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Metacritic is a website that aggregates reviews of media products: music albums, games, movies, TV shows, DVDs, and formerly, books. For each product, the scores from each review are averaged. Metacritic was created by Jason Dietz, Marc Doyle, and Julie Doyle Roberts. The site provides an excerpt from each review and hyperlinks to its source. A color of Green, Yellow or Red summarizes the critics' recommendations and therefore the general appeal of the product to reviewers and, to a lesser extent, the public. It is regarded as the video game industry's foremost review aggregator.[1][2]

Metacritic's scoring converts each review into a percentage, either mathematically from the mark given, or which the site decides subjectively from a qualitative review. Before being averaged, the scores are weighted according to the critic's fame, stature, and volume of reviews.


Metacritic was launched in July 1999 by Marc Doyle, his sister Julie Doyle Roberts, and a classmate from the University of Southern California law school, Jason Dietz. Rotten Tomatoes was already compiling movie reviews, but Doyle, Roberts, and Dietz saw an opportunity to cover a broader range of media. They sold Metacritic to CNET in 2005.[3] CNET and Metacritic are now owned by the CBS Corporation.[4]

Nick Wingfield of The Wall Street Journal wrote in September 2004: "Mr. Doyle, 36, is now a senior product manager at CNET but he also acts as games editor of Metacritic".[3] Speaking of video games, Doyle said: "A site like ours helps people cut through...unobjective promotional language". "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". He added that the review process was not taken as seriously when unconnected magazines and websites provided reviews in isolation.[5]

In August 2010, the website's appearance was revamped; reaction from users was overwhelmingly negative.[6][7]


Scores are weighted averages. Certain publications are given more significance "because of their stature".[3]

Games Editor Marc Doyle was interviewed by Keith Stuart of The Guardian 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".[5] Doyle said that because video games lead to a greater investment of time and money, gamers are more informed about reviews than are fans of film or music; they want to know "whether that hotly anticipated title is going to deliver."[5]

The ranging of metascores is:[8]

Indication Video games Films/television/music
Universal acclaim 90–100 81–100
Generally favorable reviews 75–89 61–80
Mixed or average reviews 50–74 40–60
Generally unfavorable reviews 20–49 20–39
Overwhelming dislike 0–19 0–19

Video games

Metacritic is regarded as the foremost online review aggregation site for the video game industry.[1][2]

Nick Wingfield of The Wall Street Journal has written that Metacritic "influence[s] the sales of games and the stocks of video game publishers". He explains its influence as coming from the higher cost of buying video games than music or movie tickets.[3] Many executives say that low scores "can hurt the long-term sales potential".[3] Wingfield wrote that Wall Street pays attention to Metacritic and GameRankings because the sites typically post scores before sales data are publicly available, citing the respective rapid rise and fall in company values after BioShock and Spider-Man 3 were released.[3]

In an interview with The Guardian, Marc Doyle cited "two major publishers" that "conducted comprehensive statistical surveys through which they've been able to draw a correlation between high metascores and stronger sales" in certain genres.[5] He claimed that an increasing number of businesses and financial analysts use Metacritic as "an early indicator of a game's potential sales and, by extension, the publisher's stock price."[5]

In 2004, Jason Hall of Warner Bros. began "including 'quality metrics' in contracts with partners licensing its movies for games". If a product does not at least achieve a specific score, some deals require the publisher to pay higher royalties.[3]

In 2008, Microsoft began using Metacritic averages to de-list underperforming Xbox Live Arcade games.[9][10]

Game ranking

This is the top 10 games with best scores on the site (up to December 2014)[11] with ties decided by the user ranking.

N Game Release date Publishers Platforms Score Sales
1 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 1998 Nintendo Nintendo 64, GameCube 99 7.6M
2 SoulCalibur 1999 Namco Arcade, Dreamcast, iOS, Android, Xbox Live 98 1.3M
3 Grand Theft Auto IV 2008 Rockstar Games PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC 98 25M
4 Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 2000 Activision PlayStation, PC, Game Boy Color, Dreamcast, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo 64, Xbox 98 6.6M
5 Perfect Dark 2000 Nintendo Nintendo 64 97 2.5M
6 Metroid Prime 2002 Nintendo GameCube, Wii 97 2.8M
7 Super Mario Galaxy 2 2010 Nintendo Wii 97 7.41M
8 Super Mario Galaxy 2007 Nintendo Wii 97 12.5M
9 Halo: Combat Evolved 2001 Microsoft Studios Xbox, PC 97 8.6M
10 Grand Theft Auto III 2001 Rockstar Games PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC, PlayStation 3, iOS, Android 97 13.1M
  • Grand Theft Auto V, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, and NFL 2K1 also have Metacritic scores of 97.

