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Metacritic refuse to remove factually inaccurate review even after GameSpot admits mistake

Thursday, 15th November 2012 09:41 GMT By Nick Akerman

Metacritic’s policy to accept a publication’s first review is coming back round to haunt Natural Selection 2. GameSpot reviews editor Kevin VanOrd recently banished the site’s original article due to a number of factual errors and silly mistakes. Unfortunately, Metacritic is refusing to replace the old score with GameSpot’s replacement verdict.

VanOrd removed the piece from freelancer Eric Neigher, issued an apology, and asked UK-based writer Ashton Raze to provide a second review.

While GS dealt with the situation accordingly, Metacritic is refusing to acknowledge the new score. The original 6/10 still stands even though Raze justified an 8/10 in the re-review.

Metacritic explained the situation.

“Yes, the critics we track know – and I spoke to the GameSpot team about this this week – that we only accept the first review and first score published for a given game,” MC head Marc Doyle told Kotaku.

“I’m explicit about this policy with every new publication we agree to track. It’s a critic-protection measure, instituted in 2003 after I found that many publications had been pressured to raise review scores (or de-publish reviews) to satisfy outside influences. Our policy acted as a disincentive for these outside forces to apply that type of inappropriate pressure.”

Although it is difficult to criticise Metacritic in this situation, Natural Selection 2 doesn’t appear to be getting a fair crack of the whip. GameSpot indicated the original review had many flaws, surely the second critique needs to be considered? In this day and age, we should never underestimate the power of a Metacritic score.

It appears Eric Neigher’s reviews have caused controversy before. Uber Entertainment questioned whether or not he had actually played Monday Night Combat after his review went live.

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28 Comments

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  1. hives

    Gamespot… Someone actually reads their reviews?

    #1 2 years ago
  2. GrimRita

    Was that ‘mistake’ not taking into account advertising revenue?

    #2 2 years ago
  3. The Auracle

    Surely, a special exception can be made in light of what’s happened? This is why I believe things like this must be taken on a case-by-case basis. No, we don’t want publishers to pressure critics into revising their scores but we also don’t want a game critics thought was decent to get a poor review score.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Mike W

    Why did gamespot publish the review in the first place? This is just another reason why reviews can’t be trusted. I don’t even pay attention to the Metacritic, but they are right in this particular situation.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. KAP

    @3

    No, I think Metacritic should stick to there guns, Its not there fault that someone in GS can’t do the job they get paid to do.
    GS should be ashamed of themselfs, from a 6 to an 8then beg for everyone to forget there mistake. GTFO.

    This fiasco just continually proves that review scores are done for. You cant simple judge a game with something as simple as a number.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. unacomn

    Eric Neigher is a horrible reviewer, I’ve seen his articles about A Vampyre Story on 1Up and Gas Guzzlers on Gamespot, they have little to no relation to reality. People, please, stop publishing this guy’s content.
    Unless you want traffic from the inevitable community backlash.

    For reference of more horrible reviews:
    http://uk.gamespot.com/gas-guzzlers-combat-carnage/reviews/gas-guzzlers-combat-carnage-review-6378980/
    http://www.1up.com/reviews/a-vampyre-story

    #6 2 years ago
  7. The_Red

    Does anyone have a link to the original review or a rundown of problems with it?

    Also, based on MetaCritic head’s reply about this situation, I think they should stick to their rule. An innocent and probably decent game will be hurt but what he says about “critic-protection measure” and that he “found many publications had been pressured to raise review scores (or de-publish reviews) to satisfy outside influences.” means this is an important rule.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Old MacDonald

    I think it’s a sensible rule that they should stick to. It sucks for Natural Selection 2, but hopefully it’ll be a lesson to GameSpot and others.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. freedoms_stain

    If an individual reviewer can be shown to be consistently negligent, incompetent and lazy in their reviews, then absolutely they should be stricken from the record. There is no excuse for giving a bad review based on factual errors.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. ManuOtaku

