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Frequently Asked Questions

How do you compute METASCORES?

To put it simply, a METASCORE is a weighted average of reviews from top critics and publications for a given movie, TV show, video game, or album.

The basic concept is the same for each of the genres currently included in our site. Let's use a fictional movie--'Iron Chef vs. Godzilla'--as an example.

Our staffers will go through every publication on our Movies Publications list (see below) looking for reviews for Iron Chef vs. Godzilla. For each review found, we will take the score given by the critic and convert it to a 0-100 point scale. (For those critics who do not provide a score, we'll assign a score from 0-100 based on the general impression given by the review.). These individual critic scores are then averaged together to come up with an overall score.

This overall score, or METASCORE, is a weighted average of the individual critic scores. Why a weighted average? When selecting our source publications, we noticed that some critics consistently write better (more detailed, more insightful, more articulate) reviews than others. In addition, some critics and/or publications typically have more prestige and respect in their industry than others. To reflect these factors, we have assigned weights to each publication (and, in the case of movies and television, to individual critics as well), thus making some publications count more in the METASCORE calculations than others.

In addition, for our movie and music sections, all of the weighted averages are normalized before generating the METASCORE. To put it another way that should be familiar to anyone who has taken an exam in high school or college, all of our movies and albums are graded on a curve. Thus the METASCORE may be higher or lower than the true weighted average of the individual reviews, thanks to this normalization calculation. Normalization causes the scores to be spread out over a wider range, instead of being clumped together. Generally, higher scores are pushed higher, and lower scores are pushed lower. Unlike in high school, this is a good thing, since it provides more of a distinction between scores and allows you to better compare scores across movies (or albums).

The resulting METASCORE, then, is a good indication of how a particular movie/game/album/television show was reviewed. The better the reviews, the higher the score will be; the worse the reviews, the lower the score will be. Ideally, if reviews are completely divided between good and bad, the METASCORE should be close to 50.

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Are user votes included in the METASCORE calculations?

No. While we solicit votes from our site visitors on movies, games, music, and television shows we do not include those votes in the METASCORE. The METASCORE is a weighted average of the published critic reviews contained in the chart on that page, and thus does not include any votes or comments from our users. However, you may, of course, see the average user vote by glancing at the USER SCORE to the right of the METASCORE on every summary page.

What does "tbd" mean?

To Be Determined.

To help ensure that METASCORES accurately reflect the reviews given by critics for any particular movie, game, television show or album, we do not display a METASCORE for those items that do not have at least four (4) reviews in our database. Once this minimum number of reviews is reached, the METASCORE will display.

Why do I see 4 gray squares listed instead of a METASCORE?

To help ensure that METASCORES accurately reflect the reviews given by critics for any particular movie, game, television show or album, we do not display a METASCORE for those items that do not have at least four (4) reviews in our database. Once this minimum number of reviews is reached, the METASCORE will display.

Before the first review for a product is entered, we will display an empty gray placeholder box which indicates "no score yet". As the first, second and third reviews are entered for a given movie, album, game, or TV show, we will indicate the whether those first three reviews are good, bad, or average/mixed with green, red, or yellow "stamps" within the gray field to give our users an idea, generally, as to how the METASCORE will likely turn out.

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Items that do not have a METASCORE are marked either with this gray box or "tbd" depending on the space available.

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Last week, [MOVIE TITLE] had a METASCORE of 67, but now it says 75. What's up with that? Am I hallucinating?

METASCORES can change, and in fact can do so frequently. The main culprit behind these changing scores is the addition of new reviews.

In a perfect world, all of our publications would have a review for the movie, game, television show or album prior to its release. However, in our world, this is not the case, and reviews trickle in over a period of time. Thus as we continue to add reviews over time for a particular products, its METASCORE can fluctuate (sometimes many times within a day, as can be the case with new movies and games). Because the METASCORE is basically an average, it will fluctuate more when a new review is added if there are only a few reviews to begin with, and won't change too much if there already are many reviews.

