By Ian Sherr
Microsoft Corp. has a lot riding on its new alien shooting videogame, Halo 4, which is part of the blockbuster Halo franchise and debuts Nov 6. (read “The Big Game Battle“). But there’s one thing over which Halo 4′s creators can breathe a sigh of relief: the game’s review score from Metacritic.com.
Metacritic, which aggregates videogame reviews from various game publications such as GameStop GME +0.04%’s Game Informer magazine and AOL’s Joystiq, gives videogames an averaged score ranging from 1 to 100. The ranking that a game receives is regarded as a barometer for whether a title will sell well, with many game industry veterans and analysts saying a game needs to score in the mid-80s to be a certified hit.
“I’d be hard pressed to buy a 60-rated game,” said Josh Holmes, “Halo 4′s” creative director. “Anything below 75–that’s the kiss of death.”
Marc Doyle, Metacritic’s co-founder and games editor, said the site’s mission is to inform customers about the quality of games, whether or not they’re made as part of a popular franchise such as Halo. “I run this website to service the average consumer,” he said.
Early Thursday, shortly after “Halo 4′s” reviews began hitting the Web, Metacritic gave its all-important score: 91 based on 37 reviews. The Halo team sent out 800 review copies of the game to media in the U.S. alone, so many more reviews are likely to be added to Metacritic’s average. Indeed, as the hours wore on and more reviews were mixed in, Halo’s score dropped to 90.
(Published November 2, 2012, in The Wall Street Journal.)