There’s a new review aggregation site on the block, and it has its sights set on Metacritic.
OpenCritic, which launches today, has released a not-so-veiled broadside at the incumbent review aggregation powerhouse.
OpenCritic co-founder and Riot Games product manager Matthew Enthoven said the new site seeks to present aggregate scores of video games with complete transparency as to how those scores are calculated.
“Gamers, critics, and developers alike have made clear their desires for a more industry-focused review aggregator,” Enthoven said.
“We hope to meet those desires by giving consumers personalised scores; humanising the critics behind the reviews; and celebrating the games that the industry’s passionate developers have worked so hard to create.”
Part of the website’s ethos is that users get an opportunity to influence how media outlets are weighted.
“As we developed OpenCritic, we realised that it is imperative for gamers to be able to decide for themselves which publications they trusted,” said co-founder Charles Green.
“And when it came to which publications we include on the site, we wanted to make sure that anyone could verify qualifications and make their own judgments.”
Another key aspect of OpenCritic is the inclusion of sites that don’t give numerical scores, such as Eurogamer and Kotaku, into the aggregation process.
“We feel that OpenCritic.com is a major step towards more focus on the overall product,” said Enthoven.
“For consumers, it means that they can get a more complete picture of a game.
“And for the gaming press, we hope that we can make the option of dropping numerical scores more appealing and viable.”
Metacritic has become deeply entwined with the gaming industry: infamously, the bonus structure of Fallout: New Vegas developer Obsidian was tied to the game’s aggregate score, and BioShock developer Irrational Games once insisted that games created by prospective employees hold an average Metacritic rating of 85 or greater.
Recently, the methods Metacritic uses to create their aggregate scores has been under scrutiny.
The site uses a system that gives more or less weight to review scores depending on the perceived authority of the source within the media. It’s a point of contention that Metacritic does not reveal how each outlet is weighted.