Type of site
|Owner||Fandom, Inc. |
Metacritic is a website that aggregates reviews of films, television 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, and is owned by Fandom, Inc. as of 2023. [update]
Metacritic's scoring converts each review into a percentage, either mathematically from the mark given, or what the site decides subjectively from a qualitative review. Before being averaged, the scores are weighted according to a critic's popularity, stature, and volume of reviews. The site provides an excerpt from each review and hyperlinks to its source. A color of green, yellow, or red summarizes the critics' reviews.
Metacritic won two Webby Awards for excellence as an aggregation website. It is regarded as the foremost online review aggregation site for the video game industry.   Criticism of the site has focused on the assessment system, the assignment of scores to reviews that do not include ratings, third-party attempts to influence the scores, and lack of staff oversight for user reviews.
Metacritic was launched in January 2001 by Marc Doyle, his sister Julie Doyle Roberts, and his University of Southern California law classmate 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.
Metacritic was sold to CNET in 2005.  CNET and Metacritic were later acquired by the CBS Corporation.  In 2020, Metacritic and other CNET titles were bought by Red Ventures.  In 2022, Red Ventures sold Metacritic and other entertainment websites to Fandom, Inc.  
Metacritic has been used by businesses to predict future sales. In 2007, 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. Many executives say that low scores "can hurt the long-term sales potential". 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.  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. 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".  However, a 2015 study analyzing over 88 Xbox 360 and 80 PS3 games from 2012 found that Metacritic scores did not impact actual sales. 
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 short of the 85 points required by Bethesda Softworks, the game's publisher. 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 this 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.  
The website has also been used by columnists and commentators as a general reference for critical reception,  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.  Also in 2008, Microsoft used Metacritic averages to delist underperforming Xbox Live Arcade games.  
Scores are weighted averages. Certain publications are given more significance "because of their stature".  Metacritic has said that it will not reveal the relative weight assigned to each reviewer. 
Games Editor Marc Doyle was interviewed in 2008 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".  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". 
|Generally favorable reviews||75–89||61–80|
|Mixed or average reviews||50–74||40–60|
|Generally unfavorable reviews||20–49||20–39|
In June 2018, Metacritic established the "Must-See" label for a movie that "achieves a Metascore of 81 or higher and has been reviewed by a minimum of 15 professional critics".  In September 2018, it added the "Must-Play" certification for video games attaining a score of 90% or more, and a minimum number of 15 reviews from industry professionals.  
The standalone highest-rated game of all time on the site is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time , with a 99. The three games with a 98 are Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 , Grand Theft Auto IV , and Soulcalibur. There are about two dozen 97-rated games with standouts including Red Dead Redemption 2 and Grand Theft Auto V.  There are ten movies that have received a 100: Tokyo Story ; The Godfather ; Citizen Kane ; Rear Window ; Casablanca ; Boyhood ; Three Colors: Red; Vertigo; Fanny and Alexander ; and Notorious .  There are five TV show seasons that have received a 99, including Season 4 of Rectify , Season 4 and Season 6 of The Larry Sanders Show , Season 1 of Murder One , and Season 5 of Breaking Bad .  The standalone highest-rated album of all time on the site is Ten Freedom Summers by American trumpeter and composer Wadada Leo Smith, with a 99. 
The standalone lowest-rated game of all time is Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing , with an 8.  There are eleven movies that have received a 1: Bio-Dome , 10 Rules for Sleeping Around , Chaos , Inappropriate Comedy , Not Cool , The Singing Forest , The Garbage Pail Kids Movie , Death of a Nation , Hardbodies, Mother's Day and United Passions .  The standalone lowest-rated TV show of all time is The 1/2 Hour News Hour , with a 13.  The standalone lowest-rated album of all time is Playing with Fire by Kevin Federline, with a 15. 
Metacritic received mixed reviews from website critics, commentators, and columnists. Its efficacy has been analyzed, with conclusions finding it to be generally useful  or unreliable and biased.  The website won two annual Webby Awards for excellence in the "Guides/Ratings/Reviews" category, in 2010 and 2015.  
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.  Joe Dodson, former editor at Game Revolution, criticized Metacritic and similar sites for turning reviews into scores that he found to be too low.  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.  Further criticism was directed to the website's refusal to publicize how it aggregates scores. 
