Metacritic Will Now Make Users Wait 36 Hours Before Posting Reviews

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Metacritic Will Now Make Users Wait 36 Hours Before Posting Reviews
Image: Sony

Weeks after The Last of Us Part 2 was review bombed on Metacritic, the video game review aggregation website now requires people to wait more than a day after a game’s release to submit their personal reviews.

Metacritic publicises two review scores for any game: the Metascore based on critic reviews and the User Score based on reviews submitted to the site by random Metacritic users. In the past, users could begin posting their scores for games as soon as they released, without necessarily even having had time to actually play them. Now, Metacritic has confirmed to Kotaku that it’s implemented a new “waiting period” to try and cut back on the number of obviously erroneous user reviews.

“We recently implemented the 36-hour waiting period for all user reviews in our games section to ensure our gamers have time to play these games before writing their reviews,” a spokesperson for the site told Kotaku in an email. “This new waiting period for user reviews has been rolled out across Metacritic’s Games section and was based on data-driven research and with the input of critics and industry experts.”

Screenshot: Metacritic Screenshot: Metacritic

People first began to notice the new requirement earlier this month. On July 8 a thread from the gaming forum ResetEra showed the new waiting period language on the review page for the console release of the 2019 puzzle game Superliminal. Forbes writer Paul Tassi then noticed the language again today as people poured over the Metacritic pages for Ghost of Tsushima and Paper Mario: The Origami King, both of which released today and have the new waiting 36-hour waiting period for user review submissions.

One of the more notorious and most recent examples of Metacritic users derriding a game they’d barely played was The Last of Us Part 2. Within hours of release in late April.

But review bombing has been a big problem on Metacritic and other crowd-sourced review platforms for a long time now. When Kotaku asked Metacritic earlier this year what it was doing to combat review bombing, the site said it regularly had moderators scanning for unusual behaviour and removing reviews that violated its terms of service. While this new measure doesn’t prevent review bombing, it does put the brakes on it a bit.

When asked if what happened with The Last of Us Part 2 was a factor in creating this new waiting period, a spokesperson for Metacritic told Kotaku this new policy was not implemented “in light of any particular game.”

Comments

  • Doubt it will help. A week might, but these losers are still at it a month later, chasing Neil on Twitter and abusing anyone who says they enjoyed it.
    People are generally more likely to act on anger or disappointment than satisfaction, so user scores are generally pointless anyway.

    • It will help because it addresses the problem of people creating fake, disposable accounts simply to leave a negative review. It was never going to stop actual users.

  • Wouldn’t make any difference. a better idea would be give people the ability to upvote or downvote a review if a review gets to many down votes it gets deleted…

    • That would just creat and ever-bigger issue. You would have review bombers also downvoting all the positive reviews.

      A better idea would be to have a ‘certified’ reviewer system, where you are classed as a ‘certified’ reviewer if you own the game, and have played it for 5+ hours (tho, that might need to change for smaller projects) with the idea you would link your PSN, Xbox, Steam or whatever to Metacritic, and it scans your account for games you have played and how many hours you put into it, and then you wight the reviews that are certified more in the score. So, there review score would count towards a review 2 to 1 or something.

    • You mean like upvotes and downvotes on Steam, and like used to be here? You mean adding a simple popularity contest in addition to the other pile-on options? You mean the system that has routinely done nothing whatsoever to reward quality, long form, well thought out posts and done everything to promte asinine humor such as “10/10, would play again”, group-think and thumb bombing? Ummm… no.

  • Once again an article like this refuses to acknowledge that review ‘bombing’ goes both ways with fake positive reviews also very much being a thing.

    The notion that this change was done based on input from industry critics and ‘experts’ is laughable… You’re talking about people who’d absolutely have jumped at the chance to silence users who dare to disgree with their ‘superior’ opinions.

    • I have trouble believing that there are hordes of people out there ready to swarm certain games with positive reviews. What are we looking at here, exactly, “Game correctly depicts Taiwan as part of China, 10/10”?

      • They do exist, just because you don’t believe they do doesn’t mean they don’t.

        Review bombing goes both ways.

        It just seems you only want to remove one of the ways.

        • What’s the motivation for large numbers of people positive review bomb a game they don’t particularly like or have no intention of ever playing? That is, other than to counter a negative bomb.