For major-release movies and television shows, scores typically will not change much over time, as most reviews will be published on or before the day of release. (We will usually get all of those reviews posted by late morning of that day.) For a limited release film, reviews trickle in over time as the film is added to new geographic markets. For games and albums, reviews are even less standard and will show up anywhere from one month before to three to six months after the release date.

Note that the number of reviews is listed at the top of every page, so you can tell at a glance when more reviews have been added. (Shameless Plug:) So to make sure you have the most current METASCORES, be sure to check metacritic.com often!

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Entertainment Weekly gave [MOVIE NAME] a B+; why does Metacritic list their grade as an 83?

When you tell a computer to compute the average of B+, 45, 5, and *****, it just looks at you funny and gives an error message. When you tell a computer to compute the average of 83, 45, 50, and 10, it is much, much happier. Thus, in order to make our computers happy (and calculate the METASCORES), we must convert all critics' scores to a 0-100 scale. So for the letter grade scale used by Entertainment Weekly, an A represents 100, and F corresponds to zero, with the other letters falling somewhere in between. Similarly, 4- and 5-star scales and other odd grading scales are all converted to the 0-100 scales you see displayed on each of our movie, game, TV, and music pages.

Of course, we could have performed this conversion behind the scenes, and displayed the original grades on our movie, game, TV and music pages; however, we also wanted to provide you with an easy way to compare the individual critic scores against one another. It is much easier to tell the difference between an 80, a 60, and a 20 than it is to tell the difference between a B+, a $5.25, and a *. We believe that this benefit outweighs any loss in precision caused by the conversion.

And remember, if you really want to know the original grade, just click on the quote from that critic and you'll be taken to the full review.

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I read Manohla Dargis' review of [MOVIE NAME] and I swear it sounded like a 90... why did you say she gave it an 80?

Many critics include some sort of grade for the movie, album, TV show, or game they are reviewing, whether it is on a 5-star scale, a 100-point scale, a letter grade, or other mark. However, plenty of other reviewers choose not to do this. Hey, that's great... they want you to actually read their review rather than just glance at a number. (Personally, we at Metacritic like to read reviews, which is one of the reasons we include a link to every full review on our site....we want you to read them too!)

However, this does pose a problem for our METASCORE computations, which are based on numbers, not qualitative concepts like art and emotions. (If only all of life were like that!) Thus, our staff must assign a numeric score, from 0-100, to each review that is not already scored by the critic. Naturally, there is some discretion involved here, and there will be times when you disagree with the score we assigned. However, our staffers have read a lot of reviews--and we mean a lot--and thus through experience are able to maintain consistency both from film to film and from reviewer to reviewer. When you read over 200 reviews from Manohla Dargis, you begin to develop a decent idea about when she's indicating a 90 and when she's indicating an 80.

Note, however, that our staff will not attempt to assign super-exact scores like 87 or 43, as doing so would be impossible. Typically, we will work in increments of 10 (so a good review will get a 60, 70, 80, 90, or 100), although in some instances we may also fall halfway in-between (such as a 75).

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Hey, I AM Manohla Dargis, and you said I gave the movie an 80, when really I think it’s a 90. What gives?

Now, if you are indeed the critic who wrote the review, and disagree with one of our scores, please Let us know and we'll change it.

This does happen from time to time, and many of the critics included on this site (such as Ms. Dargis) do indeed check their reviews (as well as those of their colleagues) on metacritic.com.

Can you tell me how each of the different critics are weighted in your formula?

Absolutely not.

Which critics and publications are included in your calculations?

Several times each year, we will reevaluate our publication lists and may make additions and/or deletions.

