Funcom Blames MetaCritic For Share Price Drop

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Evil Smurf:
how is 7/10 low? #gamerlogic

It's the reviewers fault, not the gamers. Think about it; when was the last time you saw a game get a score under 5? Friggen never, and if it did then it means that the game barely worked. In theory the median for game reviews should be 5, in practice it's more like 7. Don't ask me why, it seems that the game reviewers of the world just universally decided that 7 was going to be the new median for game scores.

aceman67:
I'd buy this game, but their customer service department leaves much to be desired.

Because I hadn't logged into my Funcom account for more then 3 months, I had to go through a 'manditory security verification' where I had to send scans of two government IDs. The CS rep then proceeded to argue with me when I asked why I needed to send VERY personal information to log into an account used to play a Free-To-Play MMO with no credit card info attached (Age of Conan).

Total bullcrap, and not worth the effort, even if the game is good.

:-| thats dumbfounded me. good or not ill be skipping this even if it does go free to play. because im always taking 6 month breaks from mmos..

72% is considered bad.. wow thats a nice solid score. but thats right things these days are either the worst thing to of existed in the history of mankind or perfect and best EVAR!

rolfwesselius:
inb4 gamers asking for handouts because their too cheap to pay for good games.

Yes, their (sic) too cheap, which is why the video game industry is experiencing near-exponential growth financially. It all makes sense now.

Evil Smurf:
how is 7/10 low? #gamerlogic

Gotta love score inflation. To be fair, though, the reviews for this game look like it would have merited lower if not for the same score inflation.

Moeez:
I can't believe publishers use Metacritic as hostage to paying the developers for bonuses and now share prices. I thought it was a joke a few years ago, but to see how review scores (something entirely subjective) can directly affect the employees of a game company is a bit disgusting.

What they're saying here is that the price of their shares dropped because the game was "poorly" received. In this instance, the claim is less "we value Metacritic" and more "the shareholders are following metacritic."

AldUK:

TSW takes time and commitment to get the most out of it. Guess what, it's an MMO, they're supposed to work that way.

Then don't complain when it gets trounced by WoW and non-MMO players don't want to touch it.

Shouldn't Funcom be blaming themselves so making a crappy game?

I mean, really, the gameplay of TSW wasn't that great at all.

and as others have pointed out, 72, isn't THAT low of a socre.

SajuukKhar:
Shouldn't Funcom be blaming themselves so making a crappy game?

I mean, really, the gameplay of TSW wasn't that great at all.

and as others have pointed out, 72, isn't THAT low of a socre.

Indeed, if you want an 85, fix the one thing majorly bad about the game. Everyone has told FC since the 1st beta the combat is really terrible and the animations are almost at 'so bad its good' level.

Evil Smurf:
how is 7/10 low? #gamerlogic

No, it is sound maths-logic

Average score is 77% so 72% is significantly below average.

Nowhere in any scoring system must 50% always be average. Look, if you are an Olympic diver and you score on 7/10 the you can't declare you are 20% above average when the actual average score in such events is around 8.1/10.

It's a common. Mistake in maths to assume "half is average". As in "well I could win or lose this bet, two outcomes, so the odds are 50-50" he'll no.

nikki191:

72% is considered bad.. wow thats a nice solid score. but thats right things these days are either the worst thing to of existed in the history of mankind or perfect and best EVAR!

How would you like it if you were going under surgery and you discovered the surgeon operating on you only got 72% of the answers right on his medical exam? 50% is not an "average" grade in most industries, video game criticism included.

72 may seem like a big number but that's irrelevant. What is relevant is how it scores relative to other games.

But this only tells of its launch condition. Magicka got panned for selling at too high a price for such a short game and was unplayable buggy. Yet after a round of price cuts, extra content and bug fixes it doesn't seem like a below average game...not any more.

I'll definitely pick up Secret World... as soon as it goes Free-2-Play. The WoW model is dead, and only WoW has the clout to get away with it... It's like how Xbox can charge for their Live service when you can get the same damn thing for free on PS3 (and the Wii, though that has its own problems)... Whoever is first gets to set the curve, and everyone else had to explore alternative options if they want to stay relevant.

