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Metacritic: The power of user opinions

Metacritic: The power of user opinions

Anyone who shops online is familiar with rating portals and customer ratings – no matter if it’s the local pizza delivery service with only two stars for their charred margherita or the mail order company with five stars for a Terribly expensive TV: In 2022 We are trained to rate everything, and as a result we (apparently) effortlessly gain an impression of the quality of the corresponding product.

Ratings have been a part of computer and video games since the early days of the medium. At first, print magazines, and later websites, blogs, and YouTube formats were happy to award percentage ratings, stamps, or other awards to games as a sign of outstanding or even inferior gaming experiences. If you’re looking for an overview of ratings and an average of the ratings given, you’ll find it on Metacritic. The website, founded in 2001, summarizes the test scores of registered media and then spits out the so-called Metascore on a scale of 0 to 100. It also delivers metacritical the user score based on user ratings based on an average value from 0 to 10.


Metacritic or even those of Vapor Player-created reviews offer one thing above all else: a quick and seemingly unbiased overview of a game’s qualities. However, Metacritic is more than just buying advice. Due to its wide reach, the portal has a huge influence on game development, the people behind it, and gaming culture in general.








The traffic light shows how good or bad the games are: Metacritic marks the quality levels of the products in green, yellow and red.

Source: plasma media agency



Metacritic’s system certainly raises questions, and if you think about the numbers a bit, it also brings with it some fundamental difficulties. For example, the portal gathers press ratings and quickly extrapolates them to a 100 system despite different rating approaches. The problem: portals that rate in increments of 5 significantly change the average calculated by Metacritic. Metacritic itself writes in this context of “weighted average” (ie “weighted average”) and emphasizes that certain publications and press representatives are rated higher than others. However, this is not clearly recognizable or even transparent. It is not uncommon for the first ten recorded evaluations to be decisive in determining an initial trend.

Already in 2015 criticized American journalist Jason Schreier for the American website Kotaku Metacritic’s influence on game design. Metacritical ratings served as a hurdle for bonus payouts and also as a hiring criteria in publisher-developer contracts. The apparent dependence on Metacritic also affected the conception of the projects themselves, since not only were the wishes and needs of paying customers taken into account, but the preferences of the press were more strongly aimed at increasing the Metascore. . One can hardly speak more of “creative freedom” here.

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