Games reviewers have the top end of the scale down, says Metacritic, but now they need to work on the bottom.
Marc Doyle, one of the founders of the review aggregation site Metacritic, says that reviewers need to start using the entirety of their scales. He wants to see more detailed scoring in reviews for bad games, in order to balance out the precision seen in the higher end of the score scale.
He compared the way that videogame reviews are scored at the moment to the grade systems used in schools, where a seventy was about average, and anything under fifty was a failure. Currently, he said, reviewers didn’t really differentiate between a game that was one point under fifty, and a game that was forty points under fifty.
“What I keep telling critics,” he said. “Is, ‘you’re so careful with everything from 50-100. You know exactly what an eight means versus a seven; you know what that nine means. I want people to say, what is a four versus a three? Tell me what a three is, versus a two.'” He compared game reviews to movie reviews, saying that film critics knew what every number on the scale represented, and that reviewers needed to review “all the shit,” in order to make the whole scale useful to consumers.
Doyle won’t be the first person to say that there are problems with the way videogame reviews are scored; people have been taking issue with the “7-10” review scale for years. While Metacritic might seem an odd champion for a more transparent and intuitive scale – especially when you consider that it gives extra weight to certain outlet’s scores in the overall metascore – but if it works, it doesn’t really matter who got the ball rolling.