I think people are missing the point here. Funcom isn't saying that those reviews didn't have any good advice, they are saying that it's sad that an unreliable rating system like Metacritic can influence stock so drastically in this world.

Also, at the people saying it will go F2P like TOR, look at this. TOR cost over 200 million to develop and requires at least 500k subs to be profitable at all. TSW cost a measly 30 million to make. As such, they developed a better game and only need 75k-100k subs to be profitable.
Funcom also noted that its retention rate is VERY good, especially when compared to TOR or AoC.
The thing is, retention rate is always more important than initial sales in the long run.

I think TSW is a great game, a bit buggy, but it is one of the few games out there that has been truly innovative when you look past the surface.

algalon:
Translation: look where the painting is pointing in the museum, the code is on the clock (or something like that)

That damnable puzzle took me forever to figure out.

Elate:
It most likely will go free to play, because honestly it doesn't seem all that original. WHOA THERE, now before you start getting together with pitchforks, I mean the mechanics don't. Aside from the skill building allowing you to be whatever you want (see runescape doing this before.) and the obvious setting, it just seems like the hook is the same as every other MMO.. Dunno, guess I'm just expecting new games to be more like GW2 and actually push the bar on what I expect from an MMO instead of just copying WoWs mechanics with varying improves/licks of paint.

I give it a year or two.

Yes because GW2 is totally innovative and not just an update of old MMO features that they're painting off as brand new -.- no hypocrisy here.

OT: I think Funcom's shooting to much into the wind here, its not metacritic's fault, its the fact that their MMO is P2P as well as having microtransactions. You can't have your cake and eat it to Funcom, one or the other.

TSW seems like a bit of a mess.
I like it overall, but it badly needs some polish.

The travel, skills and crafting are WAY more complicated than needs be.

Treblaine:

nikki191:

72% is considered bad.. wow thats a nice solid score. but thats right things these days are either the worst thing to of existed in the history of mankind or perfect and best EVAR!

How would you like it if you were going under surgery and you discovered the surgeon operating on you only got 72% of the answers right on his medical exam? 50% is not an "average" grade in most industries, video game criticism included.

72 may seem like a big number but that's irrelevant. What is relevant is how it scores relative to other games.

But this only tells of its launch condition. Magicka got panned for selling at too high a price for such a short game and was unplayable buggy. Yet after a round of price cuts, extra content and bug fixes it doesn't seem like a below average game...not any more.

Except...ITS NOT.

Jesus christ this is why people do this.

A video game isn't a damned surgery, its a VIDEO GAME. Maybe you forgot how the scale was originally set up.
0-25: Unplayable
25-50: Crap
50-65: Playable crap
65-75: Pretty okay (Or a bit to niche appeal for the general public)
75-85: Good
85-95: Great
95-100: Perfect

Most reviewers even ADMIT this is the scale, yet the actual scale is the following.
0-75: Unplayable garbage, do not want.
75-80: Meh
80-85: Okay
85-90: Good
90-100: Great

And the idiotic masses take the second scale as true, because its either GREAT, MEH, or SHIT.
Don't defend that skewed scale, because it was set up to use the full percentages, not the top 40 (Like grades in grade school).

So first Metacritic score is required to apply jobs and now it influences share prices? This will not end well. Too much power in something so biased.

I played beta and will buy it after upgrading my PC. It fealt nice and worth at least the box price. I hear mostly good things from friends that play it now.

Remerik:
And WTH Elate, how are the mechanics Wow'ish? have you even seen the game in action. You should know what you are talking about before saying such things, your making yourself look stupid. Guess you cant help it though since you are obviously a victim of the GW2 hype and i bet you dont know that game is shit :) (i've played it)

Yeah, what he said! Clearly he knows what he's talking about. His superb spelling and grammar has convinced me of this fact! Besides, he claims to have played GW2, and obviously if he's played GW2, he can tell us all about his experience and name off all of the beta weekend event finales in order. So let's hear it, what were they?

....you don't know, do you? Because you never played Guild Wars 2, have you? Yeah, that's what I thought.

But you had a fair point and one worth mentioning. You can't judge a game without having seen it in action! So let's do just that. Let's compare the "shitty" GW2 to The Secret World.

