Encyclopedia is a website
A website, also written as Web site, web site, or simply site, is a collection of related web pages containing images, videos or other digital assets. A website is hosted on at least one web server, accessible via a network such as the Internet or a private local area network through an Internet...

 that collates reviews of music album
An album is a collection of recordings, released as a single package on gramophone record, cassette, compact disc, or via digital distribution. The word derives from the Latin word for list .Vinyl LP records have two sides, each comprising one half of the album...

s, games, movies
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

, TV shows
Television program
A television program , also called television show, is a segment of content which is intended to be broadcast on television. It may be a one-time production or part of a periodically recurring series...

 and DVD
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

s. For each product, a numerical score from each review is obtained and the total is averaged. An excerpt of each review is provided along with a hyperlink to the source. Three colour codes of Green, Yellow and Red summarize the critic's recommendation. This gives an idea of the general appeal of the product among reviewers and, to a lesser extent, the public.

The site is somewhat similar to Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes is a website devoted to reviews, information, and news of films—widely known as a film review aggregator. Its name derives from the cliché of audiences throwing tomatoes and other vegetables at a poor stage performance...

, but the scoring results sometimes differ very drastically, due to Metacritic's method of scoring that converts each review into a percentage before taking a weighted average and listing different numbers of reviews.

Many review websites give a review grade out of five, out of ten, out of a hundred, or even an alphabetical score. Metacritic converts such a grade into a percentage. For reviews with no explicit scores (for example,, Inc. is a multinational electronic commerce company headquartered in Seattle, Washington, United States. It is the world's largest online retailer. Amazon has separate websites for the following countries: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, and...

's editorial reviews), Metacritic manually assesses the tone of the review before assigning a relevant grade. Weighting is also applied to reviews—those from major periodicals may have a greater effect on the average than niche ones, although Metacritic refuses to reveal what weights are applied to which publications.


Metacritic was launched in January 2001 by Marc Doyle, along with his sister Julie Doyle Roberts and a classmate from the University of Southern California
University of Southern California
The University of Southern California is a private, not-for-profit, nonsectarian, research university located in Los Angeles, California, United States. USC was founded in 1880, making it California's oldest private research university...

 law school, Jason Dietz. Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes is a website devoted to reviews, information, and news of films—widely known as a film review aggregator. Its name derives from the cliché of audiences throwing tomatoes and other vegetables at a poor stage performance...

 was already compiling movie reviews at the time, but Doyle, Roberts, and Dietz "saw an opportunity to cover a broader range of media." They sold Metacritic to CNET
CNET is a tech media website that publishes news articles, blogs, and podcasts on technology and consumer electronics. Originally founded in 1994 by Halsey Minor and Shelby Bonnie, it was the flagship brand of CNET Networks and became a brand of CBS Interactive through CNET Networks' acquisition...

 in 2005. CNET and Metacritic are owned by the CBS Corporation
CBS Corporation
CBS Corporation is an American media conglomerate focused on commercial broadcasting, publishing, billboards and television production, with most of its operations in the United States. The President and CEO of the company is Leslie Moonves. Sumner Redstone, owner of National Amusements, is CBS's...


Nick Wingfield of The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal is an American English-language international daily newspaper. It is published in New York City by Dow Jones & Company, a division of News Corporation, along with the Asian and European editions of the Journal....

wrote in September 2007, "Mr. Doyle, 36, is now a senior product manager at CNET but he also acts as games editor of Metacritic." Speaking of video games, Doyle said, "A site like ours helps people cut through...unobjective promotional language." He also said "By giving consumers, and web users specifically, early information on the objective quality of a game, not only are they more educated about their choices, but it forces publishers to demand more from their developers, license owners to demand more from their licensees, and eventually, hopefully, the games get better." Doyle said, "I don't want to overstate our role in this area, but we're highlighting the review process", which he thinks was not taken as seriously when unconnected magazines and websites were providing their reviews in isolation.

In August 2010, Metacritic website's appearance was heavily revamped. The reaction to the new format from existing Metacritic users was overwhelmingly negative. Many users claimed that the new version of the site is perplexing. Others complained that some of Metacritic's most helpful features were eliminated; for example, films are no longer sorted by either wide releases or limited releases. Oct 29 2010 Metacritic has again added wide release and limited release to their movie listings.


Metacritic's scores ("Metascores") are weighted averages—certain publications are given more significance "based on their stature."

