read reviews to see what the reviewer has to say and at times I see the reviewer mentioning plenty of good things about the game but the game would get a 7/10 for example. If a game looks good, I buy it, if it looks bad, I don't bother. People need to think for themselves instead of relying on review scores to decide on whether to buy a game or not.

That's what I usually do. I can't understand why games that look amazing get horrible reviews because of stuff like "Oh, the story is boring."....I can understand if a story is boring, but if it's not a story driven game it shouldn't warrant a 6 or 7 because of it.

Posted by OriginalGman

Metacritic's interface is ass. Just use Gamerankings. Problem solved.

Edited by Hyperfludd

Great write-up, and it'll hopefully add a reason for publishers to not depend so heavily on the site.

Posted by dox

@Vinny_Says: The only reason they care is because consumers review those sources. If consumers didn't care then developers would not care.

Posted by SaturnPrime

The sad fact is that user reviews on the internet should not be using such a stratified scale for anonymous ratings. The larger the scale, the more weight a 0/10 or 10/10 vote bombing will skew results by mean average or even median scores. Most users don't understand or differentiate the ten point scale with 0.5 or 0.1 increment on established sites like IGN or Gamespot had; why would we allow a ten point scale for anonymous submitters. An unrealistic number of ratings are always on the extremes on Amazon, Yelp, Rotten Tomatoes as well. This is not unique to Metacritic, except ratings at Metacritic get tied to bonuses and financial progressions for unfortunate reasons. A thumbs up, thumbs down vote or 5 point scale would help, but not solve the issue. Personally I have ignored user ratings on Metacritic and would not display that user score on the games page or in search results without a click-through to a user reviews page.

Posted by krazy_kyle

Review scores are very unreliable to the point where I do not bother with Metacritic or any other large gaming site like gamespot or IGN. I just use my own initiative now and it has served me pretty well so far. I still read reviews to see what the reviewer has to say and at times I see the reviewer mentioning plenty of good things about the game but the game would get a 7/10 for example. If a game looks good, I buy it, if it looks bad, I don't bother. People need to think for themselves instead of relying on review scores to decide on whether to buy a game or not.

Edited by Three0neFive

Reminds me of when Bioware was blaming DA2's low Metacritic score on /v/. Because it's impossible that, you know, that game was just a fucking awful yaoi fanwank.

But that's besides the point. lol, metacritic.

Posted by nmarchan

There's also the fact that people who work in the industry have been caught voting down competing games on metacritic while voting up their own. There was a thread on GAF a few months ago, where a few metacritic reviewers were giving super high scores for Bioware RPGs and super low scores to... I think it was the new Witcher game. Turns out when you look up their username, it brought you to a linkedin account showing they worked for EA or something like that.

I wouldn't assume these rushes of negative reviews are all from fans. Do some research, you may actually find something worse going on.

Posted by AndrewB

Amazon gets review bombed just as frequently. Recently I noticed a ton of negative reviews for Deus Ex Human Revolution based solely on the point that it requires a Steam install. It's a valid point of criticism, but not enough to justify an instant 1 star review.

Other games get lambasted for their DRM.

Posted by Fizzy

Interesting. I always wondered why some awesome games received oddly low scores on metacritic.

Posted by lokilaufey

@White_Silhouette: Did you ever see the Amazon page for the Star Wars BluRay set? That had 1.5-2 out of 5 stars for weeks up until release and that is a site that even requires text with the scores. All this from people who had never seen or touched the set, but were going off of clips or information they had heard that they were unhappy about. People "reviewing" products yet to be released because they are unhappy about what's been shown off or have an agenda to push has been going on for awhile and probably will continue.

Posted by DaBuddaDa

Metacritic is the most useless, idiotic concept that has plagued the entire industry. Developers need to stop giving a flying fuck about it, and publishers need to learn that Metacritic scores mean shit all for sales numbers. It is completely, utterly useless.

Posted by PrivateIronTFU

@Delta_Ass: Seinfeld. Nice.

Posted by White_Silhouette

@Delta_Ass: it was from the futureshop website, but yeah the FF symbol is their logo.

Posted by zakkro

I used to pay attention to Metacritic years ago, but now it's just a waste of [internet] space to me. Also, I never pay attention to user scores; only to what they actually have to say.

Posted by OllyOxenFree

As Adam Sessler most eloquently said:

"Fuck Metacritic."

