Type of site
|Owner||CBS Interactive (CBS Corporation)|
|1,505 (May 2015[update])|
Metacritic is a commercial website that aggregates reviews of music albums, games, movies, TV shows, DVDs, and formerly, books. For each product, a numerical score from each review is obtained and the total is averaged. It was created and founded by Jason Dietz, Marc Doyle, and Julie Doyle Roberts. An excerpt of each review is provided along with a hyperlink to the source. Three color codes of Green, Yellow and Red summarize the critic's recommendation, giving an idea of the general appeal of the product among reviewers and, to a lesser extent, the public. It is regarded as the video game industry's foremost review aggregator.
Metacritic's method of scoring converts each review into a percentage that the site decides for itself, before taking a weighted average based on the critic's fame or stature, and listing different numbers of reviews. Although Metacritic refuses to reveal the weights applied to each critic, the weights are easy to calculate using linear algebra, providing insight into the site's subjective rating of different critics. Many review websites give a review grade out of five, out of ten, out of a hundred, or even an alphabetical score. Metacritic converts such a grade into a percentage. For reviews with no explicit scores (for example, The New York Times reviews), Metacritic manually assesses the tone of the review before assigning a relevant grade.
Metacritic was launched in January 1999 by Marc Doyle, along with his sister Julie Doyle Roberts and a classmate from the University of Southern California law school, Jason Dietz. Rotten Tomatoes was already compiling movie reviews at the time, but Doyle, Roberts, and Dietz "saw an opportunity to cover a broader range of media". They sold Metacritic to CNET in 2005. CNET and Metacritic are owned by the CBS Corporation.
Nick Wingfield of The Wall Street Journal wrote in September 2004, "Mr. Doyle, 36, is now a senior product manager at CNET but he also acts as games editor of Metacritic". Speaking of video games, Doyle said, "A site like ours helps people cut through...unobjective promotional language". He also said "By giving consumers, and web users specifically, early information on the objective quality of a game, not only are they more educated about their choices, but it forces publishers to demand more from their developers, license owners to demand more from their licensees, and eventually, hopefully, the games get better". Doyle said, "I don't want to overstate our role in this area, but we're highlighting the review process", which he thinks was not taken as seriously when unconnected magazines and websites were providing their reviews in isolation.
Metacritic's scores ("Metascores") are weighted averages—certain publications are given more significance "based simply because of their stature".
Metacritic 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". Doyle said that because video games are a greater investment of time and money than other forms of entertainment, gamers are much more informed about reviews than film fans or music fans. They would like to know "whether that hotly anticipated title is going to deliver."
The ranging metascores for games, films, television programs and music are:
|Mixed or average||50–74||40–60|
Criticism of game metascores
Many video game reviewers take issue with the way Metacritic assigns scores. When a game reviewer gives a video game a rating of "A", Metacritic assigns it a value of 100. When a reviewer gives a game a rating of "F", Metacritic assigns it a value of 0—although some reviewers think a score of 50 is more appropriate. When a reviewer gives a game a rating of "B-", Metacritic assigns it a value of 67—and many publishers, developers, and websurfers believe that the score should be closer to 80, instead of using the same linear scale as other scoring conversions. A former editor at the review site Game Revolution, Joe Dodson, criticized Metacritic and similar sites, saying their conversion system was turning their reviews into scores that were too low. Doyle said "I feel that ANY scale simply needs to be converted directly with its lowest possible grade equating to 0, and the highest to 100."
Doyle said some publishers want him to include certain critics that Metacritic does not track and some want certain critics excluded, usually because they give a game a poor review. Another common complaint from US publishers is that British critics should not be reviewing games that are based on American sports like the NFL, NASCAR, or the NBA. Doyle said, "Conversely, many European publishers feel that American critics are not qualified or properly situated to review football, rally, F1, cricket and rugby games". Doyle said, "once I've decided to track a publication, I cannot pick and choose which reviews I list on Metacritic based on such individual judgments".
Publishers often try to persuade Doyle to exclude reviews they feel are unfair, but Doyle said that after a publication has been included in the system, he refuses to omit any reviews that receive complaints.
The Xentax Foundation analyzed the games related data at Metacritic and published their findings in a 30-page comprehensive paper on January 19, 2014. One of the conclusions of the author, Mike Zuurman, was "The data at Metacritic leaves much to be desired and seems to be heavily biased", while calling the validity and the accuracy of the data "low".
As a result of the perceived negative influence of Metacritic on the way the video game industry works, several game reviewing sites, including Kotaku and Eurogamer have dropped numerical reviews that would appear in Metacritic, instead favoring a text-based assessment of a game.
Influence of game metascores
Nick Wingfield of The Wall Street Journal has written that Metacritic "influence[s] the sales of games and the stocks of video game publishers", citing as example "One company [which] requires game publishers to pay higher royalties if they receive low scores on such sites". Wingfield explains the influence of the website as coming from the higher cost to consumers of buying video games than for buying music or movie tickets. Many executives say that low scores "can hurt the long-term sales potential" of game franchises. Wingfield wrote that Wall Street is paying attention to Metacritic and Game Rankings because the sites typically post scores before any sales data are publicly available, citing the rapid rise and fall in value, respectively, of the relevant game companies following the release of BioShock and Spider-Man 3.
In an interview with The Guardian, Marc Doyle cited, "two major publishers" which "conducted comprehensive statistical surveys through which they've been able to draw a correlation between high metascores and stronger sales" in certain genres. Doyle further 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."
In 2004, Jason Hall of Warner Bros. began "including 'quality metrics' in the contracts the studio signed with partners interested in licensing Warner movies for games". If a product does not receive specific scores or better from aggregator sites like Metacritic, some deals require game publishers to pay higher royalties to Warner Bros.