Movies Games
Arizona Republic
The A.V. Club
Austin Chronicle
Boston Globe
Charlotte Observer
Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Tribune
Christian Science Monitor
CineView
The Dissolve
Empire
Entertainment Weekly
Film.com
The Guardian
HitFix
The Hollywood Reporter
Indiewire
Los Angeles Times
Miami Herald
Movie Nation
New Orleans Times-Picayune
New York Daily News
New York Magazine
New York Post
New York Times
The New Yorker
New York Observer
NPR
Philadelphia Inquirer
Portland Oregonian
The Playlist
ReelViews
Rolling Stone
Salon.com
San Francisco Chronicle
Slant Magazine
Slate
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Tampa Bay Times
The Telegraph
Time
Time Out London
Time Out New York
Toronto Globe and Mail
Total Film
USA Today
Variety
Village Voice
Wall Street Journal
Washington Post
The Wrap

148Apps
3DJuegos
4Players.de
ActionTrip
Adventure Gamers
Apple'N'Apps
AppSpy
Arcade Sushi (iOS Only)
AusGamers
Canadian Online Gamers
CD-Action*
Cheat Code Central
Cubed3
D+Pad Magazine
Dark Zero
Darkstation
Destructoid
Digital Chumps
The Digital Fix
Digital Spy
Digitally Downloaded
EDGE Magazine
EGM
Eurogamer
Eurogamer Germany
Eurogamer Italy
Eurogamer Portugal
Eurogamer Spain
Everyeye.it
FNintendo
GameFront
Game Informer
Game Over Online
Game Revolution
Gameblog.fr
GameCritics
GameOver.gr
Gameplanet
Gamer.nl
Gamer.no
Gamers' Temple
Gamestyle
Games Master UK*
Games.cz
GamesBeat
GameSpot
GameStar
GamesRadar
Gamereactor Denmark
Gamereactor Sweden
GamesTM*
GameTrailers
Gamezebo (iOS only)
Gaming Age
Gaming Nexus
Gaming Trend
Giant Bomb
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
God is a Geek
Grab It Magazine*
GRYOnline.pl
Guardian
Hardcore Gamer
Hooked Gamers
Hyper Magazine
IGN
IGN Italia
IncGamers
ImpulseGamer
InsideGamer.nl
JeuxActu
Joystiq
LaPS3
Lazygamer
LEVEL (Czech Republic)*
Level7.nu
LevelUp
Machinima
MacLife
Meristation
Merlin'in Kazanı (Turkey)
Metro GameCentral
MMORPG.com
MondoXbox
Multiplayer.it
Nintendojo
Nintendo Life
NintendoWorldReport
NowGamer
NZGamer
Official Nintendo Magazine UK
Official Xbox Magazine UK
Official Xbox Magazine
PC Gamer*
PC Gamer UK*
PC Games (Germany)
PC PowerPlay
PCGamesN
Pelit (Finland)
Playstation: Official Magazine AU*
Playstation: Official Magazine Italia*
Playstation: Official Magazine UK
Play UK*
PlayStation LifeStyle
Playstation Universe
Pocket Gamer UK
Polygon
Post Arcade (National Post)
PSX Extreme
PSX-Sense.nl
Push Square
Quarter to Three
RiotPixels
RPGamer
RPG Fan
Shacknews
TheSixthAxis (PS3/PSP/Vita only)
Slant Magazine
Slide To Play
SpazioGames
Strategy Informer
Telegraph
Ten Ton Hammer
The Escapist
Thunderbolt
Toronto Sun
Touch Arcade
USgamer
Vandal Online
VideoGamer
Wii Brasil
Worth Playing
X-One Magazine UK
Xbox360Achievements
XGN
ZTGD

