The new issue of the Susquehanna Financial Group's Video Game Journal contains an in-depth analysis of the correlation, or lack thereof, between video game review scores and the resulting performance at retail. According to the authors of the study, Jason Kraft and Chris Kwak, there is little relationship between a game's critical and commercial reception.
The survey used NPD Funworld sales data and Metacritic scores for 275 games across genres for the PlayStation 2, on the basis that it's the console with the largest install base and diversity of games.
The authors first plotted the games on a graph by review score, intending to compare the graph to a second chart which would plot the games by amount sold. The result is that "The low correlation may indicate that this random sample, which includes PS2 titles across six years and multiple genres, is the result of a failure to account for a number of other factors. Ratings may only tell part of the story."
The study, which was originally pointed to by consumer site Joystiq, then attempts to find correlations under more specific scenarios, such as with blockbuster games in the Madden
, Grand Theft Auto
, and Halo
series; within the same franchise, and within the most specific example, within sports games concerning the same sport.
However, as the authors state in their conclusion: "After going through multiple scenarios, we believe a game rating, in most cases, is not a reliable tool for predicting game sales."