Maybe Metacritic Doesn’t Matter THAT Much After All…

Maybe Metacritic Doesn’t Matter THAT Much After All…
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Earlier last week, THQ’s share value dropped 25% as a result of mediocre early reviews for Homefront posted on Metacritic but, despite that, the game has gone on to sell strongly, shifting 1 million units across all markets, with 2.5 million shipped.

In a report on Gamasutra, EEDAR analyst Jesse Divinich claimed that investors jumped the gun following the initial reviews.

“As an industry,” he claimed, “and this is specifically targeted towards analysts and investors — it is easy to become too reliant on a single metric, which may erroneously drive forecasts and/or investment decisions.

“In the case of Homefront, it is clear that the investment community did not take into account all the factors including the strong preorders and pre-release awareness that existed among consumers for the title. The reality is that numerous factors exist that can impact the overall sales performance for a title.”

The dependence on Metacritic is understandable, it does have some impact, but as an industry, do publishers, investors and gamers place too much value in what is an unweildy, inconsistent average across a multitude of press outlets with wildly varying methods of scoring?

We’ve always thought so, which is why – despite the fact that Homefront is a mediocre game – we’re glad to see a product buck the trend. Sure, Just Dance pushed millions of units in spite of its low review scores – but Homefront is a game targeted (to an extent) at gamers who are aware of review scores, and that’s an interesting turn of events.

Maybe it’s a victory for raw marketing budget, maybe it’s proof that core gamers don’t necessarily drive software sales – but hopefully publishers will be less inclined to treat aggregated scores like the holy cows they shouldn’t be.

THQ: Homefront Reaches 1M Sales, 2.4M Shipped [Gamasutra]


  • This seems to just show the difference between quality and popularity. Perhaps not even popularity but good marketing. They looked at the reviews and thought ‘this game isn’t getting good reviews, it’s not going to do well, let’s sell off’ but maybe they should have had the thought ‘this game was marketed very well and had a lot of hype and expectation on it, it is likely to initially sell well just on the back of that regardless of review scores’

    I personally go with public opinion over reviews, I see what the general consensus in the gaming community is, even though this isn’t much more informative than an individual person’s review. As someone once told me, you can’t tell if a game is good from a review, it’s too subjective, but you can generally tell if its bad, because to most people bad is the same thing.

    In the end bad can easily still be popular though, for instance I personally didn’t care for Black Ops much but I’m sure its outselling every other game out there.

  • Glad i rented this – i had a feeling this would end up like Frontlines…

    Good on them for selling 1 million copies but i can already tell that in 1 month the game will mostly be a ghost town

  • I think it’s because it got so much hype, coverage, and people thought it had an interesting premise (not to me though) is what helped it sell well. If this didn’t have the full backing of THQ and we weren’t hearing Danny Bilson saying each week about how awesome they are or how terrible everyone else is, I could honestly see it not doing it well. Conversely, Metro 2033 sounds like a good game (I’ve yet to play it) and wasn’t really marketed all that well and I have no idea how it sold. Maybe someone could check up on that?

    I’m glad for the developers it turned out well, because I heard if it didn’t, the studio was going to be shut down or relocated or something.

  • I believe alot of people bought in on the premise of the story. my brother did and luckily that stopped me making an error

    I personally don’t know anyone who uses a rating review as a guideline for a game these days.

    Too high of a chance for bias. Since for some reason with games a 3 point difference is the equivilant of a 10 point on Cinema since if you game isn’t between 70-100 its a garunteed failure somehow and if its under 85 its mediocre 🙁

  • Investors?? More like speculators.

    Anyone who bought in when THQ was down due to one game release which got mediocre reviews (not BAD reviews) will make a shitload.

    Same stuff happened with Japan earthquakes. Stocks tanked and now after all the fear and panic is over, all the prices have returned back to normal.

    Arbitrage ftw

  • Who trusts reviews anymore? Reviewers rave about Call of Duty and those games are the very definition of average.

    THQ forgot to pay the reviewers and suffered for it. A Lesson learned for when Homefront 2 rolls around.

    • I think there is a lot of truth in this comment. Reviews are becomming less and less reliable as they become more tools of marketing than any type of quality analysis. Websites like Kotaku and TheSixthAxis are good insomuch that they dont appear to be influence by corporate pressure.

      Remember kids, you cant spell ignorant without IGN.

  • Not all reviewers raved about Call of Duty (well Black Ops anyway) But on the subject of Call of Duty, this is where COD4 got it right with the MP Beta

    Back to Homefront though, THQ has landed a glancing blow to the second hand market with the ‘Battle Code’. Big Ups to them there… just seems that there will be quite a few copes returned this weekend from what I have read around the web

  • It’s a probably a good warning about the perils of investing solely on the basis of a review aggregator service.

    Speculators can wreak havoc based on tiny bits of information, it might be worth waiting to see how games sell first…

  • This game had the best pre-release hype I’ve ever seen – the backstory trailer was spine-tingling. I’d say a lot of people bought it just off of that.

    At least its main problems are its generic-ness and brevity, you can forgive those things if the experience is still fun, consider ever Naughty Bear sold enough for them to greenlight a sequel

  • Might want to mention the title of the game somewhere in the title or first paragraph, Mark. I had no idea what you were talking about until I got to the fourth paragraph =/

  • The marketing for Homefront was selling the universe, not the single player. It succeeded there.

    Kaos were never good at doing Single Player, just look at Frontlines, which is where this game takes alot of its cue’s from.

    I doubt the MP will be a ghost town in a month, since its where the bulk of dev time obviously went and with Kaos/THQ pledging continuing support for it through DLC and the like…it’ll build up a strong, maybe small, community.

    I mean I saw people saying that AC:Brotherhoods MP would die out after a month or two….and its still going strong after 4 months so yeah.

    Kaos hopefully learned the lesson that if you’re going to do SP campaigns, you need to devote time and energy to developing it….not just slap some shallow shit together and hope no one notices.

    Maybe they need to hand off the the SP to another THQ studio so they can focus on their love of Huge MP gaming, and not short change their customers for a third time.

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