Warren Spector tackles the thorny issue of Metacritic's impact on the industry in his second exclusive column for GamesIndustry International
Interesting read. One passage which echoes my sentiments: [QUOTE] Beyond questions of the utility of its data, there are two aspects of Metacritic's methods that undercut its credibility in my eyes and, should, I think call its accuracy and even the validity of its data into question. First, the aggregation of data is skewed by the selection of review sites included in the aggregation. For example, with Disney Epic Mickey, I know of several perfect scores (higher even than I would have given the game!) that were simply not listed or included in the game's average. And we're talking about high profile, well-respected sites here. By way of contrast, our worst review scores, typically from Some Guy With a Website, were integrated in the aggregation instantly. I know this sounds like sour grapes and if you want to interpret this in that way, you're welcome to do so. But with future projects, team bonuses, and so on hanging in the balance, I don't think it's inappropriate to ask for a public discussion of the reasoning behind reviews that are included in Metacritic's calculations and those that are not. Second, the data are skewed by the weighting and summary-conversion systems employed by the people behind Metacritic's ratings. Though I have no idea what criteria are applied or the decisions made, my understanding is that certain reviews are given greater weight in determining a game's overall score. I applaud the concept here, but without knowing exactly how the weighting is applied, the validity of the score is called into question. Similarly, the widely discussed conversion of certain reviewers' letter grades into a numerical rating is arbitrary. And the conversion of 1-10 scales and 1-5 star ratings to Metacritic's 1-100 point scale introduces a host of problems. Is a B and 80? Who decides? Is a 3 star review a 60? Again, who says? And what are the ramifications of making that decision? [/QUOTE] This. Those aspects remain shrouded in wtf, yet make arguably the biggest difference. Metacritic's letter grade to number conversion is at odds with the way we're taught in school, and scores out of 5 getting converted to 100 definitely lose something in translation. The list goes on. Seems like a pretty haphazard thing to hang company bonuses on.
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