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

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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.

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