Metacritic Gets A New Competitor

Metacritic Gets A New Competitor

Metacritic, an aggregation tool used in equal part by forum trolls and multi-billion-dollar publishers, has long dominated the review world. Now there's a new site that hopes to take its place.

Meet OpenCritic, a sleek new website that hopes to replace Metacritic as the world's most trusted game review roundup. Unlike Metacritic, OpenCritic is designed to be personalised -- you can select from a dropdown menu on the top right to filter out websites you don't trust or want to see. It's a nice-looking website, too.

Sadly, OpenCritic insists upon using review scores -- you know, those arbitrary numbers that offer zero value to readers, kill thoughtful discussion, and encourage the quantitative comparison of games that can't be compared? -- so it's hard to get too excited, even if they do include websites that don't use scores, like the one you're reading. (For Kotaku, they put our YES/NO/NOT YET, which is appreciated.)

But if you're looking for a review aggregator and you don't like the ways Metacritic affects the game industry, here's a new option.


    "tool used in equal part by forum trolls and multi-billion-dollar publishers".

    What's the difference?

    I still disagree with the idea that metacritic negatively affects the game industry. The fact that an art form is being treated like a business is what negatively affects the game industry, not metacritic or whatever other tool is used to try and quantify 'art' into something that you can take back to shareholders and investors who are trying to take these numbers seriously.

    If it didn't exist, publishers would use their own internal systems to aggregate the review data themselves.

    Gasp! A business is collecting performance metrics to set incentives for high achievers? WHAT KIND OF MONSTROUS COMPANY WOULD DO THAT?!

    (Edit: Though to be fair, it's more like, "What monstrous company would rely on an aggregate of industry consumer publications to set ill-defined standards for quality assessment instead of having a dedicated in-house and well-defined standard to work to," but that's tantamount to saying that the virtues of art can be quantified and pinned down to predictable and reliable standards as opposed to being an evocative work with emotional impact greater than the sum of its parts. Something that, y'know... history would take issue with.)

    Developers are not the only contributors to a game's financial success. Publishers have marketing departments who rather think that THEY are the primary contributors to a game's financial success, which is why major players in the industry industry are quite happy to spend literally millions on JUST marketing. The quality of the product is only a factor, and the critical public response is the best answer there is to the question, "Was it any good?" If it was good and doesn't sell, that's marketing's fault. If it's crap but sells great, that's marketing's win. Credit and blame where they're due.

    If you don't like the impact that has on studios, maybe encourage studios to have their lawyers not agree to those terms in their contract instead of resenting publishers for making use of the tools they have available to qualify those contracts.

    Last edited 02/10/15 12:26 pm

    I'd wager OpenCritic will stop using review scores when the vast majority of games publications do. They're working with what they're given. Can't really blame them for it.

    One thing in their favour is that the "How is the OpenCritic official score calculated?" question in their FAQ actually has an answer.

    I'm not sure the "simple average of all numerical reviews, provided there is at least 3" is the best algorithm to use but it is a start, and at least they're open about it.

    It seems they include non-numbered reviews too, which is great for Kotaku.

    Scoring games with numbers is essential.
    The idea that game writers can communicate accurately with text with they feel overall about a game as A representation of the whole in the most basic way possible (in combination with the text of course) , is no way near with what a score provides.
    Game writers are not that good, and at Kotaku they are not that good either.
    You take 100 people and you will get what they think the score is with text only, and there will be about a 40% variation what they think the game is worth according to the text.

    Numbers provide a clarity, that text will never have. EVER.
    There's a whole variety of readers of whole different ages, of levels of understanding and of interpretation of the writers meaning. Numbers help immensely in that regard.

    Last edited 02/10/15 3:55 pm

      This is so ridiculously misguided that I don't believe you'll even consider joining reality. You don't think that perhaps your godly ability to discern "good" writing from "bad" is in any way flawed? You couldn't possibly be one of those ignorami whom pretend to understand and consider what they read as opposed to emotionally reacting to it and think everything you disagree with is objectively "bad"? A series of words comes inherently closer to achieving clarity in a review than a number because the words grant you a perspective the number does not, that of the writer. See, the obvious issue here is that you don't get text.

      You're arguing that people should cater to the uneducated and grant the lowest common denominator preference as opposed to extending and developing our and their level of discussion, understanding of text, alternate perspectives and continued learning in favour of an unverified number that does not provide insight, explain or highlight the context of the game, the perspective or intention of the creators, the complex narrative and mechanical systems involved or the strange new features yet to be learned or understood. All numbers do in the realm of reviews is enable reactionary response, unsupportive of consideration or logic. It enables people less educated to feel secure but does not provide them with any meaningful insight. Numbers do not help people understand writing, just because you think it does, doesn't make it true. Do some research, listen in school instead of assuming whatever you feel is right. This is a joke right? I've taken obvious sarcasm seriously.... Because i've never read a stranger statement than this:

      Numbers provide a clarity, that text will never have. EVER.

        I stated clearly Numbering is essential In addition to the text, where numbers will represent a basic overall assumption of the game, that I actually mentioned earlier in the peace. And my quote of "numbers provide a clarity ...." was supportive of that earlier point.
        Oh, But don't let your reading comprehension disabilities get in the way of going on the idiotic rant.

        My last paragraph was inclusive of the wider variety of readers but you narrowed it down to the lowest common denominator - another pathetic lie. Or are you so worried that you fit into that category, that your paranoia is projecting ?

        " cater to the uneducated" is your pathetic, desperate lie of something that I don't believe, or even wrote above. Apology please.

        I finish school 20 years ago. Why assume that I'm at your age level ?
        So typical of cult of gaming bias that frequent kotaku Australia( which has many decent writers, as well as commenters, but sadly too many like yourself) . Well done, you put yourself at the top of that sad list.

        That you went off your nut, terrified at anyone contradicting your viewpoint on this issue is embarrassing for yourself. But Lying about my explanation makes it even worse.

        my opinion on what's good and bad writing is no way near having a God likability. That you would so desperately claim a ridiculous exaggeration simply betrays your immaturity.

        And then there's this horrendousness from yourself: "All numbers do in the realm of reviews is enable reactionary response, unsupportive of consideration or logic" . That viewpoint contains such a despicable condemnation of gamers is that it's truly sad. That numbers Enable, and therefore contain and force its malevolent magical powers, so to turn gamers into reactionary and illogical readers, is simply despicable.

        Your seething desperation of your self-delusional awesomeness betrays a god complex, that your accused me of.
        Who do you think you're dealing with, some high school dropout ?

        I would like an apology, but from someone as paranoid and biased as yourself, I don't expect it.

        Dude, it's clear that you have self identity issues related to gaming. When you grow up and get a bit more mature, relax more and don't be so paranoid.

        Last edited 03/10/15 6:21 am

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