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Op Ed

Warren Spector - Why Metacritic Should Be Irrelevant.
The fact is, few of us will ever approach that Platonic ideal of art, commerce and critical acclaim achieved in equal measures. And that means each of us must decide for ourselves how to define success. For me, that means achieving a kind of self-satisfaction - knowing my team accomplished the goals we set as effectively as we could, given circumstances. For me, that means living up to the priorities captured in a personal mission statement. For me, that means doing well enough, commercially, that someone will step up and fund my next game.

Gamer Horizon - Star Wars and EA is a Good Thing.
When I think of EA I don’t see “the worst company in America.” I see the publisher that gave me some of my favorite experiences this generation like Skate, Mass Effect 2 and to a lesser extent, Mass Effect 3, Dead Space, and Mirror’s Edge. I see them in the business of entertainment, and like all in the business, they have some misses minor and major. If Kathleen Kennedy is okay with the Star Wars brand in their hands, then so am I. I haven’t been this excited about the future of Star Wars in over a decade.

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43. Re: Op Ed May 17, 2013, 11:40 EternityInBlack
 
I actually want to shed more light on this because I don't think people understand to what end Metacritic is actually being used in the industry. It's true that people use it post-release to gauge the success of the game, but a lot of it is also used prior to funding development.

I've spoken to several of my colleagues who work in the industry and they've been employed in several companies before, in both publisher and developer roles. The gist of what I got is that a lot of things at the negotiating table are done with Metacritic in mind. Let me give you an example.

Let's say you're a publisher and you sit down with a developer. They're unproven, or they have games that have had lower Metacritic scores. The publisher asks, "So you have a good vertical slice of a game... we know what it is capable of being, but what do you have for us that will ensure that we'll get a quality product?" The developer comes and says, "We guarantee a Metacritic score of 80. If it doesn't, we'll waive cuts on profit."

In that example the developer, to prove themselves, have to throw out a Metacritic number to be funded. Now I'm sure that a lot of other negotiations are more complex than what I presented, but the basic gist of it is this: Metacritic scores, as useless as it is for some, is used as a bargaining chip for a lot of things in the industry.

My opinion? It's totally bogus. Scores can be inflated or deflated depending on who is reviewing the game. Some outlets might receive the game and some outlets might not. Metacritic does selectively choose outlets for inclusion on the site, but one PC game might have 50 reviewers, and another 90 reviewers for another, maybe more high profile game.

This puts to light, of course, the irony that we post review scores on our site. There are just people who do go to sites because of scores. I wish we could remove it, but in the end it's the nature of the beast. As a compromise, we've set 1-10 as our ratings with no decimals and, in addition, we've explained what that means on our site.

Ratings are always going to be a tricky thing... but unless we come up with a better barometer reading for popularity outside of sales, executives are going to use Metacritic as THE defacto standard in judging the potential and quality of a product.
 
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42. Re: Op Ed May 17, 2013, 11:08 EternityInBlack
 
Verno wrote on May 17, 2013, 08:42:
Our first entry with bonus lens flare! Needs more mountain dew I think though!

The people in the pic are way cooler than us! I think I agree that it might need more Mountain Dew(tm) though. Keep it coming!
 
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41. Re: Op Ed May 17, 2013, 08:42 Verno
 
EternityInBlack wrote on May 16, 2013, 13:14:
Verno wrote on May 16, 2013, 13:00:
I have commissioned the very finest artists from premier internet website Somethingawful.com for this project, you will not be disappointed with the results!

I'll also take other interpretations of a "Gamer Horizon"! Having Cheetos on the logo might sound like people are pandering to my sensibilities lol

totally unrelated: saw you liked Hannibal. loving Hannibal right now. can't wait for tonight!

Our first entry with bonus lens flare! Needs more mountain dew I think though!
 
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40. Re: Op Ed May 17, 2013, 07:03 Redmask
 
double post sorry  
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39. Re: Op Ed May 17, 2013, 07:03 Redmask
 
You guys are ridiculous

I hate metacritic, its a blight on the whole industry but it serves a valid purpose for the customer so developers just need to put up with it.
 
