Splash Damage: Metacritic is a strain on devs

Written by Joe Martin

January 20, 2009 | 12:22

Tags: #developer #metacritic #score-guide #wedgwood

Companies: #splash-damage

Splash Damage boss Paul Wedgwood has spoken out on what he deems a ridiculous arrangement between developers and publishers where pressure is put on developers to achieve certain Metacritic review scores in exchange for bonuses and better royalty agreements.

The Quake Wars developer said that the entire process was flawed and that journalists should abandon percentile scoring systems and instead use 'out of ten' scores. Otherwise, Wedgwood reckons, journalists are under pressure to justify such precise scores, which can lead to overly negative reviews.

"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," said Wedgwood in an interview with GI.biz.

As an aside, the man obviously hasn't been reading bit-tech.net lately as we make sure we use the whole scoring range, with even a 5/10 score going up today. We're certainly not afraid to call bad products out. Ho-hum.

"Percentiles put too much pressure on a journalist to justify an exact score. It puts too much pressure on the developer to try and identify these criteria that lead to very specific point increases or decreases, which is not at all what the developer should be focusing on," said Wedgwood.

Wedgwood, who admitted that he'd never agreed to such a deal himself, said that Metacritic-related bonuses are common in the industry and aren't really a problem. What really gets him worried is when royalty rates start changing based on Metacritic scores - shouldn't game sales alone determine that?

What do you think of the bit-tech.net scoring system, or the scoring trends of other websites and magazines? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.
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