‘Metacritic obsession is harming games’

The obsession around Metacritic is damaging to video games.

That’s the warning from UK developers, speaking as Eurogamer announces it is culling scores from its reviews.

Metacritic – which pulls together review scores from various websites to come up with one ultimate rating – is used as the primary measurement of quality in the games industry. Developer bonuses are sometimes linked to their Metacritic average, while game sales and share prices can fluctuate based on these scores.

The problem is how parts of the games industry and audience treat Metacritic,” Eurogamer editor Oli Welsh told MCV.

The idea that a game isn’t worth buying, or that its developers have failed and don’t deserve bonuses if it scores under 80 or even 85 on Metacritic, is going to result in samey, bland games that are made according to what works in Metacritic’s system. It’s harming innovation in mainstream gaming.”

Bossa Studios co-founder Imre Jele added: I understand the desire to simplify complex matters into easy to understand patterns. But ultimately I believe review scores are a bane to the games industry.”

Frontier Developments’ David Braben feels that consumers are missing out by just looking at the number: There are so many factors that go into reviews it doesn’t make sense. Some people use the score as a quick shorthand, but there is so much missing.”

But not everyone believes Metacritic still holds the sway it once had.

What matters most to us is the response of players and how social media spreads the word about good, playable games,” said Rebellion founder Jason Kingsley.

Welsh added: The most creative, influential and best-selling game of the last decade, Minecraft, was a massive hit before it ever had a Metascore.”

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