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38. Re: Op Ed May 16, 2013, 13:14 EternityInBlack
 
Verno wrote on May 16, 2013, 13:00:
I have commissioned the very finest artists from premier internet website Somethingawful.com for this project, you will not be disappointed with the results!

I'll also take other interpretations of a "Gamer Horizon"! Having Cheetos on the logo might sound like people are pandering to my sensibilities lol

totally unrelated: saw you liked Hannibal. loving Hannibal right now. can't wait for tonight!
 
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37. Re: Op Ed May 16, 2013, 13:00 Verno
 
I have commissioned the very finest artists from premier internet website Somethingawful.com for this project, you will not be disappointed with the results!  
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Playing: Dragon Age Inquisition, Far Cry 4, This War of Mine
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36. Re: Op Ed May 16, 2013, 12:48 EternityInBlack
 
Verno wrote on May 16, 2013, 12:34:
Challenge accepted!

Just don't forget the name! If there's more than one entry I'll post all of them in the article.
 
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35. Re: Op Ed May 16, 2013, 12:34 Verno
 
EternityInBlack wrote on May 16, 2013, 12:04:
If someone can Photoshop "cheetos and anime set against a pictureque sunset," I will personally post that as our logo for the week and even write an article about it on Gamer Horizon!

Also, I personally prefer Cheetos over Doritos. Just saying

Challenge accepted!
 
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34. Re: Op Ed May 16, 2013, 12:04 EternityInBlack
 
If someone can Photoshop "cheetos and anime set against a pictureque sunset," I will personally post that as our logo for the week and even write an article about it on Gamer Horizon!

Also, I personally prefer Cheetos over Doritos. Just saying
 
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33. Re: Op Ed May 16, 2013, 09:43 avianflu
 
DomGrief, have to disagree. Metacritic is so very disliked by game devs because it throws a small dose of reality in their faces every time they look at it. And they have to look at it because everyone looks at it.

That's why Warren so keenly wants it to be "irrelevant." Metacritic is TMI for game devs.

Yes of course the aggregate scoring is flawed but when thousands of gamers score a particular game, that starts to mean something.

 
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32. Re: Op Ed May 16, 2013, 09:09 N2NOther
 
InBlack wrote on May 15, 2013, 09:28:
Star Wars and EA is a Good Thing...

These kinds of articles do so much to discredit and discourage any honest gaming 'journalist' left out there, or indeed anyone in the gaming industry who wants to express an honest, unbiased, opinion.

Thanks for reading. I assure you that I am as unbiased as anyone because I don't get paid a dime for my contributions to Gamer Horizon. I do what I do because I love video games. Being optimistic about the future of Star Wars games is my honest, unbiased opinion.

I can promise you that I will disavow every single word I wrote if things do not turn out as I hope.
 
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31. Re: Op Ed May 16, 2013, 09:04 N2NOther
 
Prez wrote on May 15, 2013, 22:01:
EA article written by an EA fanboy who closes a blind eye to some of the worst offenses committed against gaming. Disregarded. Though I admit they should go great together, Star Wars and EA. The Star Wars IP has been completely devalued by terrible movies, terrible decisions, and the asstastic SWTOR and is now worthless, and EA is steadfastly anti-consumer and generally just sucks complete ass. A match made in hell. They deserve each other.

First I would like to say thank you for reading and commenting. I do appreciate it.

With that being said, I can see how a lack of bleak negativity for this development can come off as a fanboy, but I wrote the piece because I genuinely feel like this is a good thing. I'm by no means an EA fanboy, but I have enjoyed quite a few games this generation and last that were developed by these developers and happened to be published by EA.

I can also can see how you think I am turning a blind eye, but I assure you I am not. Just because I chose to not muddle my message by not acknowledging things like the SimCity fiasco doesn't mean I am not aware of them. In fact, even though I don't game on PC, I was very vocal about the DRM practices laid forth during that incident and the horrible way both EA and Maxis handled the PR afterwords.

I am optimistic about the future of the Star Wars franchise and until I'm shown otherwise in cases that directly relate to Star Wars, then I will remain so.

