SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- Movies have Roger Ebert. Wine has Robert Parker. Videogames have Marc Doyle.
Mr. Doyle edits game reviews for Metacritic, a Web site he co-founded that can influence the sales of games and the stocks of videogame publishers. One company requires game publishers to pay higher royalties if they receive low scores on such sites.
But unlike conventional critics, Mr. Doyle rarely plays videogames and instead spends more time strumming his banjo. He has little interest in mingling with game makers. In July, he didn't join other game reviewers in previewing new titles at E3, a major computer and videogame trade show -- even though the event took place a few blocks from his house.