WSJ reports how review sites like Metacritic and GameRanking are changing the video game industry. Game companies like Activision and Take-Two Interactive conducted internal studies during the past two years and found strong connections between review scores and sales. The companies have implemented new policies to tie employee bonuses to review scores on Metacritic, GameRanking, and other similar sites.
Wall Street is also paying attention to game review scores. Review scores can impact stock prices of game companies as financial analysts buy and sell the stocks based on the latest scores of new titles. The news report uses Spider-Man 3 and BioShock as examples of how review scores impact the stock market. Metacritic reveals that game publishers frequently plead with the site editor to exclude unfavorable review scores, but Metacritic has refused to omit any qualified review so far.
Movie studios like Warner Bros. have also started using "quality metrics" in contracts with game companies interested in licensing movies for games. If game publishers fail to meet specific standards at Metacritic and GameRanking, then they will have to pay higher royalties. In the article, Electronic Arts, LucasArts and other game publishers comment on this new industry trend.