Here's a sample of the very beginning of The Secret World, which covers about 45 minutes worth of gameplay. Jump to 5:24 for the start of the game (after the character select screen):

Now, let's compare the above with the first couple of minutes for GW2. Let's go with....oh, let's say a Charr this time around (different races get different opening sequences):

Notice a difference? I sure do. The second one was actually exciting. :P

Okay, I'll be fair, the first one's gameplay wasn't that bad either. But it's hard for someone like me to find the former more impressive than the latter. But enough of that. I should judge the games on their merits. Alright. Let's run down the list of basic mechanics that both games use.

TSW:
[1] Initial round of gameplay is exactly the same for all groups.
[2] Game features a standard skill bar with 7 skills. Skills appear to differ primarily by weapon, and unlock as you use the weapon more.
[3] Movement is permitted in combat. Player appears to be able to tank out enemies to some degree, though movement is encouraged.
[4] Quests are started through standard flavored screens of text. Quests typically feature standard MMO structure, i.e "kill X zombies" or "collect X items from zombies".
[5] The number of quests a player can work towards at any given time are limited to seven (IIRC).

GW2:
[1] Opening sequence of gameplay, starting zone, etc all differ by race.
[2] Game features a standard skill bar with six slots open and four unlockable. Skills in the first five slots differ by weapon, and unlock as you use the weapon more. Additional slots are unlocked throughout the game which provide the player with alternative strategies based on profession and race, and the unlocking of various weapon swapping mechanics on all professions allow the player to change their strategy in the middle of combat without any difficulties.
[3] Movement is permitted in combat. Game is designed around action-adventure style combat, encouraging the player to move and dodge on a regular basis to avoid large (potentially lethal) attacks.
[4] Quests can be started automatically simply by entering the area where the quest is taking place, or by talking to wandering "recruiter" NPCs who try to inform players of what's happening in the world. Quests range from killing monsters to collecting items to feeding cows to plugging leaks in a dam, and so on, though most of them retain similar functionality to a standard MMO, i.e. "do this task X times", throughout the game. However, some quests (called "renowned hearts" or "hearts" by some) feature multiple methods of completing the quest which all contribute to the completion bar.
[5] Since quests are based on region rather than being selected with text screens, there is no maximum number of quests that can be undertaken at once. The only limit is the number of quests in your area.

Now let's be honest for a second: which of those sounds more like WoW to you? I'm not about to claim that GW2 is the "revolution" people want it to be, but TSW shares a hell of a lot more with WoW than you want to admit. And the things it doesn't share with WoW, it shares with GW2....yet TSW is a subscription game and GW2 is a purchase-based game (buy once, play forever, like most non-MMOs function).

I'm sorry, but comparatively speaking, if you're claiming WoW is shit, then TSW is closer to shit than GW2 is. And I wouldn't mind if you just admitted that it was personal preference, but you didn't. You came out and said "TSW is not WoW" and "GW2 is shit". The former is a provably false statement, and the latter is a subjective opinion that obviously not many people share, given its MetaCritic rating. >_>

MetaCritic isn't the be-all-end-all, but its ratings are generally a bit more reliable than a random guy on the forums who blurts out silly shit like "GW2 is shit, trust me I played it". Well, I can tell you I've played it too, and out of the dozens of MMOs I've tried, it's by far the best I've ever played. Is it perfect? Well no, a lot of what it's doing is just a repaint of stuff that worked in the past for other MMOs. It's got a LOT of similar traits to other MMOs. But the difference is that it makes those things FUN. It's still a damn good game.

Saviordd1:
Yes because GW2 is totally innovative and not just an update of old MMO features that they're painting off as brand new -.- no hypocrisy here.

It's got a lot of stuff that it pretty much copies wholesale from other MMOs, that's true. But it seems to do a lot of those same things much better than the other MMOs did them, and it makes them fun. That alone is a step in the right direction. To refuse to recognize this is being somewhat dishonest, and rather unfair to the game.

Filiecs:
Funcom also noted that its retention rate is VERY good, especially when compared to TOR or AoC.
The thing is, retention rate is always more important than initial sales in the long run.

While I agree with some of your points, I think it's WAY too soon to talk about retention rate when the game has been out for a month or so.

