OpenCritic accuses Metacritic of ‘sourcing’ game review data

OpenCritic, an aggregation site launched in 2015 that collects and displays video game review snippets and scores from across the web, has today suggested that long-standing aggregation site Metacritic may be sourcing their data.

In an email sent to PSU, and now publicly available to read, OpenCritic’s Matthew Enthoven claims to have proof that Metacritic has began sourcing reviews from OpenCritic rather than directly from the websites where the reviews originated.

The proof, he claims, comes from the URL structure of some reviews on Metacritic, which apparently mimic those on OpenCritic. Enthoven claims that his site deliberately adds small changes to review URLs that shouldn’t appear elsewhere on the web.

Enthoven says, “If you can’t see how they copied us, we wouldn’t blame you – we make subtle, near-invisible changes to various review data to tag it using a system we call ‘horsemen’.

For example, with PCGamer’s Blood and Wine review, we added a redundant slash after With Twinfinite’s review, we capitalized the “W” and “B” in the review URL".

metacritic stealing data?

OpenCritic provides this example as possible proof of Metacritic copying their work

He continues: "We can’t detail every example as it would giveaway our tells, but these two are notable: Metacritic’s Blood and Wine page currently has these exact horsemen listed, leading us to believe that they’ve begun sourcing reviews from OpenCritic ( link, PCGamer screenshot, Twinfinite screenshot).”

In the email, Enthoven has now called for Metacritic to either credit OpenCritic as being the source of the reviews or license their API.

In a brief time period, OpenCritic has become popular with video game writers and players alike for its lack of weighting (which would give, say, a greater weight on the average than PSU) and a focus on the individual authors. Users can choose their favorite authors and see averaged scores that only reflect those authors’ opinions.

Stay tuned as we await Metacritic’s response to the accusation.