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.  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.  Readers who disapproved of the review petitioned Metacritic to remove the Post as a trusted source.  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.   Kotaku also highlighted a practice alleged to be used by some publishers who use Metacritic scores as a way to leverage more favorable terms for the publisher or deny developers bonuses should they not reach a certain score. Doyle countered this by saying "Metacritic has absolutely nothing to do with how the industry uses our numbers... Metacritic has always been about educating the gamer. We're using product reviews as a tool to help them make the most of their time and money." 
Metacritic has also been criticized for how it handles banning users and their reviews, with no notice or formal process for appeal.  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.  In July 2020, Metacritic added a 36-hour waiting period for user reviews to be posted for video games at launch in an effort to reduce user score review-bombing during that period by users that have not played or barely played the game during a period when most players will not have finished the game. 
Some have noted that Metacritic scores for modern video games may not be accurately reflective of a game's state in the future due to post release updates and patches as well as most press reviews of games taking place around its launch. For example, the metascore for MediEvil (2019) was mixed mainly due to performance issues around the time of the game's launch. These issues were fixed in post-release patches that make the game run smoothly, which would have led to a higher metascore in its current state.  Another example is online games such as Final Fantasy XIV Online and Warframe , which received mixed scores initially but became more well-received following improvements made after launch. 
The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) is a self-regulatory organization that assigns age and content ratings to consumer video games in the United States and Canada. The ESRB was established in 1994 by the Entertainment Software Association, in response to criticism of controversial video games with excessively violent or sexual content, particularly after the 1993 congressional hearings following the releases of Mortal Kombat and Night Trap for home consoles and Doom for home computers. The industry, pressured with potential government oversight of video game ratings from these hearings, established both the IDSA and the ESRB within it to create a voluntary rating system based on the Motion Picture Association of America film rating system with additional considerations for video game interactivity.
Hitman is a stealth video game franchise created by IO Interactive. In each installment, players assume the role of a cloned contract killer named Agent 47, who travels around the world to assassinate various targets that are assigned to him by the fictional International Contract Agency (ICA). Gameplay focuses on freedom of approach, with most levels placing the player in a large sandbox location where they have free rein to explore and find different ways to reach and eliminate their targets. Stealth is a major component of the gameplay and players are given various tools to accomplish their objectives, such as suppressed weaponry and the ability to take disguises, which allow 47 to blend in with non-player characters (NPCs) and bypass most restricted areas undetected.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 is a 2001 skateboarding video game and the third installment in the Tony Hawk's series. It was developed by Neversoft and published by Activision under the Activision O2 label in 2001 for the PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Game Boy Color and GameCube. In 2002, it was published for the Xbox, Game Boy Advance, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo 64, and Mac OS. It was the first game released for the PlayStation 2 supporting online play and was a launch title for the GameCube in North America.
GameSpot is an American video gaming website that provides news, reviews, previews, downloads, and other information on video games. The site was launched on May 1, 1996, created by Pete Deemer, Vince Broady and Jon Epstein. In addition to the information produced by GameSpot staff, the site also allows users to write their own reviews, blogs, and post on the site's forums. It has been owned by Fandom, Inc. since October 2022.
Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing is a 2003 racing video game developed by Stellar Stone and published by GameMill Publishing. The player controls a semi-trailer truck and races a stationary opponent through checkpoints on US truck routes. Stellar Stone, based in California, outsourced the game's development to Ukraine, and the game was released on November 20, 2003. Due to a multitude of bugs and lack of proper gameplay, Big Rigs was critically panned, became the worst-rated game on review aggregator websites Metacritic and GameRankings, and has been frequently cited as one of the worst video games of all time by gaming publications. The game has also attracted a cult following since its release.
The Movies is a business simulation game created by Lionhead Studios for Microsoft Windows and ported to Mac OS X by Feral Interactive. Players run a Hollywood film studio, creating films that can be exported from the game. The Movies was released in November 2005 to positive reviews and several awards, but sold poorly. An expansion, The Movies: Stunts & Effects, was released in 2006.
Cars is a 2006 adventure racing game published by THQ. The game is based on the 2006 film of the same name. It was released for the PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox, Microsoft Windows, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, and PlayStation Portable in June 2006, with versions for the Xbox 360 and Wii released later that year. The Wii version includes functionality geared towards its Wii Remote controller and was a launch game for the system.