Further criticism of the website
Under recent years, Metacritic has been the subject of criticism due to how the website currently handles the banning of users and users' reviews - with no notices or proper appeals for the affected. Critics and developers alike have pointed out the website's lack of personnel management along with the automatic systems since video-games can be "bombed" with 0/10 ratings under just one night, severely damaging the reputation of a video-game title. Signal Studios president and creative director Douglas Robert Albright III has described the website as having "no standards".
This is the top 10 games with best metascore in the site (up to December 2014)  with ties in score decided by user ranking.
|1||The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time||1998||Nintendo||Nintendo 64, GameCube||99||7.6M|
|2||SoulCalibur||1999||Namco||Arcade, Dreamcast, iOS, Android, Xbox Live||98||1.3M|
|3||Grand Theft Auto IV||2008||Rockstar Games||PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC||98||25M|
|4||Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2||2000||Activision||PlayStation, PC, Game Boy Color, Dreamcast, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo 64, Xbox||98||6.6M|
|5||Perfect Dark||2000||Nintendo||Nintendo 64||97||2.5M|
|6||Metroid Prime||2002||Nintendo||GameCube, Wii||97||2.8M|
|7||Super Mario Galaxy 2||2010||Nintendo||Wii||97||7.41M|
|8||Super Mario Galaxy||2007||Nintendo||Wii||97||12.5M|
|9||Halo: Combat Evolved||2001||Microsoft Studios||Xbox, PC||97||8.6M|
|10||Grand Theft Auto III||2001||Rockstar Games||PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC, PlayStation 3, iOS, Android||97||13.1M|
Best game per year
This a list of the games with best metascore per year (since 1995).
|1995||Command & Conquer||Virgin Interactive||PC, Sega Saturn, PlayStation, Nintendo 64, PlayStation Network||94||n/a|
|1996||Super Mario 64||Nintendo||Nintendo 64||94||11.62M|
|1997||GoldenEye 007||Nintendo||Nintendo 64||96||8.1M|
|1998||The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time||Nintendo||Nintendo 64, GameCube||99||7.6M|
|1999||SoulCalibur||Namco||Arcade, Dreamcast, Xbox Live, iOS, Android||98||1.3M|
|2000||Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2||Activision||PlayStation, PC, Game Boy Color, Dreamcast, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo 64, Xbox||98||6.6M|
|2001||Halo: Combat Evolved||Microsoft||Xbox, PC||97||5M|
|2002||Metroid Prime||Nintendo||GameCube, Wii||97||2.8M|
|2003||The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker||Nintendo||GameCube, Wii U||96||4.6M|
|2004||Half-Life 2||Valve Corporation||PC, Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3||96||12M|
|2005||Resident Evil 4||Capcom||GameCube, PlayStation 2, PC, Wii, iOS, Zeebo, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3||96||7.5M|
|2006||The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess||Nintendo||Wii, GameCube||96||8.5M|
|2007||Super Mario Galaxy||Nintendo||Wii||97||12.5M|
|2008||Grand Theft Auto IV||Rockstar Games||PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC||98||25M|
|2009||Uncharted 2: Among Thieves||SCEA||PlayStation 3||96||6.3M|
|2010||Super Mario Galaxy 2||Nintendo||Wii||97||7.41M|
|2011||Batman: Arkham City||WBIE||PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii U||96||6M|
|2012||The Walking Dead||Telltale Games||PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC, iOS, Android, Fire OS, Ouya||94||8.5M|
|2013||Grand Theft Auto V||Rockstar Games||PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC||97||54M|
|2014||Super Smash Bros. for Wii U||Nintendo||Wii U||92||3.83M|
|2015||Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain||Konami||PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC||95||5M|
Best exclusive per platform
This list shows the best exclusive game of each platform on Metacritic.
- 1 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D has a higher score, but it's not an exclusive (it's a 3DS remake of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time).
- 2 Persona 4 Golden has a higher score, but it's not an exclusive (it's a PS Vita port of Persona 4).
- 3 The Last of Us Remastered has a higher score, but it's not an exclusive (it's a PS4 remaster of The Last of Us).
Metacritic stated that it will not reveal the relative weight assigned to each reviewer.
- "Metacritic.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved May 8, 2015.
- Nick Wingfield (2007-09-20). "High Scores Matter To Game Makers, Too". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2008-02-15.
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- Keith Stuart (2008-01-17). "Interview: the science and art of Metacritic". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-02-15.
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- "How We Create the Metascore Magic". Metacritic. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 2012-05-13.
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- Tolito, Stephan (2012-01-30). "How We Will Review Games". Kotaku. Retrieved 2015-02-10.
- Welsh, Oli (2015-02-10). "Eurogamer has dropped review scores". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2015-02-10.
- Chris Remo (2008-05-22). "Microsoft To Delist Low-Ranking XBLA Titles, Raise Size Limit". GamaSutra. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
- Joe Keiser (2008-05-22). "EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: MS to Delist XBLA Titles". Next Generation. Retrieved 2008-05-29.[dead link]
- "Metacritic Bans "Bombing" Users - Bans several users only after a request by developers". Retrieved 2011-09-23.
- "Publicly available BBB complaints - Describes as a majority to have issues with CBS refusing contact". Retrieved 2014-03-01.
- "Metacritic criticized by company president - Exclaims site without standards". Retrieved 2011-09-22.
- http://www.metacritic.com/browse/games/score/metascore/all/all?view=condensed&sort=desc Game Releases by Score (All Time)
- http://www.metacritic.com/browse/games/score/metascore/year/all?sort=desc&view=condensed&year_selected=2000 Game Releases by Score (By year)
- http://www.metacritic.com/game/legacy Legacy Platform releases
- "Frequently Asked Questions - Metacritic". Retrieved 2015-07-29.