Metacritic Games Editor Marc Doyle was interviewed by Keith Stuart of The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

to "get a look behind the metascoring process." Stuart wrote "the metascore phenomenon, namely Metacritic and GameRankings, [have] become an enormously important element of online games journalism over the past few years." Doyle said that because video games are a greater investment of time and money than other forms of entertainment, gamers are much more informed about reviews than film fans or music fans. They would like to know "whether that hotly anticipated title is going to deliver."

The ranging metascores for Movies, TV and Music are:
  • 0–19: Overwhelming dislike
  • 20–39: Generally unfavorable
  • 40–60: Mixed or average reviews
  • 61–80: Generally favorable reviews
  • 81–100: Universal acclaim

The ranging metascores for Games are:
  • 0-19: Overwhelming dislike
  • 20-49: Generally unfavorable
  • 50-74: Mixed or average reviews
  • 75-89: Generally favorable reviews
  • 90-100: Universal acclaim

Criticism of game metascores

Many video game reviewers take issue with the way Metacritic assigns scores. When a game reviewer gives a video game a rating of "A", Metacritic assigns it a value of 100. When a reviewer gives a game a rating of "F", Metacritic assigns it a value of 0—although some reviewers think a score of 50 is more appropriate. When a reviewer gives a game a rating of "B-", Metacritic assigns it a value of 67—and many publishers, developers, and websurfers think that the score should be closer to 80. A former editor at the review site Game Revolution, Joe Dodson, criticized Metacritic and similar sites, saying their conversion system was turning their reviews into scores that were too low. Doyle said "I feel that ANY scale simply needs to converted directly with its lowest possible grade equating to 0, and the highest to 100."

Doyle said some publishers want him to include certain critics that Metacritic doesn't track and some want certain critics excluded, usually because they give a game a poor review. Another common complaint from publishers is that UK critics shouldn't be reviewing games that are based on American sports like the NFL
National Football League
The National Football League is the highest level of professional American football in the United States, and is considered the top professional American football league in the world. It was formed by eleven teams in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association, with the league changing...

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing is a family-owned and -operated business venture that sanctions and governs multiple auto racing sports events. It was founded by Bill France Sr. in 1947–48. As of 2009, the CEO for the company is Brian France, grandson of the late Bill France Sr...

, or the NBA
National Basketball Association
The National Basketball Association is the pre-eminent men's professional basketball league in North America. It consists of thirty franchised member clubs, of which twenty-nine are located in the United States and one in Canada...

. Doyle said, "Conversely, many European publishers feel that American critics are not qualified or properly situated to review football, rally
Rallying, also known as rally racing, is a form of auto racing that takes place on public or private roads with modified production or specially built road-legal cars...

, F1
Formula One
Formula One, also known as Formula 1 or F1 and referred to officially as the FIA Formula One World Championship, is the highest class of single seater auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile . The "formula" designation in the name refers to a set of rules with which...

, cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...

 and rugby
Rugby football
Rugby football is a style of football named after Rugby School in the United Kingdom. It is seen most prominently in two current sports, rugby league and rugby union.-History:...

 games." Doyle said, "once I've decided to track a publication, I cannot pick and choose which reviews I list on Metacritic based on such individual judgments."

Publishers often try to persuade Doyle to exclude reviews they feel are unfair, but Doyle said that after a publication has been included in the system, he refuses to omit any reviews that receive complaints.

Influence of game metascores

Nick Wingfield of The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal is an American English-language international daily newspaper. It is published in New York City by Dow Jones & Company, a division of News Corporation, along with the Asian and European editions of the Journal....

wrote, "Movies have Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
Roger Joseph Ebert is an American film critic and screenwriter. He is the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.Ebert is known for his film review column and for the television programs Sneak Previews, At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, and Siskel and Ebert and The...

. Wine has Robert Parker
Robert M. Parker, Jr.
Robert M. Parker, Jr. is a leading U.S. wine critic with an international influence. His wine ratings on a 100-point scale and his newsletter The Wine Advocate, with his particular stylistic preferences and notetaking vocabulary, have become very influential in American wine buying and are...

. Videogames have Marc Doyle. Mr. Doyle edits game reviews for Metacritic, a Web site he co-founded that can influence the sales of games and the stocks of videogame publishers. One company requires game publishers to pay higher royalties if they receive low scores on such sites." Wingfield wrote, "such review sites hold the most sway in the videogame industry partly because the stakes are higher for consumers shelling out $50 to $60 for a new game than they are for someone buying, for example, a $10 movie ticket." Wingfield wrote that the stocks of game publishers can fall when a new video game gets a disappointing score on the website. Many executives say that low scores "can hurt the long-term sales potential" of game franchises—games that continue to produce spinoffs and sequels.

