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Metacritic faces credibility blow as thousands rig user scores (update)

Sunday, 26th October 2008 10:01 GMT By Patrick Garratt

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Had to happen some time. Thousands of fanboys have dragged Gears of War 2 and Resistance 2′s user ratings on Metacritic down to 2.6 and 5.3 respectively, despite the fact that only a handful of people in the world have yet to play either game.

Metacritic games editor Marc Doyle has moved the address the issue, posting the following on the Gear 2 page:

My advice for our faithful users is to focus your attention on the Metascore for this game and not the thousands of user votes, most of which have been submitted before said users have played the game. This is a gaming community, and if people want to stuff the ballot box, there’s not much I can do at this point. When we upgrade the registration requirements for participation on the site in the near future, this type of thing won’t happen. We’ll post the full legitimate user reviews upon the game’s release. As always, thanks for using the site.

Metacritic averages have risen astronomically in importance in recent years, and are now heavily quoted as references to quality by the biggest names in the industry. While this incident is limited to user-scores, it’s the first notable time high profiles games have been sabotaged in this way on the site.

Privately, many in the trade are exasperated by the use of Metacritic as a global average, as it makes no allowance for regional trends in review scoring. Put it this way: it’s not just readers that can be seen as rigging scores.

So, what do you do, Metacritic? Remove users’ ability to have their say?

Update: Looks as though LittleBigPlanet has fallen victim to this as well. Thanks, Shatner.

Breaking news

23 Comments

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  1. Syrok

    Why not disable the user voting until two weeks after the release? Fanboys will have forgotten all about the game by then. (Maybe)

    #1 6 years ago
  2. G1GAHURTZ

    Surely no-one takes the user scores seriously anyway?

    I certainly never have.

    #2 6 years ago
  3. patlike

    I think you’d be surprised, G1.

    #3 6 years ago
  4. Tonka

    Anotheronebitesthedust

    #4 6 years ago
  5. Big Stu

    2.6 v 5.3?

    The moral of this story? The PS3 has far more rabid fanboys!

    #5 6 years ago
  6. Big Stu

    Or that the 360 fanboys are more generous! haha

    #6 6 years ago
  7. Shatner

    Big Stu,

    LBP (still unreleased) has had MORE user reviews submitted than Halo 3 has in its entire lifetime – and it’s dragged down to a 6.something average.

    It’s tat-for-tat on a pretty equal basis. But it’s very easy to read reports and get the impression that one set of idiots is more idiotic than another set of idiots.

    Another piece of selective reporting behaviour:

    It’s interesting to see how, after making an article dedicated to a review score of a big PlayStation game the same article gets breathlessly updated to reassure Xbox owners that, yes, one of their big games also got 9/10. If you check the (linked to) Xbox game article, you’ll find that no such ‘update’ has been made (or mention) in respect of the PlayStation game.

    Consistencyfail

    #7 6 years ago
  8. Big Stu

    Wow.

    Some people take the internet WAY too seriously.

    It was a joke.

    #8 6 years ago
  9. Shatner

    You want to see people taking things too seriously? Go to the Lionhead forums and check out the rage over Fable 2 co-op.

    #9 6 years ago
  10. Big Stu

    I’ve seen it. And personally, i think it’s pretty fucking horrific how a developer behind the game should think so little of someone’s opinion.

    #10 6 years ago
  11. Shatner

    What if that opionion was expressed in death threats, name calling and a clear disregard for factual information over bias and assumption (with a bit of immaturity and greed thrown in for good measure)?

    You think that should be be given BIG INTERNET RESPECT?

    Hmm.

    Some people that the internet WAY too seriously.

    #11 6 years ago
  12. patlike

    Shatner: I updated the Resistance story because it was the one linked from the top bar. You really should put the tinfoil hat away.

    #12 6 years ago
  13. Shatner

    Why not update both, for the sake of consistency though?

    If, as your actions suggest, the two are related then why make the relationship one-way?

    No need for a tin-foil hat pat. I’m just showing you how things look to the reader. I am well aware of the differences between that between what the content creator sees and how it gets seen by the punter. Dismissing (and deriding) the feedback of your readership isn’t a very constructive attitude. It draws parallels with Big Stu’s observations of people dismissing the opinions of their audience.

    Still doesn’t really explain how you managed to overlook the LBP part of metacritic which has been regarded elsewhere as the catalyst for this amazingly childish behaviour. Did you investigate it and choose not to mention it or did you simply not know about it?

    #13 6 years ago
  14. patlike

    I only dismiss and deride your “feedback,” to be honest :)

    I honestly didn’t know about the LBP thing. The Resistance 2 and Gears 2 scores were flagged up on other sites this morning, which is why I noticed it. I’ll add an update.

    #14 6 years ago
  15. Tonka

    TINFOIL PAT
    TINFOIL PAT
    TINFOIL PAT

    #15 6 years ago
  16. David

    This is just another case of fanboys attacking games that aren’t on their console. Pretty sad but its what happens on the internets.

    If you go to a few PS3 and 360 game videos over on gametrailers you will find the same childish behaviour.

    I don’t know why people have this tribal attitude to consoles. I’m not made of money but if I could I would own everything and play as many game across all platforms as I could. This is stupid behaviour in the end and it just shows how pathetic we can be.

    #16 6 years ago
  17. AlbenoEpiX

    Disable user-voting until the game’s official release date. This may dilute the problem slightly, as the votes of the spoil sports will be somewhat offset by genuine user votes.

    #17 6 years ago
  18. Tonka

    Implant kill switches in all of humanity. Then have them DNA logged on all their activities. One misstep and KABLAM!,blow their heads off.

    #18 6 years ago
  19. morriss

    I ignored the LBP thing. so it was partly my responsibility. I looked at it and just shook my head and moved on.

    “Non-news” I thought. Oh well.

    #19 6 years ago
  20. Syrok

    What makes this news then? :)

    #20 6 years ago
  21. No_PUDding

    My finger are achign from voting so many times on the games. Glad it was newsworthy!

    #21 6 years ago
  22. morriss

    Syrok: a difference of opinion.

    #22 6 years ago
  23. Syrok

    Okay… I bet no one expected that difference in opinion.

    #23 6 years ago