Metacritic

Last updated

Metacritic
Metacritic logo.svg
Type of site
Review aggregator
Owner CBS Interactive
Website www.metacritic.com
Alexa rankIncrease Negative.svg 2,017 (September 2019) [1]
CommercialYes
RegistrationFree/subscription
LaunchedJanuary 2001;18 years ago (2001-01)
Current statusActive
OCLC  number 911795326

Metacritic is a website that aggregates reviews of films, TV shows, music albums, video games, and formerly, books. For each product, the scores from each review are averaged (a weighted average). Metacritic was created by Jason Dietz, Marc Doyle, and Julie Doyle Roberts in 1999. The site provides an excerpt from each review and hyperlinks to its source. A color of green, yellow or red summarizes the critics' recommendations. It is regarded as the foremost online review aggregation site for the video game industry. [2] [3]

Contents

Metacritic's scoring converts each review into a percentage, either mathematically from the mark given, or which the site decides subjectively from a qualitative review. Before being averaged, the scores are weighted according to the critic's fame, stature, and volume of reviews. The website won two Webby Awards for excellence as an aggregation website. Criticism tends to focus on the assessment system, alleged third-party attempts to influence the scores, and the lack of staff oversight of user reviews.

Webby Award award

A Webby Award is an award for excellence on the Internet presented annually by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, a judging body composed of over two thousand industry experts and technology innovators. Categories include websites, advertising and media, online film and video, mobile sites and apps, and social.

History

The original logo for Metacritic Metacritic logo original.svg
The original logo for Metacritic

Metacritic was launched in January 2001 [4] by Marc Doyle, his sister Julie Doyle Roberts, and a classmate from the University of Southern California law school, Jason Dietz, after two years of developing the site. Rotten Tomatoes was already compiling movie reviews, but Doyle, Roberts and Dietz saw an opportunity to cover a broader range of media. They sold Metacritic to CNET in 2005. [5] CNET and Metacritic were later acquired by the CBS Corporation. [6]

University of Southern California Private research university in Los Angeles, California, United States

The University of Southern California is a private research university in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1880, it is the oldest private research university in California. For the 2018–19 academic year, there were 20,000 students enrolled in four-year undergraduate programs. USC also has 27,500 graduate and professional students in a number of different programs, including business, law, engineering, social work, occupational therapy, pharmacy, and medicine. It is the largest private employer in the city of Los Angeles and generates $8 billion in economic impact on Los Angeles and California.

Rotten Tomatoes American review aggregator for film and television, owned by Fandango

Rotten Tomatoes is an American review-aggregation website for film and television. The company was launched in August 1998 by three undergraduate students at the University of California, Berkeley: Senh Duong, Patrick Y. Lee, and Stephen Wang. The name "Rotten Tomatoes" derives from the practice of audiences throwing rotten tomatoes when disapproving of a poor stage performance.

CNET American media website about technology and consumer electronics

CNET, formerly Computer Network, is an American media website that publishes reviews, news, articles, blogs, podcasts and videos on technology and consumer electronics globally. Founded in 1994 by Halsey Minor and Shelby Bonnie, it was the flagship brand of CNET Networks and became a brand of CBS Interactive through CNET Networks' acquisition in 2008. CNET originally produced content for radio and television in addition to its website and now uses new media distribution methods through its Internet television network, CNET Video, and its podcast and blog networks.

Influence

Metacritic has been used by businesses to predict future sales. Nick Wingfield of The Wall Street Journal wrote that Metacritic "influence[s] the sales of games and the stocks of video game publishers". He explains its influence as coming from the higher cost of buying video games than music or movie tickets. [5] Many executives say that low scores "can hurt the long-term sales potential". [5] Wingfield wrote that Wall Street pays attention to Metacritic and GameRankings because the sites typically post scores before sales data are publicly available, citing the respective rapid rise and fall in company values after BioShock and Spider-Man 3 were released. [5] In an interview with The Guardian , Marc Doyle cited two major publishers that "conducted comprehensive statistical surveys through which they've been able to draw a correlation between high metascores and stronger sales" in certain genres. [7] He claimed that an increasing number of businesses and financial analysts use Metacritic as "an early indicator of a game's potential sales and, by extension, the publisher's stock price". [7] However, a 2015 study analyzing over 88 Xbox 360 and 80 PS3 games from 2012 found that Metacritic scores did not impact actual sales. [8]

<i>The Wall Street Journal</i> American business-focused daily broadsheet newspaper based in New York City

The Wall Street Journal is a U.S. business-focused, English-language international daily newspaper based in New York City. The Journal, along with its Asian and European editions, is published six days a week by Dow Jones & Company, a division of News Corp. The newspaper is published in the broadsheet format and online. The Journal has been printed continuously since its inception on July 8, 1889, by Charles Dow, Edward Jones, and Charles Bergstresser.

Wall Street Street in Manhattan, New York

Wall Street is an eight-block-long street running roughly northwest to southeast from Broadway to South Street, at the East River, in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan in New York City. Over time, the term has become a metonym for the financial markets of the United States as a whole, the American financial services industry, or New York–based financial interests.

GameRankings website that collects review scores from both offline and online sources to give an average rating

GameRankings is a website that collects review scores from both offline and online sources to give an average rating. It indexes over 315,000 articles relating to more than 14,500 video games.