Wingfield wrote that Wall Street
Wall Street
Wall Street refers to the financial district of New York City, named after and centered on the eight-block-long street running from Broadway to South Street on the East River in Lower Manhattan. Over time, the term has become a metonym for the financial markets of the United States as a whole, or...

 is paying attention to Metacritic and Game Rankings
Game Rankings
GameRankings is a website that collects review scores from both offline and online sources to give an average rating. It indexes over 315,000 articles relating to more than 14,500 games.GameRankings is owned by CBS Interactive...

 because the sites typically post scores before any sales data are publicly available. Three days after the release of Spider-Man 3
Spider-Man 3 (video game)
Spider-Man 3 is an action game loosely based on the Spider-Man 3 film and released for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, Wii, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS, Microsoft Windows and Game Boy Advance. The Xbox 360 and PS3 versions were developed by Treyarch, the PC version by Beenox while...

by Activision
Activision is an American publisher, majority owned by French conglomerate Vivendi SA. Its current CEO is Robert Kotick. It was founded on October 1, 1979 and was the world's first independent developer and distributor of video games for gaming consoles...

 in May 2007, "several financial analysts had noted Spider-Man 3’s low scores as a possible concern for Activision." and Activision's shares dropped 5% that day and continued to drop the rest of the week. When BioShock
BioShock is a first-person shooter video game developed by 2K Boston and designed by Ken Levine. It was released for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360 on August 21, 2007 in North America, and three days later in Europe and Australia. It became available on Steam on August 21, 2007...

was released and got a metascore of 97, shares of Take-Two Interactive
Take-Two Interactive
Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. is a major American publisher, developer, and distributor of video games and video game peripherals. Take-Two wholly owns 2K Games and Rockstar Games. The company's headquarters are in New York City, with international headquarters in Windsor, United Kingdom...

 increased 20% the week after. Wingfield wrote, "All of this makes Metacritic's Mr. Doyle an unlikely kingmaker in the $7.4 billion U.S. games industry. He controls Metacritic's scoring system, deciding which publications to compile reviews from..." Doyle said he was "floored" when he saw a Metascore appear in the news ticker
News ticker
A news ticker resides in the lower third of the television screen space on television news networks dedicated to presenting headlines or minor pieces of news. It may also refer to a long, thin scoreboard-style display seen around the front of some offices or public buildings...

 on TV while an anchor was interviewing Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime after Super Mario Galaxy
Super Mario Galaxy
is a 3D platform game developed by Nintendo EAD Tokyo and published by Nintendo for the Wii. It was released in most regions in November 2007, and is the third 3D original platformer in the Mario series, after Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine. The game follows the protagonist, Mario, on a...

was released. Doyle said, "More and more businesses and financial analysts are referring to Metacritic numbers as an early indicator of a game's potential sales and, by extension, the publisher's stock price."

Marc Doyle said, "I've never been told by a publisher or developer that they've been able to definitively make a causal connection between poor sales and low scores from my site. However, at least two major publishers have conducted comprehensive statistical surveys through which they've been able to draw a correlation between high metascores and stronger sales (and vice versa), but with a much tighter correlation in specific genres of games than in others."

In 2004, Jason Hall of Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., also known as Warner Bros. Pictures or simply Warner Bros. , is an American producer of film and television entertainment.One of the major film studios, it is a subsidiary of Time Warner, with its headquarters in Burbank,...

 began "including 'quality metrics' in the contracts the studio signed with partners interested in licensing Warner movies for games." If a product does not receive specific scores or better from aggregator sites like Metacritic, some deals require game publishers to pay higher royalties to Warner Bros.

In 2008, Microsoft
Microsoft Corporation is an American public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through its various product divisions...

 began using Metacritic review averages to de-list underperforming Xbox Live Arcade
Xbox Live Arcade
Xbox Live Arcade is a type of video game download distribution available primarily in a section of the Xbox Live Marketplace, Microsoft's digital distribution network for the Xbox 360, that focuses on smaller downloadable games from both major publishers and independent game developers...

games. This was later canceled due to the release of the New Xbox Experience.

External links

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