The website Metacritic, which aggregates published reviews of various entertainment media into single “metascores,” has in recent years become highly influential in the area of video games, both with respect to consumers and industry members. This has resulted in an increase both in the attention paid to Metacritic and the level of criticism leveled at the institution. The present work examines the scientific validity of Metacritic as a measure of game quality and value, from both a qualitative and a quantitative perspective. Evidence for a strong correlational link between game sales and Metacritic metascores is presented, along with a detailed analysis of a number of threats to validity identified in the metascore production process. The present work concludes that while Metacritic suffers from a number of serious threats to validity, it remains an important tool for the industry if used correctly.
Adams Greenwood-Ericksen, Full Sail University
Dr. Greenwood-Ericksen teaches in the Game Studies Department at Full Sail University, and holds a joint appointment with the Full Sail Institute of Research in Entertainment (FIRE).
Scott R. Poorman, Electronic Arts
Scott R. Poorman is an associate designer at Electronic Arts in Austin.
Greenwood-Ericksen, A., Poorman, S. R. and Papp, R. (2013) “On the Validity of Metacritic in Assessing Game Value”, Eludamos: Journal for Computer Game Culture, 7(1), pp. 101–127. doi: 10.7557/23.6150.