          It can’t be fanboys, they’re the source of all the saltiest reviews. Inevitably they’re fanboys disappointed that a game isn’t difficult enough, or has microtransactions, or the characters are showing less skin, or the font changed from the previous iteration of the series.

          We have tons of evidence of negative review bombing, but none whatsoever about positive review bombs, other than your say-so.

          And I’m not removing any ways, I just have never seen a single article describing a positive review bomb nor do I understand what possible motivation there might be to drive such a thing.

          • People “positive review bomb” to try to counteract the negative review bombs, and I’ve seen user reviews that literally say “I haven’t played the game yet but 10/10 to even out the negative scores”.

            Also, anyone who posted a positive 10/10 review in that first 24-48 hours are just as guilty as those who posted a negative 0/10 review in that time. If the negative reviewers couldn’t have finished the game in that time, then the positives ones couldn’t have done so either.

            It goes both ways.

        • @White_Pointer as I note in literally my second sentence. But countering a negative review bomb is very different from starting one in the first place.

          Also, just because people have shit reasons for rating a game “10/10” doesn’t make it a review bomb. We’re not trying to outlaw stupidity here, just mass pile-ons for reasons largely unrelated to the actual game.

      • A very easy, very simple example… All the “10/10 Best game!” user reviews that got left along side the “0/10 Worst game!” reviews from the moment Last of Us 2 came out.

        One doesn’t get to argue that positive reviews are legitimate just because they’re positive, that argument is actually a special level of stupid all its own. Especially since those reviews were being done in just the same manner as the negative reviews that were being complained about.

        • Neither sound like a review bomb to me. Both appear to be genuinely held opinions about the game. Albeit, opinions that are immature and superficial, but it is the internet after all. Pretty much the top rated review on just about every major Steam game is some play on the tired 10/10 meme.

          What separates a review bomb from simple enthusiasm is that the opinion expressed is typically tangential to the game itself. Say, to make some kind of political point or to punish the devs for some perceived slight such as for something they’ve done in a completely unrelated game. Most commonly these reviews are completely up front about what they’re doing, there’s no mystery about motivation.

          • I’d say the phenomenon of a “review bomb” really comes about due to the volume and speed of submitting. A negative review in isolation, regardless of whether it is misguided or relevant to the actual game content, is just a negative review. It’s when people are driven by outrage and mobilised en masse, with an aim to attack the developer, either personally or financially, that it turns into review bombing. That’s how I’ve always seen it, at least.

          • @mogwai volume and speed isn’t enough. Any new release game is going to receive a torrent of reviews in the first week or two after release.

            As you say, however, the main criteria is “when people are driven by outrage and mobilised en masse, with an aim to attack the developer”.

          • Man, the new comment system is awful for maintaining conversation.

            I think the volume and speed could be further clarified into:

            a) volume and speed of submission of reviews with scores that fall outside the reasonable range of scores (I’m sure there’s a statistical term here that escapes me). For example, if the scores are generally within 5-8, but then gets swamped with an unusual number of 0’s and 10’s.

            b) if a game has been released for a while, and has been getting on average of 10-20 reviews per day after the initial review period is over , but then all of a sudden starts getting 500 reviews (either overwhelmingly positive or negative) per day that coincides with a statement or action made by the developer, I think that is appropriate to call a review bomb.

        • So if the 0/10 review bombs are stopped, then seems that the 10/10 reviews to counteract that will also stop. Sounds good to me.

    • While it does go both ways, I’d be surprised if there is even 50% of the positive review bombing going on compared to negative. But I’m pulling numbers out my arse based on scanning Metacritic reviews over the years, it would be interesting to get some actual stats.

  • I’ve never taken metacritic scores in to consideration when buying games. It’s a pointless system. When you open it up to the general public, any credibility is gone. At least there is some trust level with critics (mostly).

    At the end of the day, I’m only buying a game if it looks interesting to me, not because it gets rated a 9.5.

  • If somebody is the type of person to create multiple fake accounts for the purpose of review bombing immediately up on a game’s release, I have a hard time believing the same person would be reluctant to create multiple fake accounts for the purpose of review bombing 36 hours after the release of a game.

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