Last night at the reboot of the Melbourne IGDA chapter, I gave a short talk on the state of things locally and options for indie developers. The full presentation is available below, but I thought I’d make the first half – the data on metacritic scores – a bit more accessible.
Simon Carless (from here)
A more detailed breakdown of the numbers is below the fold…
The data was gathered from Metacritic for companies based in Melbourne. There were 107 games released between 2000 & 2009, with an average rating of 62.82%, a minimum of 27% and a maximum of 93%
Since 2000, the number of SKUs released has increased from 3 in 2000 & 2001 to 18 in 2009, with a peak of 20 in 2007.
The nature of these titles has changed too, with most of the growth coming in the area of porting games across multiple platforms. This has jumped from 2 titles in 2003 – 2005 to 13 in 2007 and 11 in 2009.
Broken down by platform, most of the titles shipped have been for the GBA (18), the Playstation 2 (20),and the Wii (16). Next-gen consoles are poorly represented, with only 6 titles available on Xbox 360 and 2 on Playstation 3.
Breaking down the ratings by year, reveals a downward trend of average ratings. In 2000, the average rating was 81% with a minimum of 68%, a max of 93%, and a spread of 25. In 2009, the average rating is 63%, with a minimum of 46%, a maximum of 76%, and a spread of 30.
The minimum rating is the one that has dropped most dramatically – from 68% in 2000 to 46% in 2009, with a minimum of 27% in 2007. The maximum rating overall has dropped far less, but still tends slightly downwards – from 93% in 2000 to 76% in 2009.
Splitting this into minimum and maximum ratings, both are trending downwards. In 2000, the minimum rating for a licensed title was 68% and in 2009 is 50%, with a minumum value of 35% in 2008. in 2000, the maximum rating was 93% – also the global maximum – and is 70% in 2009.
Looking at the minimum and maximum, the lower values trend downwards slightly, but are also more erratic than for licensed titles. In 2003, the minimum for an original title was 75% and in 2009 is 69, with a minimum of 38 in 2008. The maximum rating for original titles has trended slightly upwards, with a maximum of 78% in 2003 and 76% in 2009, but with an overall maximum of 84% in 2007.
So, what does all of this mean?
In the absence of other data (unit sales, profit, chart positions), it shows that in the core console & PC market, local developers have been producing more titles, but those titles have overall seen a drop in their critical reception. There are any number of factors that are contributing to this and I’m not in a position to speculate on those. What it does suggest though is that, as developers, we need to start thinking about alternatives to the current development model across all of the areas covered in my presentation – team structure, financial models, audience engagement, and creativity and innovation.