    This is the same metacritic that put down from their site for a few hours the destructoid review of deadly premonition becuase they gave it a ten out of ten, talking about double standars, while i believe they dont need to change the original score given by gamespot, i also do believe they should not have double standars as well, the same rule applied to everybody or dont do it at all, i prefer if they scratch that rule, instead of its “random” application.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. hyperbaric

    Gamespot should just treat their reviews as if they were print-magazine reviews, which means no turning back after publishing. They should also act like professionals instead of trying to force Metacritic to break rules that they agreed upon. It’s their mistake after all.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Fin

    Yep I think it’s fair enough not removing it. Gamespot made a mistake, they shouldn’t be able to just wash over it.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. freedoms_stain

    @12, Gamespot’s mistake should have a lasting impact on a 3rd party product?

    #13 2 years ago
  14. DSB

    To be fair, a reviews impact on a product has absolutely nothing to do with whether it should be printed or not. Even if a million children of developers go hungry, I’d still rather have an honest review.

    Which I guess becomes a real problem with this guy. Ultimately it’s the editors call, but in that regard it’s troubling that none of these editors have actually caught him before this. Surely there would’ve been flags raised by readers, and apparently developers as well.

    Kinda shocking that you can get paid for that sort of thing.

    Metacritic are just obviously inept though, but then they always have been. Their method is so broken they misinform people, even when the reviews haven’t been tampered with.

    I understand critic protection measures, whenever someone posts a negative review of anything halfway hyped or popular, they get slammed by thousands of fanboys – but refusing to take a stand on deliberate misinformation is just a total lack of respect for the medium itself.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. TheWulf

    @13

    Sadly people forget that there are innocent parties involved in this whilst engaging in their GameSpot hate fetish. I’m not a GameSpot fan, either, but this should be rectified. Not for the sake of them, but for the sake of Natural Selection 2. I can recall many instances in the past where an outright BS review has almost harmed a game.

    Anyone remember the New Veags review over on Rock, Paper, Shotgun? And they didn’t even pull that, despite the fact that half of it was made up, and the reviewer even doctored screenshots to make the game look bad. All because controversy generates clicks and advertisement views for a site. Which is indeed why it was done.

    There needs to be accountability in this medium’s journalism, just as there is with film. That there isn’t is, quite frankly, worrying. It means that a journalist can say whatever controversial things they like in order to drive up views of their review. Since in some cases, how much they get paid is based upon views rather than quality.

    RPS wasn’t held accountable for the horrible and purposefully fallacious New Vegas review they printed, that’s still there. And apparently now this will happen. It’s not fair to smaller games developers when this can actually happen. It’s bullshit, frankly. GameSpot should be held accountable, but for the sake of the developer hurt by this, the problem should be fixed.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Mordecai Walfish

    Just let Gamespot go the way of the dodo, folks.

    Don’t click their links. Pay no mind to their reviews.

    Simple as that.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. SplatteredHouse

    “GameSpot indicated the original review had many flaws,”
    But..It got published anyway. editorialprocesslol

    #17 2 years ago
  18. Ireland Michael

    @16 Sorry to disappoint you, but GameSpot is still one of the largest gaming entities on the planet as far as actual traffic goes. It’s not going to “go the way of the dodo”.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. GrimRita

    @15 You’re forgetting the whole Kane/Lynch/Eidos/$$$ affair when the then Editor gave Kane & Lynch a shit review score, Eidos demanded that it be re-reviewed or they pull their advertising.

    Editor lost his job over it for erm, doing his job but because its all about the dollar, no one cared. Either way, you have to be a total idiot to believe any reviews on Gamespot,IGN,Eurogamer etc etc because either way, advertising revenue pushes up the review scores a couple notches.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Dave Cook

    “Either way, you have to be a total idiot to believe any reviews on Gamespot,IGN,Eurogamer etc etc because either way, advertising revenue pushes up the review scores a couple notches.”

    Absolutely incorrect in the grand scheme of things. Again, we’re not all corrupt individuals who give scores for cash. In six years-plus of doing this job I’ve never personally known it to happen and I know many writers from all of the sites you’ve name dropped and more. They’re honest hard working and gamers just like you and I.

