Frontier boss David Braben has suggested that there should be a Metacritic service for computer game reviewers.
The man behind Kinectimals
made his conclusion after noticing that reviewers tend to ignore or unfairly rate games that aren't suited to their publication's target audience.
"Most reviews are targeted at what are often called ‘core’ gamers; people like us that follow games avidly, and are very experienced at playing them. Most reviewers and developers fall into this camp themselves, as do the readerships of most gaming websites and print press," Braben wrote in an opinion piece on Develop
"And so, entirely reasonably, those reviewers aim their reviews accordingly.
"A problem starts to occur when the audiences’ tastes differ significantly from the reviewer’s – or developer’s – own tastes," he adds. "This is becoming more of an issue as our industry matures to include a great many people outside this group – particularly so if the group targeted is not just this ‘core’."
Braben noted that this kind of thinking on the reviewer's behalf is fine if his audience matches their work, "but for a review on TV, on a website for kids and adults or in the mainstream media, it does not." Although to be fair, we highly doubt a review of a kid's game on a kid's website is going to result in the writer wishing it was Call of Duty
The art of reviewing games is just as difficult as making them, Braben argues, and that the ability to remain "consistent" should be rewarded. "Most reviewers are excellent at what they do, and it is a very hard job with, frankly, little glory. As an industry, there is something we could do to recognise this – effectively a Metacritic for reviewers," he writes.
Although he stresses that his intention isn't to influence reviewers, "if there were a system that tracked reviews by reviewer, not by publication, then hopefully this could reinforce the position of ‘star’ reviewers in particular sectors, which I think would be a very good thing for all concerned."
What do you reckon, readers?