Controversially, the website has been used by game publishers as a means of determining whether a game's developer receives additional royalties. One notable example is the 2010 game Fallout: New Vegas , which received an average Metascore of 84—one point too short of Bethesda's, the game's publisher, 85-point requirement. As a result, its developer, Obsidian Entertainment, received no additional bonus. Columnists took issue with the company's use of Metacritic, with one suggesting that that makes game critics ultimately accountable for deciding the developer's profits and another pointing out that a Metascore of 84 is not significantly lower than 85. The latter also pointed out the impressive sales of five million sold units and US$300 million in revenue, and also noted a series of Obsidian's layoffs in 2011 and 2012. [9] [10]

<i>Fallout: New Vegas</i> 2010 action role-playing video game

Fallout: New Vegas is a post-apocalyptic action role-playing video game. It is a spin-off of the Fallout series and was developed by Obsidian Entertainment and published by Bethesda Softworks. It was announced in April 2009 and released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on October 19, 2010. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic open world environment that encompasses a region consisting of parts of Nevada, California, and Arizona. It is set in a world that deviated onto an alternate timeline thanks to atomic age technology, which eventually led to its devastation by a nuclear apocalypse in the year 2077 in an event referred to as "The Great War". This war was caused by a major international conflict between the United States and China over natural resources. The main story of New Vegas takes place in the year 2281, four years after the events of Fallout 3. It is not a direct sequel, but it does mark the return of a number of elements found in the Black Isle Studios-developed Fallout 2.

On the other hand, the website has been used by columnists and commentators as a general reference for critical reception, [11] and by publishers as a tool of improving their products. Along with other executives, in 2008, John Riccitiello, then CEO of Electronic Arts, showed Wall Street analysts a chart illustrating a downward trend in the average critical ratings of the company's games. He took the ratings seriously and stressed the need for the company to bounce back. [12] Also in 2008, Microsoft used Metacritic averages to delist underperforming Xbox Live Arcade games. [13] [14]

John Riccitiello American businessman

John Riccitiello is an American executive who serves as chief executive officer (CEO) of Unity Technologies. Previously, he served as CEO, chief operating officer and president of Electronic Arts, and co-founded private equity firm Elevation Partners in 2004. Riccitiello has served on several company boards, including those of the Entertainment Software Association, the Entertainment Software Rating Board, the Haas School of Business and the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) is a digital video game download service available through the Xbox Games Store, Microsoft's digital distribution network for the Xbox 360. It focuses on smaller downloadable games from both major publishers and independent game developers. Titles range from classic console and arcade video games, to new games designed from the ground up for the service. Games available through the XBLA service range from $5–20 in price, and as of October 2016, there have been 719 Xbox Live Arcade titles released for the Xbox 360. Prior to the Xbox 360, "Xbox Live Arcade" was the name for an online distribution network on the original Xbox, which was replaced by the Xbox Live Marketplace.

Metascores

Scores are weighted averages. Certain publications are given more significance "because of their stature". [5] Metacritic has said that it will not reveal the relative weight assigned to each reviewer. [15]

Games Editor Marc Doyle was interviewed by Keith Stuart of The Guardian to "get a look behind the metascoring process". Stuart wrote: "The metascore phenomenon, namely Metacritic and GameRankings, have become an enormously important element of online games journalism over the past few years". [7] Doyle said that because video games lead to a greater investment of time and money, gamers are more informed about reviews than are fans of film or music; they want to know "whether that hotly anticipated title is going to deliver". [7]

Score index [16]
IndicationVideo gamesFilms/television/music
Universal acclaim90–10081–100
Generally favorable reviews75–8961–80
Mixed or average reviews50–7440–60
Generally unfavorable reviews20–4920–39
Overwhelming dislike0–19

In June 2018, the website introduced the 'Metacritic: Must-See' label for films that attain scores of 81% or more, with at least 15 professional reviews for the given film. [17] In September 2018, it added the 'Metacritic: Must-Play' certification for video games attaining a score of 90% or more, and a minimum number of 15 reviews from industry professionals. [18]

Reception

Metacritic received mixed reviews from website critics, commentators, and columnists alike. Its efficacy has been analyzed, with conclusions finding it to be generally useful [19] or unreliable and biased. [20] The website won two annual Webby Awards for excellence in the "Guides/Ratings/Reviews" category, in 2010 and 2015. [21] [22]

Criticism

Metacritic has been criticized for converting all scoring systems into a single quantitative percentage-based scale. For example, an "A" score equates to the value of 100, an "F" the value of zero, and a "B–" the value of 67. [7] Joe Dodson, former editor at Game Revolution, criticized Metacritic and similar sites for turning reviews into scores that he found to be too low. [5] Doyle defended the grading system, believing that every scale should be converted directly to that of the website, with its lowest possible score being 0 and the highest 100. [7] Further criticism was directed to the website's refusal to publicize how it aggregates scores. [8]

According to Doyle, publishers often try to persuade him to exclude reviews they feel are unfair, but he said that once a publication is included, he refuses to omit any of its reviews. [5] A Washington Post review of Uncharted 4 was assigned with a rating of 40/100 by Metacritic; this was the only negative review of the game. [23] Readers who disapproved of the review petitioned Metacritic to remove the Post as a trusted source. [24] As a result of its perceived negative influence on the industry, several reviewing sites, including Kotaku and Eurogamer , have dropped numerical reviews that would appear in Metacritic, instead favoring a qualitative assessment of a game. [25] [26]

Metacritic has also been criticized for how it handles banning users and their reviews, with no notice or formal process for appeal. [27] Critics and developers have pointed out that a product can suffer from rating manipulation by users, as by garnering low ratings that purposely damage its reputation or by receiving high ratings from throwaway accounts to make it appear more popular than it actually is. Signal Studios president and creative director Douglas Albright described the website as having no standards. [28]

See also

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