Edited by Delta_Ass

@White_Silhouette said:

Here is just another example of how user reviews are getting out of hand. A screen shot taken today.

Instead of stars, they use... fast forward symbols? Really? Really?

Posted by 137

the fuck is meta critic?

Posted by bhhawks78

@JoeyRavn said:

What worries me most is that if I sincerely dislike a game (for example, Bastion) and give it a low score, my rating will be dismissed as "spam". What an awesome tool Metacritic is.

There is a huge difference between a written review with a low score and 40 random accounts giving a 0 out of ten with no explanation.

Posted by AlexW00d

Maybe the game just sucks?

Posted by White_Silhouette

Here is just another example of how user reviews are getting out of hand. A screen shot taken today.

Posted by HadesTimes

Great piece Patrick, no one else has this. I would suggest publishers begin the painful process of ignoring Metacritic and actually reading reviews again. *gasp*

Posted by MaddProdigy

I had no idea anyone in the games industry actually used Metacritic to determine pay! Who are they and what in the world are they smoking? Even if it wasn't an oversight-less, independent site, the entire content of the site is opinion based. Even the game critic reviews are just professional user reviews, that's totally ludicrous that someone else's opinion would decide bonuses, and not the years and years of work developers put into a product.

I would like some more details Patrick, perhaps another story about MetaCritic and which developers/studios give it such importance?

Oh and that sucks that someone is obviously review bombing developers scores but the Metacritic people are too lazy to make a fix.

Posted by lokilaufey

@Vinny_Says said:

It's sad devs put so much importance on metacritic, even sadder when they care about user reviews where anyone can write anything

Devs care because publishers care because some consumers care. Most people kind of admit either MetaCritic is terrible or flawed, but publishers & consumers pay attention to how things are scored on that site so devs have to pay attention to it whether they want to or not. It can actually impact sales.

Posted by Cretaceous_Bob
But this is a major news review aggregator that should have better oversite and some standards.

That's not a word.

Posted by Delta_Ass

"Excuse me I'd like to give a user review of 1.0."

"Certainly. May I ask why?"

"For spite."

"Spite?"

"That's right. I don't care for the developer."

"I don't think you can review a game for spite."

"What do you mean?"

"Well if there was some problem with the game, if it were unsatisfactory in some way, then we could do it for you, but I'm afraid spite doesn't fit into any of our conditions for a review."

"That's ridiculous, I want to review it. What's the difference what the reason is?"

You can't review a game based purely on spite."

"Well so fine then... then I don't like it and then that's why I'm giving it a 1."

"Well you already said spite so..."

"But I changed my mind..."

"No... You said spite... Too late."

Posted by UltimAXE

@JoeyRavn said:

What worries me most is that if I sincerely dislike a game (for example, Bastion) and give it a low score, my rating will be dismissed as "spam". What an awesome tool Metacritic is.

Not if you take the time to explain what your issues are. Really, though, this industry puts way too much stock in numerical scoring of its software. I've never even been to Metacritic and am not one to argue semantics over whether a game deserves an 8.5 or a 9, but when people's paychecks are revolving around that and it is fairly easy to manipulate maliciously, it does become a bit of an issue.

Posted by darkjester74

Why anyone would base a buying decision on Metacritic is beyond me. Utterly useless for getting any actual reviews.

The real insanity here is publishers tying bonus and royalty payouts to Metacritic scores. Does anyone really believe that a higher Metacritic score is directly tied to higher sales?

Posted by Robin_Gr

User reviews don't really matter, if its perception everyone is worried about. Especially on Metacritic where the the average "official" reviews value is displayed much more prominently. It might be different on an amazon style site where user reviews are the only opinions given on products.

Posted by FoolishChaos
@Vinny_Says

It's sad devs put so much importance on metacritic, even sadder when they care about user reviews where anyone can write anything

They care about metacritic because people use it. It affects game sales. Its not sad that indie developers put so much importance on making a living.
Posted by mosespippy

This is clearly the fault of John Davison.

Posted by Knigge

Just another reason why people shouldn't use the site.

Posted by Silver-Streak

I think this could likely be solved by listing review-only scores with the username that submitted them, as well as have a username related review history. You know, like the smart people at Whiskey Media have.

If a user has no other reviews, was registered within 30 seconds as the other 10 score-only-reviewers did, there's a good chance it's a sign of abuse.