Eurogamer Dropping Review Scores - Is This a New Trend?

Eurogamer has removed review scores, is this a growing trend?

Eurogamer is doing away with review scores, and instead implementing a 4 tier system. The first three are Essential, Recommend, & Avoid. Then the final tier is games that carry none of these, so they are "games with some qualities to recommend them but about which we have important reservations. This is where you'd find, for example, a sports game that provides no meaningful advance on last year's model, or an indie game with beautiful artwork but irritating design, or a well-made action-adventure with a dull storyline and samey gameplay.

What does this mean for Metacritic or Google?

To paraphrase Eurogamer, this basically means no Eurogamer from this point forward will be on Metacritic, due to the lack of a score. As for Google, when searching for Eurogamer reviews you will see a score attached:

  • Five Stars - Essential
  • Four Stars - Recommended
  • Three Stars - Everything Else
  • One Star - Avoid

This is due to lots of traffic being driven to Eurogamer via Google, but it does not mean that the games have secret scores.

Is this a growing trend is games media?

Rock, Paper, Shotgun (RPS) have always had their own system for reviews, a column simply known as Wot I Think, these are unscored reviews allowing the reader to have a mental image of what the game is, and if they would like it. RPS has always has had an unscored review system, but not many sites followed suit until now. Recently Joystiq announced that they were doing away with review scores, that is until AOL decided to shut them downNow Eurogamer has followed suit.

So with all this in mind, the two questions I want to ask are:

  • Will more sites drop scored reviews?
  • What do you prefer, scored or unscored reivews?

Leave your responses in the comments bellow.

Header image courtesy of Eurogamer.

Published Feb. 10th 2015
View Comments
  • Rhys Bjornsen
    For me, as potentially paying customer, there is a difference: I consider a rating like 'recommended' or 'everything else' easier to understand than an anonymous number like '57.3 of 100'. While it's possible that Eurogamer might be playing mind games here to satisfy both readers and the industry, I personally look at what ratings do for me.

    Personally, I like Ars Technica's 'ratings': a list of highlights of the good, the bad, and the ugly, followed by a very short verdict. For a while, the verdict was simply "Buy", "Rent" or "Avoid", but after some time it has become a bit more nuanced (but still very short).
  • Si_W
    Don't really understand the issue here or the big deal about Google needing a score for reviews. Maybe I search for reviews differently to most people.

    I just search for "game name" & "review", then look at some of the results so I can judge from the whole review and not just a top line score.
  • Stephen Johnston
    There is no meaningful difference between this and a 5 point or 10 point scale. What they are gaining is that the "unrated" group they can wash their hand of. They can give games a sub 80 score, but never have to actually say it. Thus, they can say we "never score a game under 80" when what they really mean is "no game with a score under 80 is ever graded".

    Interestingly, this gets right to the criticism of companies like IGN who were called out for only rarely rating under an 80%. Eurogamer has now formalized that process while claiming a moral high ground through semantics.
  • Pierre Fouquet
    Associate Editor
    But the 'score' only serves for SEO with Google, so that people can search for a review, and get that. Because Google needs a score for it to be a review. The tiers just allow for a quick identification of how the game is, they do not equate to a score in any way.
    I'm not sure I get what you mean...
  • Stephen Johnston
    They assigned a score. Google shows it. More importantly, those unscored reviews as they claim are just a semantic shell game. Those games really did get scores. They are scored 2-7.5 or so because the named scores are 0-1, 8-9, 9-10 equivalents. It's just semantic nonsense to say those games are unscored. The end result is not game with a score, unless it totally sucks will ever have a visible score below 80. That's pretty convenient in a way. "Hey game company, if we publish a score then that score will only be good unless your game is so bad it is basically shovel ware" so, come on by we'll give it an 80+ or not even mention the score! The rating machine wins!"
  • Pierre Fouquet
    Associate Editor
    Direct from Eurogamer... it's just for SEO, it's not a score.

    "When searching for reviews in Google, however, you will still see star ratings attached to Eurogamer reviews: five stars for Essential, four for Recommended, one for Avoid, three for everything else. Google is a very important source of traffic for us, and it's vital that our reviews are made easy to find by being as featured as prominently as possible. The star ratings help a great deal with this, and we feel that the scheme I've just described is a pretty close match for our system that won't misrepresent our reviews. That said, it's important they are not misinterpreted as us sneaking a numerical score out there by stealth. If you see three stars against our review on Google, that means the game belongs to a broad middle band of quality - not that it secretly got 6/10."
  • TiquorSJ
    Featured Contributor
    That's why I'm calling it semantics. That *is* a score. Even if just for SEO. It's a 6. So they have 4 not 3 rankings.


    They just don't publish the 6, except in Google. That is still a score. Regardless of that element, what it does is really say:

    "We only publish ratings for 80%+ or really bad games" everything else gets an unspoken 'middle ground' but we sure as heck won't call it a 60% or something like that." That middle ground rating sitll exists, it's just unclear, not definable and essentially absolves Eurogamer of responsbility while ensuring that no game company will ever receive less than an 80% "published" rating from them. That's a an interesting result...

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