Open Critics

A new review aggregation site, OpenCritic, launched today, promising a dedication to transparency and customization.

Metacritic, is the most commonly used site by many to get an idea of the critical reception for a piece of entertainment, is getting some competition on the gaming end. The reviews of any of the products available on the site, including games, are aggregated and then weighted based on a formula that is not known to the public.

“Gamers, critics, and developers alike have made clear their desires for a more industry-focused review aggregator,” OpenCritic founder, and Riot Games product manager, Matthew Enthoven wrote in a press release. “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.”

Aggregated scores have become so important to the industry that developer’s bonuses are sometimes tied to Metacritic, and the user reviews sections have seen developer interference and mob justice to affect the aggregate review. The Metacritic algorithm that combines scores is weighted to count some outlets more heavily than others—but their algorithm is also a secret. OpenCritic seeks to do away with all that, offering a simple average of all numerical critic scores, and including the author’s name on reviews. Users can build a custom score page selecting only from publications they trust.

Metacritic’s influence in the games industry has been a controversial topic, and Enthoven’s new project could become an interesting alternative. Though if it were to usurp Metacritic, there’s nothing to say that OpenCritic wouldn’t also become the same quality benchmark for publishers, albeit without all the mystery of a secret weighting system.

Not only that, users are able to white-list specific outlets to only see reviews from, leading to more personalised scores. OpenCritic also displays non-numerical scores, a recent trend in the media that saw giants like Eurogamer get de-listed from Metacritic.

There are over 75 outlets currently listed on it and it would be interesting to see if it does grow to eventually become the Metacritic for games. And also, if publishers will refer to its scores in the future – in place of those listed on Metacritic.

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Source: Game Revolution

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