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The Wall Street Journal: High Scores Matter To Game Makers, Too

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.

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Captain Tuttle3595d ago

Good article, I'm glad it got posted. Reviews are big business and directly affect a companys' bottom line, no matter what the fanboys say.

bootsielon3594d ago

"Metacritic's scores aren't always on the mark as a sales predictor. That's especially true with games based on movies, where a well-loved, well-marketed film can lift sales of even games most critics dislike. Despite relatively poor scores, analysts believe Activision's Spider-Man 3 game will likely closely match the more than four million copies sold of Spider-Man 2 in the U.S. and far outsell the first game in the series."

And they certainly won't matter, considering Halo is not the best game ever (far from it), but it is a best-seller.

Great games like ICO, Okami, viewtiful joe 1&2, killer 7 and God Hand haven't sold that well. Hell, Bioshock should be best-seller by now, beating halo solely for its quality, and it didn't.

There are also great games that don't score high on metacritic. See "Enter the MAtrix", or "Mortal Kombat".

Reviews don't matter. YOUR CHOICE does. Stop being sheep, xbots.

kewlkat0073594d ago

A. Developers pour in a lot of Sweat and Hard work, 40+ hour weeks, no sleep, with mad stress and pressure; working on a games for sometimes, 3+ years, to make it to the market; in the hopes of expanding the Game and it's genre to the casual masses/hardcore gamers, as well as, continuing a franchise(2nd&3rd), while trying to make it more fresh with new features.

1. Now imagine doing all of that and knowing some gamers take reviewers reviews, with a grain of salt or a grain of rice, only, not to be satisfied with the game because of the score it got from 2-4 Game reviewers, would really SUCK. Hey it happens more often than not, since most games are not "AAA" but this can sometimes be subjective, since everyone has their own opinions after the "game reviewers" have had their say.

2. Game developers do take a look at the consensus of the scores across the boards. Sometimes it can help them make the game better on the next installment and sometimes they get "SOUR" about it and start attacking other Developers.(we have seen it already this Gen)

3. It is still left up to the developers to to do the best they can with the TOLLS/SUPPORT/MONEY, they get from the console Manufacturers/Publishers, to make a game, that satisfy the Masses, hopefully pushing the genre in any which way, as well as gaining new fans. It is tough for "Start-Ups", since no new developer, can claim anything or even expects to roll in money, until the Game has been proven. Even if this developer is going out of their comfort Zone(RPG's only) to try something different.

4. Then it's up to the Masses to play the game and see for themselves. If you have never played the game and going by by what the game reviewers say, then your experience is very shallow, but if 10/15 game reviewers , all say the same thing and some do this for a living, the consensus can be accurate. It is what it is.

B. What I do enjoy, is "SLEEPER GAMES." The ones, Game reviewers trash that happen to be one of the best games by trying to do something different in regards to the genre. Scores are very subjectve but when 90% is saying one thing and 10% is saying the other, that 90% have more leverage and some gamers will look at that game towards that light.