The importance of reviews aggregators such as Metacritic may be overstated, according to Cowen Group analyst Doug Creutz, who claims that of the eight metrics measured review scores emerged as the least influential.
Instead, the study found that word-of-mouth was by far the most effective driver of consumer purchases.
We believe that while Metacritic scores may be correlated to game quality and word of mouth, and thus somewhat predictive of title performance, they are unlikely in and of themselves to drive or undermine the success of a game,” Creutz stated, according to Gamasutra.
We note this, in part, because of persistent rumours that some game developers have been jawboning game reviewers into giving their games higher critical review scores. We believe the publishers are better served by spending their time on the development process than by 'grade-grubbing' after the fact.”
Other factors named by those questioned include how much gamer's enjoyed any earlier titles in the series, price, graphics and the reputation of the publisher behind the game.
The most important factor was said to be the genre of the game.