Music
The 405
All Music Guide
Absolute Punk
Alternative Press*
American Songwriter
Austin Chronicle
Billboard
Blurt
Boston Globe
Chicago Tribune
Clash Music
Classic Rock*
CMJ
Cokemachineglow.com
Consequence of Sound
Country Weekly
Delusions of Adequacy
DJ Booth
Drowned In Sound
Dusted Magazine
Entertainment Weekly
Exclaim
Fact Magazine (UK)
The Fly (UK)
Filter*
The Guardian
HipHopDX
The Independent (UK)
Kerrang!*
The Line of Best Fit
Los Angeles Times
Mojo*
Mixmag
musicOMH.com
New Musical Express
New York Daily News
The New York Times
No Ripcord
NOW Magazine (Toronto)
The Observer
Okay Player
One Thirty BPM
The Onion (A.V. Club)
Paste Magazine
The Phoenix (Boston)
Pitchfork
Pop Matters
Pretty Much Amazing
Punk News.org
Q Magazine*
The Quietus
Record Collector
Resident Advisor
Revolver*
Rock Sound
Rolling Stone
Slant Magazine
The Source *
Spin*
Sputnikmusic
The Telegraph (UK)
This is Fake DIY
Tiny Mix Tapes
Uncut*
Under The Radar
Urb*
The Wire*
XLR8
XXL
Television
Boston Globe
Boston Herald
Chicago Sun-Times
Cleveland Plain Dealer
The Daily Beast
Denver Post
Detroit News
Entertainment Weekly
HitFix (Alan Sepinwall)
Hollywood Reporter
Kansas City Star
The Lincoln Journal Star
Los Angeles Times
New York Daily News
New York Magazine
New York Post
The New York Times
The New Yorker
Newark Star-Ledger
Newsday
People Magazine*
TV Guide
Philadelphia Daily News
Philadelphia Inquirer
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pop Matters
RedEye
RogerEbert.com
San Jose Mercury News
SF Chronicle
Sioux City Journal
Slant Magazine
Slate
Time
TV Guide
TV Squad (Maureen Ryan)
Uncle Barky
USA Today
Variety
Wall Street Journal
Washington Post
The Wrap
Zap2It

 

* denotes print-only publication (with limited or no web-accessible reviews)

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Why don't you have 97 reviews for every movie like those other websites do?

Several other websites that provide links to movie reviews have weighed the quantity vs. quality issue and come out in favor of quantity. These sites typically include links to as many reviews as there are available on the net. And lately, with every Joe Schmo posting a movie review both before and after movie releases, there are quite a few reviews for each movie (we're talking 100's of reviews for the more popular titles). True, some of these Joe Schmos--or at least the Harry Knowles--do have quality sites with useful reviews and information. But the quality of many is inconsistent at best. In addition, there is such a thing as too much information, and statistically, once we include a certain number of reviews in our calculations, adding additional reviews will not change the overall METASCORE much in one direction or another.

Thus we felt that selecting a modest number of higher-quality publications would make the pages of the site easier to read and would maximize the quality of our information.

Choosing which publications and critics to track in each genre is a trickier proposition, and it involves a careful research and study. For games and music, we work to identify publications that (1) are well-regarded in the industry and are known for quality reviews; (2) actually seem to produce quality reviews (or, if not, are so influential in the industry that they have to be included); and (3) have published a good quantity of reviews. Although we typically limited our search to domestic publications, we do include a good number of UK publications in our music calculations, since many of the artists reviewed are from Britain. We also include reviews from top publications from around the world in our games section.

We took these same characteristics into effect when selecting the publications to include in our movies and TV calculations. For movies, however, we also made a point of selecting publications from every region of the country, to ensure that local tastes would be taken into account. True, a very small number of movie publications included in our site probably might not have made the cut if it weren't for their geographic location; however, most of the publications included are of a high quality, and those that are not are weighted accordingly in the formula.

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Why don't you include my publication in your panel?

We are always on the lookout for new sources of quality, well-written reviews that are well regarded in the industry or among their peers. Several times throughout the year, we will re-evaulate our current group of publications and make additions and deletions to our panel if necessary. If you feel that your publication deserves inclusion among this elite group, please let us know. Remember, we are only looking for high-quality websites (or print publications).

Why can I click on some reviews to read the full review, and I can't on others?

Whenever possible, when a quote from a review appears on our site, we provide a link to read the full review. There are several reasons we may not have a link to a particular review:

  • The review comes from a print publication that does not make its reviews available online.
  • The review comes from a web site (or print publication) that does not make its archives available online.
  • The review comes from a web site that is no longer operational.

How do you determine what movies and videos to include on the site?

