Review Scores Don't Mean Much

It is commonly known that publishers put a high degree of importance on video game review scores, particularly since the advent of large-scale score aggregate sites such as Game Rankings and Metacritic. Average scores are frequently cited in press releases and statements, and in 2004, Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment went so far as to announce that it will be partially basing developer royalty rates for licensed video games on average review scores. However, according to a recently released study by the Susquehanna International Group, the situation may in fact be just as some of us have suspected: scores don't really matter when it comes to sales. The firm released a report entitled "Debunking the Game Rating Myth: Do Game Ratings Matter? – Part 2," following up on its first such report last year. This time around, SIG upped the sample size of reviews and games from 260 to 1200, and was still unable to find any meaningful correlation between scores and retail performance.

"After going through multiple scenarios, we believe a game rating, in most cases, is not a reliable tool for predicting game sales," reads the report. "There are isolated examples of strong correlation, but they are just that--isolated. We believe a naked game rating without context is largely useless." More significant factors in determining a game's success include factors such as past performance of the game's franchise as well when the game is released. Jason Kraft of SIG noted that last year's findings did not go over well with publishers, and he expects a similar situation with this year's. "The notion that game ratings might have very little to do with game sales touches a nerve," states the report. "And, no wonder--for whatever reason, many investors have learned to rely on them."

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From The Chatty
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    September 21, 2006 1:53 PM

    I don't like scoring games. The only reason we use them at GamerDad is because of the aggregate sites.

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