OP-ED: Metacritic Presents Real Problems for the Industry
Metacritic is a problem; few will attempt to deny that. Far too often — which is to say, ever — publishers rely on it as something more than a potentially accurate snapshot of a game’s critical reception. Gamers sometimes look to it as either a definitive statement on whether a game is good or bad, or as a means for pointing out how a review is ‘wrong.’ To say Metacritic is outright ruining the industry would, in my opinion, be a stretch, but it clearly is not doing it any good.
For the uninitiated, Metacritic is a reviews aggregator. It collects reviews of videogames, movies, TV shows, and music albums from a variety of publications, presenting a ‘Metascore’ for each title. This is a weighted average of all the review scores the site tracks, meaning certain publications’ reviews have more impact on the Metascore than others. It’s problematic enough when scores are the only thing readers look at, rather than the text that accompanies it, but Metacritic breaks the opinions conveyed in dozens of reviews down into a single number that readers and game publishers alike often look to when discussing the merits of a game.