Best game per year

This a list of the games with the best metascore per year (since 1995).[12]

Year Game Publishers Platforms Score Units sold
1995 Command & Conquer Virgin Interactive PC, Sega Saturn, PlayStation, Nintendo 64, PlayStation Network 94 n/a
1996 Super Mario 64 Nintendo Nintendo 64 94 11.62M
1997 GoldenEye 007 Nintendo Nintendo 64 96 8.1M
1998 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Nintendo Nintendo 64, GameCube 99 7.6M
1999 SoulCalibur Namco Arcade, Dreamcast, Xbox Live, iOS, Android 98 1.3M
2000 Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 Activision PlayStation, PC, Game Boy Color, Dreamcast, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo 64, Xbox 98 6.6M
2001 Halo: Combat Evolved Microsoft Xbox, PC 97 5M
2002 Metroid Prime Nintendo GameCube, Wii 97 2.8M
2003 The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker Nintendo GameCube, Wii U 96 4.6M
2004 Half-Life 2 Valve Corporation PC, Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 96 12M
2005 Resident Evil 4 Capcom GameCube, PlayStation 2, PC, Wii, iOS, Zeebo, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 96 7.5M
2006 The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Nintendo Wii, GameCube 96 8.5M
2007 Super Mario Galaxy Nintendo Wii 97 12.5M
2008 Grand Theft Auto IV Rockstar Games PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC 98 25M
2009 Uncharted 2: Among Thieves SCEA PlayStation 3 96 6.3M
2010 Super Mario Galaxy 2 Nintendo Wii 97 7.41M
2011 Batman: Arkham City WBIE PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii U 96 6M
2012 The Walking Dead¹ Telltale Games PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC, iOS, Android, Fire OS, Ouya 94 8.5M
2013 Grand Theft Auto V Rockstar Games PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC 97 54M
2014 Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Nintendo Wii U 92 3.83M
2015 Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Konami PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC 95 5M
2016 Uncharted 4: A Thief's End SCEA PlayStation 4 93 2.7M
  • 1 The World Ends With You -Solo Remix-, has a higher score, but it's not new (it's a iOS and Android port of 2008 Nintendo DS game The World Ends With You).

Best exclusive per platform

This list shows the best exclusive game of each platform on Metacritic.[13]

Platform Game Released Publishers Score Units sold
PC Half-Life 2 2004 Valve 96 n/a
Nintendo 64 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 1998 Nintendo 99 7.6M
PlayStation Gran Turismo 1997 SCEA 96 10.85M
Dreamcast SoulCalibur 1999 Namco 98 1.3M
GameCube Metroid Prime 2002 Nintendo 97 2.8M
PlayStation 2 Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec 2001 SCEA 95 14.89M
Xbox Halo: Combat Evolved 2001 Microsoft Studios 97 5.0M
Game Boy Advance Mario Kart: Super Circuit 2001 Nintendo 93 5.5M
Nintendo DS Mario Kart DS 2005 Nintendo 91 22.8M
PlayStation Portable God of War: Chains of Olympus 2008 SCEA 91 3.1M
Wii Super Mario Galaxy 2007 Nintendo 97 12.41M
Xbox 360 Halo 3 2007 Microsoft Studios 94 14.5M
PlayStation 3 Uncharted 2: Among Thieves 2009 SCEA 96 6.5M
Nintendo 3DS Fire Emblem: Awakening¹ 2012 Nintendo 92 1.79M
PlayStation Vita LittleBigPlanet PS Vita² 2012 SCEA 88 1.25M
Wii U Super Mario 3D World 2013 Nintendo 93 4.82M
PlayStation 4 Uncharted 4: A Thief's End³ 2016 SCEA 93 2.7M
Xbox One Forza Horizon 3 2016 Microsoft Studios 91 n/a
  • 1 The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D has a higher score, but it's not an exclusive (it's a 3DS remake of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time).
  • 2 Persona 4 Golden has a higher score, but it's not an exclusive (it's a PS Vita port of Persona 4).
  • 3 The Last of Us Remastered has a higher score, but it's not an exclusive (it's a PS4 remaster of The Last of Us).


Some game reviewers take issue with the way Metacritic assigns scores. When a reviewer gives a rating of "A", Metacritic assigns it a value of 100, and for "F" a value of zero; some think a score of 50 would be more appropriate.[3] For a "B", Metacritic assigns a value of 67, yet some publishers, developers, and websurfers believe it should be closer to 80, according to a conventional linear scale.[5] Joe Dodson, former editor at Game Revolution, criticized Metacritic and similar sites, for turning reviews into scores that are too low.[3] However, Doyle responded: "I feel that ANY scale simply needs to be converted directly with its lowest possible grade equating to 0, and the highest to 100."[5]

Doyle said that some publishers want him to include extra critics, and exclude others, usually because they have given a poor review. Another common complaint from US publishers is that British critics should not be reviewing games that are based on American sports like the NFL, NASCAR, or the NBA. Doyle said: "Conversely, many European publishers feel that American critics are not qualified or properly situated to review football, rally, F1, cricket and rugby games...once I've decided to track a publication, I cannot pick and choose which reviews I list on Metacritic based on such individual judgments".[5]

Publishers often try to persuade Doyle to exclude reviews they feel are unfair, but he said that once a publication is included he refuses to omit any of its reviews.[3] A Washington Post review of Uncharted 4 was assessed by Metacritic with a rating of 40%, despite the original review carrying no score; this was the only "negative" review of the game. Gamers who did not like the review petitioned Metacritic to remove the Post as a trusted source.[14]

As a result of its perceived negative influence on the industry, several reviewing sites, including Kotaku[15] and Eurogamer[16] have dropped numerical reviews that would appear in Metacritic, instead favoring a qualitative assessment of a game.

