OpenCritic is a new rival to Metacritic

Ben Parfitt
OpenCritic is a new rival to Metacritic

Reviews aggregation site Metacritic has a new rival in the video games space.

OpenCritic.com says it offers a more transparent scoring system than Metacritic, which still relies on a largely mysterious weighting system that assigns more importance to some scores than others.

Users will be able to decide upon which outlets they want when a game's average score is calculated. The score itself is a simple, numerical average, with all reviews considered equal.

The site also says it plans to somehow aggregate scores from outlets that do not give reviews a numerical appraisal, such as Eurogamer, RPS and Kotaku. Also displayed is the name of the author.

Gamers, critics, and developers alike have made clear their desires for a more industry-focused review aggregator,” founder Matthew Enthoven said. We hope to meet those desires by giving consumers personalized scores; humanizing the critics behind the reviews; and celebrating the games that the industry's passionate developers have worked so hard to create.

We feel that OpenCritic.com is a major step towards more focus on the overall product. 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.”

Co-founder and product developer Charles Green added: As we developed OpenCritic, we realized that it is imperative for gamers to be able to decide for themselves which publications they trusted. 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.”

There is an element of curation, however. Enthoven decides on the titles featured in the masthead, the recently reviewed section and the upcoming games section. The Hall of Fame score table is automatically generated.

Here's how the site's technical side works, as per its FAQ:

For each publication, we have three pieces of technology: an initializer that spiders across a publication and collects all their historic reviews, a listener that checks for new reviews every 10-25 minutes and alerts us when it finds one, and a snippeter that extracts the information we display on OpenCritic (such as date, author, score, etc.). So the initializer builds our historic record, the listener alerts us when there's a new review, and the snippeter prepares the review for display. One last manual check, and then the review goes live!

In the future the site also hopes to start listing Early Access scores. There aren't any current plans to incorporate user reviews as doing so would dramatically increase costs” – something that's a big issue thanks to the current lack of monetisation backing the site.

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