For theatrical releases, we create a page for virtually every new movie released each week, including limited releases and many re-releases of older films, as long as they are reviewed in at least a few of our publications. We will also feature these movies when they are released on home video formats. However, we do not currently cover straight-to-video titles (and if you are in the market for these, you probably aren't going to need to know their METASCORES).

Why does your all-time high scores list not include [MY ALL-TIME FAVORITE MOVIE THAT WAS ON THE AFI 100 GREATEST FILMS LIST AND WAS TAUGHT IN MY CINEMA CLASS AND IS ALWAYS BEING SHOWN AT THE REVIVAL HOUSE DOWN THE STREET]?

Don't worry; I'm sure your favorite movie would have a very high METASCORE if it were included in our database. Currently, our database contains virtually all films released since the beginning of 1999. Why? Because that's when we started working on Metacritic. As time and resources permit, we supplement our database with historical releases, and we now have a good selection of "older" films from throughout the 1990s and even some from the 1980s. Remember, however, that we are also limited by the fact that the further back in time we go, the less likely it will be that reviews will be available on the Internet. Thus, the all-time high (and low) scores lists will likely always skew toward more recent releases, and will be lacking some of the all-time classics of cinema. Unless, of course, you consider "Battlefield Earth" a classic.

How often is the movies section updated?

New reviews are added on a daily (and hourly) basis as they are published.

My [FAVORITE PUBLICATION] re-reviews movies when they come out on Blu-Ray or DVD. For your home video pages, do you use the original review or the video review?

We use the original review of the theatrical release. The fact that many publications re-review movies when they are released on video puzzles us. Why did a movie that scored a 50 when it was released in the theatres suddenly merit an 80 when it is out on video? Could the fact that it did so well at the box office have anything to do with it? OK, so we're not going to start suggesting anything here, except for the fact that these re-reviewed movies tend to receive different scores each time for no logical reason. Because the theatrical release reviews tend to be much more in-depth (and perhaps less influenced by other reviews and by box office stats) than the video-release reviews, we stick with the original reviews in calculating our scores.

How do you determine what albums to include on the site?

We try to include as many new releases as possible, in a variety of genres. Generally, major pop, rock, rap and alternative releases will be included. We also try to include many indie and electronic artists, as well as major releases in other categories (country, etc.). Occasionally, we will also include import-only items (generally, UK releases) if it appears that they will not be released in the United States in the foreseeable future (otherwise, we will typically wait for the U.S. release). Remember, if an album does not show up in at least 3 of the publications we use, it probably will not be included on the site.

The sheer number of music releases each year (over 30,000 unique titles per year in the U.S. alone--and that's not counting reissues, compilations, etc.), compared to movies and video games, makes it virtually impossible to cover every release; thus, our music section is more selective than our games and movie sections.

Regarding our historical coverage, our database currently goes back to the beginning of 2000, with a handful of releases from 1999. Over time, we will add additional older releases, starting with 1999 and working backwards.

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How often is your music site updated?

New reviews are added to existing albums on a daily basis. New albums are added to the site in large batches, usually several times a week.

How do you determine what games to include on the site?

We cover virtually every new game released in the United States and other English-speaking territories, as long as it is reviewed by multiple publications. This is more true for the console games than for PC and iPhone/Ipod/IPad games, where the large volume of PC and Apple games released in a given year means that there will always be some that escape publicity (and inclusion on our site).

Why won't Metacritic update the review score from a gaming publication who has changed its own score?

Metacritic only accepts the first review and first score published for a given game by a given publication. We are explicit about this policy with every new publication we agree to track. It's a critic-protection measure, instituted in 2003 after we found that many publications had been pressured to raise review scores (or de-publish reviews) to satisfy outside influences. Our policy has acted as a disincentive for these outside forces to apply that type of inappropriate pressure.

Why is the breakdown of green, yellow, and red scores different for games?