Neither SWTOR nor AoC lost most of their subs after the first month, that didn't stop them from going F2P.

My point is, wait for TSW to be out longer before you brag about it's retention rate.

Saviordd1:

Treblaine:

nikki191:

72% is considered bad.. wow thats a nice solid score. but thats right things these days are either the worst thing to of existed in the history of mankind or perfect and best EVAR!

How would you like it if you were going under surgery and you discovered the surgeon operating on you only got 72% of the answers right on his medical exam? 50% is not an "average" grade in most industries, video game criticism included.

72 may seem like a big number but that's irrelevant. What is relevant is how it scores relative to other games.

But this only tells of its launch condition. Magicka got panned for selling at too high a price for such a short game and was unplayable buggy. Yet after a round of price cuts, extra content and bug fixes it doesn't seem like a below average game...not any more.

Except...ITS NOT.

Jesus christ this is why people do this.

A video game isn't a damned surgery, its a VIDEO GAME. Maybe you forgot how the scale was originally set up.
0-25: Unplayable
25-50: Crap
50-65: Playable crap
65-75: Pretty okay (Or a bit to niche appeal for the general public)
75-85: Good
85-95: Great
95-100: Perfect

Most reviewers even ADMIT this is the scale, yet the actual scale is the following.
0-75: Unplayable garbage, do not want.
75-80: Meh
80-85: Okay
85-90: Good
90-100: Great

And the idiotic masses take the second scale as true, because its either GREAT, MEH, or SHIT.
Don't defend that skewed scale, because it was set up to use the full percentages, not the top 40 (Like grades in grade school).

"Maybe you forgot how the scale was originally set up."

BY WHOM!?!?! Where did you pull that from? Where did all the game critics everywhere even from competing publications all agree that is what the scale means? It's completely arbitrary and disconnected from actual aggregate opinion.

There is no confusion, the masses are not being idiotic on this point. BOTH the critics and the masses understand that 7/10 is a bad score, a below average score.

There is NOTHING wrong with a skewed scale, the medical school test is just the most OBVIOUS example of a skewed scale where a score of 50% is atrocious and 70% is still unacceptable. Tell me, WHY should 50% be adequate?

You say it should be like grades in school, yet grades in school focus totally on the last 40 percent: A grade= 100-93% B grade= 92-85% C grade= 84-76% D grade= 75-68% F grade= 67% and below

According to school grading to percent that so many Americans are so familiar with, The Secret World got given a D grade by the critics. That does NOT mean the game IS a "D Grade Game" but it does MOST DEFINITELY mean that in aggregate the critics didn't like it much and EVERYONE UNDERSTANDS THIS.

It is completely arbitrary to say the scale was set up to use the whole scale, no, it was set up for a common point of comparison to summarise the critic's confidence in a given title.

I'd buy the game but I'm not seeing the Steam sale. Regardless, I liked the game more than TOR when I played beta, but still not enough to be willing to pony up the sub fee.

I would have brought The Secret World off Steam but Funcom have region locked it so the UK CAN'T BUY IT!!! *and I confirmed this when I saw half a dozen similar complaints only from UK steam users*

Thats right, people. A MMO that relies on the numbers of people playing to maximize its profits is cutting off 3 million+ potential subscribers.

CriticKitten:
-holy wall of text batman-

That doesn't make it innovative.

It makes it Japanese a game that's just updated things a bit.

Treblaine:
-snip-

By EVERYONE
Here, just to make a point. Gamespot and IGN are two of the biggest game reviewers around no?
Here's there review policies
http://www.gamespot.com/misc/reviewguidelines.html
http://games.ign.com/ratings.html

And if you go to any other website the formula is pretty much the same.
They MEANT for the FULL SCALE to be used, 0-10 evenly. Not 7-10, if they wanted that, why would they not just use a ONE TO THREE SCALE. (Though some do this with stars)

Your point is absolutely pants on head retarded, your comparing two grading systems that are NOT comparable.

YES the masses are being idiotic, and NO the critics DON'T understand that 7 of 10 is a below average score, if they're any good they use their full scale and when they mean a 7 they mean a good but flawed in areas game.

And just to finish this off, no, I never said that games SHOULD be compared to the American grading system, I said they SHOULDN'T.

