Stephen Totilo of MTV Multiplayer continues his week-long look at video game review practices by exploring the practice of game publishers withholding certain bonuses and/or royalties if the game doesn't achieve a certain Metacritic average. Basically a publisher agrees to finance the development of a game as long as the developer in these sort of situation agrees to Metacritic score limit stipulations that could theoretically see a low-scoring game that sells millions (any children's licensed title really) hardly earning the devs a dime.
Totilo talks to some pretty big names about the practice, including GameSpot's former employee Jeff Gerstmann, who explains why the practice is so disturbing.
I've gotten e-mails from developers over the years who have said, 'I don't think you realise what you're doing to me with this review' because my review knocked them out of the range of some bonus that they were up for...
It's really a ridiculous practice that almost always works in the publisher's favour. Luckily it isn't as widespread as it once was, but it does give you interesting insight into why some developers will defend their games as if their lives depended on it. Sometimes they might.
Low Metacritic Scores Cause Game Publishers To Withhold Developer Royalties [MTV Multiplayer]