A machine is not a critic.

If games are meant to encourage trust and maintenance in systems in general, then we might think of art in games as doubt and subversion of these systems. But does this mutual exclusivity reflect why we struggle so openly about wanting more of the latter in our games? Writing for IGN, Keza MacDonald suggests that a large part of the problem is how the industry lets quantifiable criticism of Metacritic define how games are made. Apparently, our second-only-to-porn industry so lacks an consequential voice and vision that companies regularly base decisions about who to hire and what games to produce based on Metacritic scores, and not the audience’s firsthand experience.

The reliance on Metacritic in certain hugely important parts of the games industry is bad for everyone: it’s bad for developers, it’s bad for critics, and ultimately that means it’s bad for gamers too. Most of all, though, it’s bad for the long-term future of video games; the reduction of a game’s merit to a crowd-sourced numerical average stands in the way of their being regarded in the same way as other valuable forms of art and entertainment like film and music, which are allowed – indeed expected – to divide opinion.