The reason for this special treatment for games has to do with the games publications themselves. Virtually all of the publications we use as sources for game reviews (a) assign scores on a 0-100 scale (or equivalent) to their reviews, and (b) are very explicit about what those scores mean. And these publications are almost unanimous in indicating that scores below 50 indicate a negative review, while it usually takes a score in the upper 70s or higher to indicate that the game is unequivocally good. This is markedly different from movies, TV or music, where a score of, say, 3 stars out of 5 (which translates to a 60 out of 100 on our site) can still indicate that a movie is worth seeing or an album is worth buying. Thus, we had to adjust our color-coding for games to account for the different meaning of games scores compared to scores for music, movies and TV.

Missing/incorrect credit information in Games Section

If I have designed, programmed, or produced a particular video or computer game in your database but I am not included on the details/credits for that game, how do I add my name? Also, if you are displaying incorrect credit information for me, how can I arrange for it to be fixed?

Metacritic shares a credits database with our sister site GameFAQs. (See Help page here.)  Please make your credit submissions directly to GameFAQs as described in detail below. The additions and changes to GameFAQS will, in turn, be reflected on Metacritic.

What to do in the following scenarios: 

1) I want to add my name to your database as a credit for one or more games.
In this case, please use the following feedback form:
http://www.gamefaqs.com/ contribute/submit_credit.php

Navigate to the proper game and submit the credit. Please only submit the form ONCE. The credit will appear after administrative review. It is not necessary to submit the credit more than once.

Keep in mind that we generally only post credits for people who took active participation in the creation of a game. We do not post credits for non-participating members such as "Quality Assurance", "Special Thanks", "CEO of Company", or anything of this nature.

2) I want to remove my name from one or more falsely credited games
In this case, please use the following feedback form:
http://www.gamefaqs.com/ contribute/report_problem.php

Navigate to the proper game and find the false credit to report it. It will be removed after administrative review.

3) It appears that there is another person with the same name as me and our credits are merged!
In this case, please use the following feedback form:
http://www.gamefaqs.com/ features/feedback/index.php? type=21

Please identify yourself, the credits that belong to you, the credits that don't, and some way to distinguish yourself from the other individual (such as a middle initial).

If the other person is not in the video game industry, GameFAQs cannot help you as we only store video game credits.

4) There is some other problem with my credits that isn't addressed above:
In this case, please use the following feedback form:
http://www.gamefaqs.com/ features/feedback/index.php? type=21

Identify yourself and explain your situation. We will attempt to help you as best as we can. Keep in mind that GameFAQs solely deals with linking a name with a credit and a game. We do not deal with profiles, biographies, or anything else that MetaCritic adds to your profile.

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How do you determine which shows to include on the site?

We attempt to include every series that airs on one of the six broadcast networks, as well as select cable series. In addition, we will include those TV movies, miniseries, live events and specials that are reviewed by a decent number of our sources.

Note that our television section launched in the fall of 2005, so we do not have any programs in our database from prior to that date.

Why do you have multiple pages for the same series?

For many of the television series covered by Metacritic, there will be one page, which lists all reviews published at the time the show first aired. (Typically, the critics will base these reviews on the pilot episode only, or perhaps the pilot plus one or two additional episodes, if these were made available to critics in advance.)

Many acclaimed series (including many of the HBO and Showtime series) will be re-reviewed by critics at the start of each season, with these additional reviews based on all or several episodes from the upcoming season. For such shows, we create a separate page on the site for each subsequent season that gets reviewed.

How can I change my user score/rating I've left for a movie/game/album/tv show, and how can I edit my user review?

Whether you've simply left a user rating or you've written a user review with a rating/score, if you'd like to change your rating/score, simply make sure that you're logged in, go to the top of the page, and find the "ratings slider". Once there, you simply drag the marker to adjust your score.

How can I edit my user review?

While logged in, the simplest way to edit your user review is to copy your existing review and paste it into the review submission box. At this point, make your changes and make sure the score on the slider is your desired score before submitting the edited review.

We will eventually upgrade the system to make it simpler to edit and delete your reviews. We'll also have a page listing your individual product "ratings" and other statistics detailing your participation history. (Currently, if you click on your username, you can view all of your user reviews, but not the bare ratings.)