Online Game Rating – History

Online Game Rating - History

Ever wondered how the online game dashboards are made? How players get their ranking? How the leaderboard is kept rolling? All the answers can be explained using one word Elo Rating. Websites like often help online game players accent their ranking and eventually be ahead of their competitors. Elo ranking is an elaborate system which evaluates a player’s performance not only by his wins or loses, but also by relative skill levels. Initially, this ranking system as developed for chess but sooner, it got adapted in multiplayer video games like football, baseball, table tennis, etc.

But how this system actually got into the mainstream? The answer lies in the history of game ratings. Before the Elo rating system, chess players used to follow the Harkness system published by Kenneth Harkness. It was a simple system which worked on a principle of win and defeat. Player rankings were elevated or dropped by the number of matches they won or lost. However, this system had a major loophole. If a middle-order player managed to win the number of matches with lower-level players, his ranking would improve significantly as compared to the top player who has given consistent performance. Former chess player and Physics professor Arpad Elo first observed this flaw and started working on a system that would have worked more elaborately.


The rating system that he came up with was precise and got adopted by many organizations. It was called the Elo system and till date is followed in many games including online multiplayer games. These online gamers now have a privilege to enhance his rating by the support of websites like; however, it was meant only for fair rating earlier.

So how does this Elo system works? Well, while playing a match two players are judged by their current rating and the match results are predicted based upon the difference in the rating. More the difference, greater the chances are for the higher-rated player to win the match. The points are deducted from the losers ranking and given to the winner. If a higher rated player takes on series of matches against lower-rated players, it is expected from him to win the matches and he then only scores few points; on the other hand, if he loses, the lower ranking player is bestowed with a large share of points from opponents points. Thus we can safely say that this system is self-correcting.


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