Exact Quote from that sentence "not the top 40 (Like grades in grade school)."

Evil Smurf:
how is 7/10 low? #gamerlogic

Better yet, how do they think the "User Score" makes for a valid argument that the critic reviews are wrong? Hell, I'm pretty sure I could make at least a few fake accounts and start tossing out 10/10 reviews for TSW on there, same with the reverse as well.

At the end of the day, the real victim is the setting of Secret World, wasted on a mediocre MMO that will be lucky if it lasts a few years. Such potential wasted on an fairly generic (in terms of gameplay) MMO instead of an actual game that people might want to buy... :(

Saviordd1:

Treblaine:
-snip-

By EVERYONE
Here, just to make a point. Gamespot and IGN are two of the biggest game reviewers around no?
Here's there review policies
http://www.gamespot.com/misc/reviewguidelines.html
http://games.ign.com/ratings.html

And if you go to any other website the formula is pretty much the same.
They MEANT for the FULL SCALE to be used, 0-10 evenly. Not 7-10, if they wanted that, why would they not just use a ONE TO THREE SCALE. (Though some do this with stars)

Your point is absolutely pants on head retarded, your comparing two grading systems that are NOT comparable.

YES the masses are being idiotic, and NO the critics DON'T understand that 7 of 10 is a below average score, if they're any good they use their full scale and when they mean a 7 they mean a good but flawed in areas game.

And just to finish this off, no, I never said that games SHOULD be compared to the American grading system, I said they SHOULDN'T.

Exact Quote from that sentence "not the top 40 (Like grades in grade school)."

IGN and Gamespot obviously don't speak for all critics, which is what I asked.

Here is what you don't understand about the mathematics: the scores speak for themselves. If the average aggregate score is 77% then 72% aggregate is below average. Simple. Undeniable.

You shouldn't get so hopping mad that well thought out mathematics expose gamespot/ign cannot speak for all critics. What are you so angry about using the "whole scale"? Just deal with it that it doesn't fit on an arbitrary 50% being average, it does not matter at all if 77% is the average score.

"NO the critics DON'T understand that 7 of 10 is a below average score"

Baseless supposition. Why would you possibly assert that games critics who are industry expert wouldn't be aware of something as fundamental as that? I'm sure one or two out of hundreds don't get it, but equally there will be a small percent who will think it is above average, hence how we have the averages we have to balance out.

I mean it's not a "one to three scale" as if there are only 3 points of precision, no critics give scores like 7.5 or 8.2 or 9.5. I think you are getting too mad to think straight, even if they only used integers 7-10 that is 4-points of data, not 3, and i have seen 6/10 and 5/10 plenty often and occasionally a 4/10. And you may not understand the maths, but every point of entry may be imprecise but with enough data entry points you get a more representative result. Like how asking 5 people for an approve/disapprove opinion isn't very representative as a survey unless you ask hundreds of people.

I really want to have sympathy for this, but there is always something more than just a "bad" metacritic score.

Can't Funcom go back to producing sequels to the Longest Journey?

praetor_alpha:
Can't Funcom go back to producing sequels to the Longest Journey?

If this game succeeds they get the money to do so.

Evil Smurf:
how is 7/10 low? #gamerlogic

Don't you know? These days, anything less than 9.6/10 means you might as well have packed the game box with gorilla feces.

If it actually goes on Sale sale at Steam I'll give it a shot. Not paying $50 + monthly fees for something that still needs at least a year of work though. I was in on Age of Conan launch, so I've been here before!

malestrithe:
I really want to have sympathy for this, but there is always something more than just a "bad" metacritic score.

They barely marketed the game. Most of their target audience didn't realize it had actually released. They still don't. So many of the peole I know and play with still don't realize that its out of beta and is on store shelves. All they know about it were one or two interesting sounding articles from ages ago.

First rule of video games. If you want to make money and have your stock go up, you need to let people know it is actually available to play.

tmande2nd:
ERMHAGERHD METERCRUTIC!

I think I'm going to make that a tag.

Depending on their definition of 'blame', I agree with them. Metacritic/review scores do have some weight on how a game is perceived. With that said, if they "blaming" the site for decreased sales in the 'other' way..

