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Frequently Asked Questions

Last update: July 17, 2022

What is the playscore?

The playscore is a rating that combines aggregate critic and user review scores. It serves as a gauge of the overall reception of a video game and to help gamers decide which games to buy.

What makes the playscore different from other aggregate scores?

The playscore has four attributes that make it a better measure of the reception of a game.

  1. The playscore combines critic and gamer ratings.

    Historically, ratings used by video game aggregators like MetaCritic and OpenCritic are purely based on critic review scores.

    Only aggregating critic scores may be the norm but a consumer study published in 2016 found that user reviews affect buying decisions.[1] By combining critic and gamer scores, whatoplay offers an alternative approach to evaluating games.

  2. The playscore is specific to the platform the game is released on.

    The performance of a game can vary between devices for several reasons:

    • It may be more optimized for PCs but not consoles, or it could be designed to work best with touch devices and not with controllers.
    • There is a practice within the industry of outsourcing ports to other development studios. This, sometimes, leads to sub-par ports of otherwise good games.
    • Critics and gamers review games on the platforms they played it on. Their reviews reflect experiences on that specific device and must not be extended to others.

    To accurately aggregate reviews, scores must be attributed to their corresponding platforms. Doing otherwise is irresponsible. Hence, the multi-platform games receive separate playscores.

    GEARS 5 is a perfect example of this. It was well-received on the Xbox One with a playscore of 8.85. Meanwhile, the PC version is plagued with performance issues leading to a lower playscore of 7.13.

  3. The playscore is derived from reputable sources.

    Aggregate scores are only as good as their sources. To ensure that we only draw reviews from trustworthy sources, we impose the following criteria to our accredited publications:

    • Publishes reviews that fairly criticize games
    • has been reviewing video games for, at least, 6 months
    • reviews more than 5 games every month,
    • and uses a rating system that can be easily converted to fit our 0 to 10 score (e.g. percentage, 1 to 5, star ratings)

    Note: For transparency, we listed our accredited sources. Every three months, we audit all our sources by adding new ones or removing others and putting them in the inactive resources list.

  4. The playscore is dynamic.

    Modern games are continually updated months, even years, after launch. These updates can affect the overall gaming experience. Updates may include new features, balance updates, introduction of lootboxes, and technical improvements.

    These updates are usually followed by new reviews from gamers and, in some case, even critics will update their scores. We keep pace with these shifts in reception by keeping track of changes to scores and recalculating the playscore every 2 hours.

    A good example is Dark Souls III on PC. When it was released in April 2016, it received a playscore of 7.88, primarily due to technical issues gamers experienced. Over the years, subsequent patches fixed and improved the game leading to a higher playscore of 8.96.

How is the playscore calculated?

The algorithm that calculates the playscore follows two steps. First, it calculates two separate aggregate scores: one for critics, another for gamers. Second, it calculates the playscore by averaging the aggregate critic and gamer scores.

What are the minimum requirements for a game to receive a playscore?

PlatformMinimum Required CriticsMinimum Required Gamers
PC350
PlayStation 5350
Series X|S350
Nintendo Switch330
PlayStation 4350
Xbox One350
Android250
iOS250
Nintendo 3DS350
PlayStation Vita350
PlayStation 3350
Xbox 360350
Nintendo Wii U330

Note: The minimum requirement for each platform can change depending on available sources of reviews.

What does the color of the playscore mean?

The color is an indicator of what range the playscore of a game belongs to. It serves as a visual aid when skimming across a long list of games. There are three colors identifying three score ranges:

  • 8.0 to 10
  • 5.0 to 7.9
  • 0.0 to 4.9

How often is the playscore updated?

The algorithm calculates the playscores of all games in our database every 60 minutes. When a whatoplay user publishes a review, it's aggregated immediately and the game's playscore is adjusted in real-time.

Why don't some games have playscores?

Only games that reach the requirements receive a playscore. Those that didn't are marked “NA'', for “not applicable”. If a game only reaches the minimum count for either critic or gamer reviews, we display and label the average scores.

How often do you gather review data?

The short answer is, as often as possible. We have two ways of aggregating reviews from different sources:

  1. Manual Curation

    All critic reviews are manually checked and added by our team of data curators. This means reading the review and saving details (url, score, quote, author, etc.) into our database.

  2. Automated Data Scraping

    Keeping track of external gamer reviews is more complex. We developed hundreds of data scrapers that automatically gather reviews from various sources on the web. How often they capture new info depends on how frequently the sources are updated.

    For instance, new games are likely to receive more reviews in its first month of release; thus, they’re updated every couple of hours. Meanwhile, older games are only updated, at least, once a week.

References:

  1. The Influence of Online Consumer Reviews on the Demand for Experience Goods: The Case of Video Games.