Metacritic has been criticised for how it handles banning users and their reviews, with no notice or formal process for appeal,[17] and users have complained to the Better Business Bureau about the difficulty of contacting the company.[18] Critics and developers have pointed out the website's lack of personal management along with its automatic systems, since a video-game can be 'bombed' (with "troll voting") with 0/10 ratings to damage its reputation. Signal Studios president and creative director Douglas Albright described the website as having "no standards".[19]


Metacritic lists over 9,000 films ranked by aggregate score.[20] As of 23  2017, the top 10 movies are:

Top 10 positions from Metacritic "Best Movies of All Time"
N Movies Release date Score
1 The Godfather Mar 11, 1972 100[21]
2 Boyhood Jul 11, 2014 100[22]
3 Three Colours: Red Nov 23, 1994 100[23]
4 Moonlight Oct 21, 2016 99[24]
5 Pan's Labyrinth Dec 29, 2006 98[25]
6 Hoop Dreams Oct 14, 1994 98[26]
7 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days Jan 23, 2008 97[27]
8 I Am Not Your Negro Dec 9, 2016 97[28]
9 Ran Dec 20, 1985 96[29]
10 12 Years a Slave Oct 18, 2013 96[30]

Critic weights

Metacritic has said that it will not reveal the relative weight assigned to each reviewer.[31]

See also

  • Internet Movie Database (IMDb)
  • Rating site


  1. 1.0 1.1 "OpenCritic's Gamer-Centric Style Is Everything Metacritic Should Have Been".
  2. 2.0 2.1 Mike Rose. "Gamasutra - Metacritic is here to stay, but can we fix it?".
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Nick Wingfield (2007-09-20). "High Scores Matter To Game Makers, Too". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2008-02-15.
  4. "Columbia Journalism Review - CJR's guide to what the major media companies own". Retrieved 2011-11-28.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Keith Stuart (2008-01-17). "Interview: the science and art of Metacritic". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-02-15.
  6. "Give Us Your Feedback!". Metacritic. CBS Corporation. 2010. Retrieved 2011-10-04.
  7. "Welcome to the New Metacritic". Metacritic. CBS Corporation. 2010. Retrieved 2011-10-04.
  8. "How We Create the Metascore Magic". Metacritic. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 2012-05-13.
  9. Chris Remo (2008-05-22). "Microsoft To Delist Low-Ranking XBLA Titles, Raise Size Limit". GamaSutra. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
  10. Joe Keiser (2008-05-22). "EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: MS to Delist XBLA Titles". Next Generation. Archived from the original on January 24, 2012. Retrieved 2008-05-29. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  11. "Best Video Games of All Time". Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  12. "Best Video Games for 2000". Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  13. "All Legacy Platform Video Game Releases". Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  14. Schreier, Jason (May 16, 2016). "Reviewer Targeted For Giving Uncharted 4 Negative Review". Kotaku. Retrieved May 16, 2016.
  15. Tolito, Stephan (2012-01-30). "How We Will Review Games". Kotaku. Retrieved 2015-02-10.
  16. Welsh, Oli (2015-02-10). "Eurogamer has dropped review scores". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2015-02-10.
  17. "Metacritic Bans "Bombing" Users – Bans several users only after a request by developers". Retrieved 2011-09-23.
  18. "Publicly available BBB complaints – Describes as a majority to have issues with CBS refusing contact". Retrieved 2014-03-01.
  19. "Metacritic criticized by company president – Exclaims site without standards". Retrieved 2011-09-22.
  20. "Best Movies of All Time". Metacritic.
  21. The Godfather, retrieved 2016-12-03
  22. "Boyhood". Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  23. Three Colors: Red, retrieved 2016-12-03
  24. Moonlight, retrieved 2016-12-03
  25. Pan's Labyrinth Metacritic
  26. Hoop Dreams Metacritic
  27. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days Metacritic
  28. I Am Not Your Negro, retrieved 2017-01-05
  29. Ran, retrieved 2016-12-03
  30. 12 Years a Slave, retrieved 2017-01-11
  31. "Frequently Asked Questions". Metacritic. Retrieved 2015-07-29.

External links

Template:CBS Template:Video Game Critics