Tony Hawk's is a skateboarding video game series published by Activision and endorsed by the American professional skateboarder of the same name. The series was primarily developed for home consoles by Neversoft from launch to 2007, until Activision transferred the franchise to Robomodo in 2008, who developed the franchise until 2015 when Activision and Hawk's license expired, leaving the future of the series uncertain. In 2020, the series returned under Activision with a remake of the original two games in the series, with development handled by Vicarious Visions. The series has spawned a total of 20 games.
A review aggregator is a system that collects reviews and ratings of products and services. This system stores the reviews and uses them for purposes such as supporting a website where users can view the reviews, selling information to third parties about consumer tendencies, and creating databases for companies to learn about their actual and potential customers. The system enables users to easily compare many different reviews of the same work. Many of these systems calculate an approximate average assessment, usually based on assigning a numeric value to each review related to its degree of positive rating of the work.
FIFA 09 is a football simulation video game developed by EA Canada and published by Electronic Arts under the EA Sports label. It was released in October 2008 for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Wii, Xbox 360 and Zeebo. It was later in November 2008 released for the N-Gage 2.0 and mobile phones.
Retro City Rampage is an action-adventure game developed by Vblank Entertainment. It is a parody of retro games and 1980s and 1990s pop culture, as well as Grand Theft Auto and similar games. It was first released for PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita and Microsoft Windows in 2012, with ports later releasing for several other platforms. An enhanced version, Retro City Rampage DX, was released for Nintendo 3DS in 2014, followed by later ports for other platforms. Previous ports of the original version were later updated to the DX version via free updates.
Grand Theft Auto V is a 2013 action-adventure game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. It is the seventh main entry in the Grand Theft Auto series, following 2008's Grand Theft Auto IV, and the fifteenth instalment overall. Set within the fictional state of San Andreas, based on Southern California, the single-player story follows three protagonists—retired bank robber Michael De Santa, street gangster Franklin Clinton, and drug dealer and gunrunner Trevor Philips—and their attempts to commit heists while under pressure from a corrupt government agency and powerful criminals. The open world design lets players freely roam San Andreas' open countryside and the fictional city of Los Santos, based on Los Angeles.
The Lego Movie Videogame is a Lego-themed action-adventure video game developed by TT Fusion. It follows the plot of the animated film The Lego Movie. The game was published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and released alongside the film in 2014 for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, Xbox 360, and Xbox One and on 16 October 2014 for Mac OS X by Feral Interactive. It was also ported to Apple's App Store was released on 22 January 2015 and Google Play was released on 3 May 2016.
Minecraft: Story Mode is an episodic point-and-click video game developed and published by Telltale Games, based on Mojang Studios' sandbox video game Minecraft. The first five episodes were released between October 2015 through March 2016 and an additional three episodes were released as downloadable content (DLC) in mid-2016. A second season consisting of five episodes was released in 2017.
OpenCritic is a review aggregation website for video games. OpenCritic lists reviews from critics across multiple video game publications for the games listed on the site. The website then generates a numeric score by averaging all of the numeric reviews. Several other metrics are also available, such as the percentage of critics that recommend the game and its relative ranking across all games on OpenCritic.
Death Stranding is a 2019 action game developed by Kojima Productions and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment for the PlayStation 4. It is the first game from director Hideo Kojima and Kojima Productions after their split from Konami in 2015. A Windows port licensed by Sony was released by 505 Games in July 2020. A director's cut version was released for the PlayStation 5 in September 2021, followed by a release for Windows in March 2022.
A review bomb is an Internet phenomenon in which a large number of people or a few people with multiple accounts post negative user reviews online in an attempt to harm the sales or popularity of a product, a service, or a business. While a large number of negative reviews may simply be the result of a large number of customers independently criticizing something for poor quality, a review bomb may also be driven by a desire to draw attention to perceived political or cultural issues, perhaps especially if the vendor seems unresponsive or inaccessible to direct feedback. Review bombing also typically takes place over a short period of time and meant to disrupt established ratings that a product already has at review sites, sometimes backed by campaigns organized through online message boards. It may be used as a mass-movement-driven coercion tactic, or may simply be a form of trolling. Review bombing is a similar practice to vote brigading.
Alphabear 2 is a Scrabble-style video game that was released by Spry Fox in September 2018. It is the second edition of the game Alphabear, which itself draws on creative elements of one of their older releases, the 2010 game Panda Poet.