Gennadios:
I'd buy the game but I'm not seeing the Steam sale. Regardless, I liked the game more than TOR when I played beta, but still not enough to be willing to pony up the sub fee.

My main problem is that they want me to buy their game and then expect me to pay monthly to keep playing it. I'll be playing guildwars 2 because they sell the game and then let me play it for free. either sell me my game and let me play it or make the game free and make me pay a subscription to play.

im not demanding free to play since paying something gives you some reason to play it other than a idle diversion, but kicking me coming and going is a practice that is killing the MMO market and if they continue with it i'll be glad to see it crash.

faefrost:

malestrithe:
I really want to have sympathy for this, but there is always something more than just a "bad" metacritic score.

They barely marketed the game. Most of their target audience didn't realize it had actually released. They still don't. So many of the peole I know and play with still don't realize that its out of beta and is on store shelves. All they know about it were one or two interesting sounding articles from ages ago.

First rule of video games. If you want to make money and have your stock go up, you need to let people know it is actually available to play.

Your line of thinking is heading games down a dangerous path. (One we're already on)

Gamers who don't put effort into staying updated on game release pipelines are directly responsible for major publishers getting bigger and smaller ones dying. When people starts blaming publishers for lack of advertisements on international TV, Radio and billboards in major traffic hubs, guess what: only EA, UbiSoft and Activision will be able to ever survive in the AAA market. That leaves us with 3 games considered "AAA" each year. I see the release schedule for year 2100 now: "AssCreed 42: Return to that dank Turkish alley", "Call of Duty 91 Modern Warfare 66" aaaaand the 600th "The Sims 3" expansion pack. There will be indie games, sure. But the AAA game makers of today with actual soul will be gone.

On topic though: The Secret World is a great game. It's combat mechanics are average (which makes them underwhelming in a release year where every other MMO tries something different with combat) - yet, I still like it's combat more than those games. (Tera and GW2) Just because I don't care how fantastic the animations are if I'm going to be stuck in them and unable to move. Fuck that shit.

Everything else about TSW is literally top notch: (overall) Voice acting, dramaturgy, writing, pacing, support mechanics like crafting...

Combat is also amazing on the tactical/ skill level for an MMO. More mobile in actual combat, more demanding on deck building when planning for it.

TSW deserves it's user score. User scores are generally more right than "professional ones". Compared to Rift and SW:ToR, The Secret World is the first AAA MMO with a higher user score than it's review scores. Which is to be expected from a game that grows on you. If you spend less than a good twenty hours on it, you're not going to like it. There is a sweet spot you've got to hit. Basically when you leave Solomon Island and get into the real story. That's when the RPG elements come into play. Your first faction specific missions are trickling in, and you get to go to the best zone in the game by far: Egypt.

If you haven't played up to that point, your review can fuck right off and so can you.

A new MMO launches just before Guild Wars 2.

People rate it highly on metacritic (84)

"Professionals" rate it comparatively lower (72)

Company share price bombs.

The problem here is that people are using "reviewer" metacritic data as a reliable source. It's ALWAYS THE USER SCORE THAT COUNTS.

Look at the difference between Diablo 3's Rscore and it's Uscore

Now look at Dragon Age 2.

See the problem here?

Grey Carter:
The company goes on to add that the game's score of 72 out of 100 "must be considered low" and isn't in line with the positive feedback the game received during its beta phases. While you might question its decision to call a solid seven out of ten "low," Funcom may have a point. The Secret World is one of the few games on MetaCritic with a user review score higher than its professional one.

What?

How is it considered bad when other gamers are rating it higher than what professional critics are giving it?
I'm not sure why Funcom would have a point there.

Why is this a problem with Metacritic and not the actual critics or have I missed something here?
I don't use Metacritic at all.

Educate me.

CriticKitten:

Notice a difference? I sure do. The second one was actually exciting. :P

With respect, "exciting" is highly subjective. I thought that the intro video to TSW was intriguing and different, and it reminded me a little of one of my favourite games of all time (Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines). On the other hand, that GW2 intro looked like Yet Another Generic Fantasy RPG; it could have been Dragon Age 2 or Kingdoms of Amalur or Neverwinter Nights 2. That's not exciting at all to me.

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