Metacritic pressure and percentage review scores are ridiculous, says director

Splash Damage studio director Paul Wedgwood has criticized a prevailing trend in the industry for publishers to put undue emphasis on Metacritic scores, something which can affect a studio financially if they don’t hit review targets. He also voiced disapproval of publications that score using a percentage, instead urging the games media to move towards a five star system.

“Personally I think it’s ridiculous,” said Wedgewood, talking about the percentage score system. “In the film industry, four stars is an amazing score. I think it’s a really good idea for a developer to go to a publisher and demand that they get an additional bonus for achieving a certain review score, but it shouldn’t affect their royalties or anything else. If you have a high-selling game, you have a high-selling game.

“We know that some websites score quite high and some quite low, but in general, all websites tend to score between 60 and 100. There’s never a 37. It’s as if that whole section doesn’t exist, so zero starts at 60, so three stars, and goes up to five. It’s just not really an accurate enough measure.”

Percentages are certainly ludicrous, but I have no idea why publishers are still so hung up on Metacritic averages. First of all, everybody knows that sh*t games will sell regardless of how many reviewers tear it apart, as years of licensed garbage prove. Second of all, I’ll believe that most publishers care about quality on the same day I believe that Sonic Unleashed deserved to be in the UK top ten.

Jim Sterling