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I am not a number: Metacritic drops dev ratings

29 Mar 2011  by   Paul Younger
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Score-aggregation megasite Metacritic has dropped its recently-adopted ‘career scores’ for individual developers after what the site calls an “enthusiastic discussion” in the gaming press and online.
The ‘career score’ system attempted to distill an actual human being down into his composite numerical value in a somewhat disturbing fashion. It did this by averaging out the already averaged out review scores for all the games that individual worked on. So, for example, Chris Avellone was worth an 81, while John Romero was a 75.
This system appeared horribly flawed from the start. It didn’t seem to attribute any ‘weight’ to specific roles, so if you were the tea boy on a game that scored 30 and the lead designer on one which scored 95, they apparently counted for the same thing. Moreover, there was a danger that the industry would start using it as some kind of guiding standard, as is currently the case with Metacritic’s review scores.
We don’t need to worry about that happening just yet, though, because the system has been dropped. Metacritic explains the decision to do so in a news post at the site, where they admit that their database “[is] not nearly as comprehensive as it needs to be to accurately provide a career score for these individuals.” As a result, “we have removed that career score from the pages dedicated to creative individuals behind games.”
This doesn’t exactly sound as if the site have realised why the system was such a bad idea. Indeed, it sounds like they will try to bring it back eventually. For now, though, Peter Molyneux can rest easy that no-one will ever learn his secret developer score (it was 82.)

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