Again, thank you for reading! I sincerely appreciate your time.
 
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30. Re: Op Ed May 15, 2013, 22:01 Prez
 
EA article written by an EA fanboy who closes a blind eye to some of the worst offenses committed against gaming. Disregarded. Though I admit they should go great together, Star Wars and EA. The Star Wars IP has been completely devalued by terrible movies, terrible decisions, and the asstastic SWTOR and is now worthless, and EA is steadfastly anti-consumer and generally just sucks complete ass. A match made in hell. They deserve each other.  
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29. Re: Op Ed May 15, 2013, 20:27 Saboth
 
I'll agree, EA back in the day seemed to be an OK developer. However, you can't look at a 90 year old bodybuilder and say "yup, he's still in top form." EA today is not the EA of 15 years ago. I'm actually happy Disney has Star Wars, because they seem to be fairly competent working with Marvel. Some of the cartoons out (like Avengers) and movies (like Avengers) have been very good. However, EA with Star Wars? No thanks. They didn't win Worst Company in America 2x because of butthurt fanboys, as some people believe, but because they are about as anti-gamer rights as possible, and only out to make as much $ for themselves while steamrolling everyone. They are the Monsanto of the gaming industry.  
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28. Re: Op Ed May 15, 2013, 20:04 Domgrief
 
I think I agree with Mr Spector on this one:

  • The game devs are welcome to come up with their own criteria for success

  • Metacritic scores are misleading to me as a gamer - generally, I'm more likely to enjoy a MC 70% game that's recommended by a friend, than a randomly selected MC 90% game

  • Game publishers have been able to measure critical acclaim for decades - but in the old days they actually had to choose which critics to trust, and read their reviews. Handing this responsibility over to Metacritic - which will happily lump together arstechnica and mysonworksforactiblizzard.com, is not necessarily a step forward
  •  
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    27. Re: Op Ed May 15, 2013, 18:36 Julio
     
    Given Metacritic has had issues with fraudulent developer written reviews means you have to take what's written as not very accurate. Kind of like the gaming review magazines who will give good game scores for advertising dollars.  
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    26. Re: Op Ed May 15, 2013, 18:16 Krovven
     
    I don't have a problem with Metacritic being an aggregate for reviews of entertainment media.

    The ultimate problem with Metacritic is some Game Publishers using it as a measuring stick as to whether a developer should receive their bonuses.

    IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes are other aggregate review sites, the first being user reviews, the latter being professional reviews. I've never heard of studios using either of those sites to base whether a production company gets bonuses.

     
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    25. Re: Op Ed May 15, 2013, 15:25 Mashiki Amiketo
     
    nin wrote on May 15, 2013, 10:51:
    Based on the mouth breathing I've seen post reviews there, no.
    I have seen a review saying: "IT MAKES FIRE TASTE GOOD!" With 19/25 people finding it helpful. Yeah gotta agree with that one nin.
     
    --
    "For every human problem,
    there is a neat, simple solution;
    and it is always wrong."
    --H.L. Mencken
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    24. Re: Op Ed May 15, 2013, 14:16 PropheT
     
    Creston wrote on May 15, 2013, 11:34:
    MC still has some marginal value to judge a game at a glance, though. (even though said value is getting less and less, with more and more review sites simply being paid shills these days.)

    Game reviews in general are what make Metacritic useless, whether it's because people are being paid to shill like you say or just because video game reviews as a whole have little to no value. A good game that isn't hyped to death will get 70's, a great game 80's, and anything that's hyped and marketed to hell and back gets high 80's or 90's unless it's fairly bad. That's always been a problem with game reviews, really, but I don't remember it ever being as bad as it is now...especially since big review sites decided they were going to start scoring some games lower to seem more balanced.

    Metacritic itself isn't the problem and it does have some value, it's just that you need to take every score you see on it with a grain of salt since the reviews that build the aggregate are often of so little value individually.

    I'd ignore reviews entirely and dismiss the entire thing is worthless at this point, but when the games that are made available to us are funded and built around Metacritic scores that makes that difficult.
     
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