Metacritic’s 36-hour User Review Policy Fights Review Bombing

Recently, review bombing games has become a common practice for people upset with the developers or publishers’ business practices and decisions. It seems Metacritic has taken action to prevent this by giving a 36-hour period between the release of games and the moment users have a chance to put up reviews. This was largely discovered when the user reviews for Ghost of Tsushima were found to be replaced by a message stating, “Please spend some time playing the game. Come back to review it starting at 12:00pm PST on July 18.”

The most recent victim of review bombing The Last of Us Part II. After leaks of a bulk of the game’s story several months ago, users were quick to flood the Metacritic user reviews for the game with negative feedback, known as review bombing, as a response to their disagreement with Naughty Dog’s direction for the game. Borderlands 2 also recently received review bombs on Steam when it was announced that Borderlands 3 would release on Epic Games Store well before it released on Steam.

These are just the most recent cases. However, it’s worth noting that according to a spokesperson from Metacritic, This decision was not made in response to review bombs or hasty feedback on any one game. “This new waiting period for user reviews… was based on data-driven research and with the input of critics and industry experts.” While this may be the case, it’s hard to believe that The Last of Us Part II didn’t have anything to do with it.

While this certainly takes action to hopefully prevent people from reviewing games too soon, the Borderlands 2 example has to do with review bombing a developer’s old game in response to news about a recent game. At the time, Steam took measures to ensure that Borderlands 2’s scores were rectified, but preventative measures have not yet been seen. Another similar scenario in the future could potentially spark more action on this side of the coin, but until then, this is a great step in the right direction for Metacritic.


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