Metacritic is the latest website to take steps to prevent ‘review bombing,’ the practice of plastering a game, movie, or TV show with negative reviews as soon as it is released. These attacks are often politically motivated and intended to harm the production in an effort to prevent the creation of similar future works. In Metacritic’s case, it is restricting early game reviews.
Metacritic is a website that gathers reviews on a variety of products, ultimately presenting a score based on all of the reviews. Because anyone can contribute reviews alongside critics, the platform is vulnerable to manipulation in the form of review bombing. One of the most notable targets of this was recently launched game The Last of Us II.
As first noted by users on ResetEra, Metacritic no longer allows games to be reviewed on the day they were released, at least when it comes to casual users. You’ll have to wait a few days before you can leave a score, giving players time to finish the game before contributing their reviews. This should help prevent review bombing that rapidly drops the game’s score.
Of course, trolls and politically-motivated users can still review bomb products once the user reviews feature goes live, but the delay will give legitimate players a chance to balance out the negativity, potentially preventing a rock-bottom score that may influence early buyers.
The Metacritic website tells users to, ‘Please spend some time playing the game’ before leaving a review; it includes a date and time for when the user can return to the site to publish their commentary and score for the game. It’s unclear whether the company is also taking steps to delete release-day negative reviews that were clearly published before the game could be fully played.