    This hatred journalists get from gamers often saddens me to the point where I used to consider quitting this line of work. It’s just nasty sometimes.

    But that said I’m not blind to the fact that it has and probably will happen again and those unsavoury folk need to be punished accordingly. Cash for scores is simply unacceptable.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. uomoartificiale

    @20 I feel you Dave on this one, but maybe the issue is a littl emore subtle.
    I reckon there were two trends in reviews during this generation:

    1) games that look like a stinker, they get average previews, then they get 7.5-8.5 reviews. A couple of months down the line we all agree the game wasn’t that great. RE5, Skyward Sword, Mass Effect 3, Crysis 2. I predict Assassin’s Creed 3 will fall into this category.

    2) Games that were previewed like they were golden. Then the review, fashionably late revealed being total garbage. Resident Evil 6, for example.

    Either way, from the point of view of a person that reads review to inform their buying decisions, that looks like a total failure for the reviewing community. Hence the hate and suspicions of bought review scores.
    My opinion is that human foreseeing is very limited, and reviews are written before the masses get to form their opinions. It’s very tricky, I can see that. Therefore the need to build a unclimbable wall between reviewers and PR, as difficult it may be, is so important.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. Fin

    @20

    Jesus christ yes.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. GrimRita

    @20 That might be the case and was the case with the former Editor @gamespot who lost his job over it all. It just proves how bad things have become.

    Large publishers cant afford to have a stinker so they always will/do bargain to get better review scores. I’ve seen it done where I used to work.

    Not every game deserves a 9 or 10. PCG amongst others rocked on about Shogun 2 and how great it looked blah blah blah, in exchange for handy advertising space on their site but yet failed to mention that the game wouldn’t ship without DX11 support – for almost SIX months after launch.

    This shady business practice needs looking at by all those involved. If publishers cant handle an average review score – then release a better product instead of trying to buy success.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. zinc

    @Dave Cook, Here is a pat on the back mate. I’ll leave it here for you if ever you need a pick me up.

    Your a good writer & I’m sure i’m not the only VG247 reader who appreciates the professionalism of the VG247 staff.

    I’ll stop now before this gets all awkward & weird :-)

    #24 2 years ago
  25. Dave Cook

    @23 99.9% of reviews written are not scored based on adverts, PR hospitality or bribes.

    It is impossible to convince sceptics of this fact. All I can give you is my word on this.

    But we both know that wont change your mind either ;)

    It’s natural people don’t trust us. We are the gatekeepers of your gaming information after all. Authority is naturally distrusted, alas game critics are distrusted apace.

    And that just saddens me. Because I and almost ever game critic I know is just a fan of the hobby, just like you.

    #25 2 years ago
  26. uomoartificiale

    @23 Dave, you don’t have to convince anyone of this fact. Actually you can’t convince anyone with your words alone. You can’t vouch for the whole gaming critics and nobody asks you too.

    If people are here writing comments is because they somehow trust this site and your integrity as news site. Gaming journalism had been in some trouble lately and for a reason tough. People are disenchanted and I think they are totally right. If you as a professionals don’t implement some deontological, procedural, rules to detach from the source of the money and economical pressure, nothing you can say would change anybody’s mind.

    #26 2 years ago
  27. Dave Cook

    @26 yeah agreed. All I can do is give my word on the matter and stick to our new rules. I went to a game event today with our own money, bought my own lunch and dinner although I was offered food and turned down a free tshirt. I hope this sort of thing will go some way to keep the faith of our readership :)

    #27 2 years ago
  28. uomoartificiale

    @27 hats’ off. That’s exactly what I was talking about. I just noticed today that at the bottom of the first Eurogamer’s WiiU reviews appeared this:

    This game was played for review at Nintendo’s UK offices before we received our own Wii U. No other press were present, we received no hospitality and we covered our own expenses.

    that’s the way to go. I can only image the awkward moment when you responded “nope, not hungry” and then secretly ate your own pack of crackers in the bathroom… :D

    #28 2 years ago