Metacritic uses OpenCritic data

#1
Hey everyone,

We didn’t know if we should be proud or outraged when we took a look at Metacritic this morning and saw that they had OpenCritic’s review data and information on their site.

On the positive side, we were excited to see another industry giant stand alongside companies such as Insomniac Games [1], Nvidia [2] and Telltale [3] in presenting OpenCritic as an authority. However, we’re frustrated that we did not receive recognition and have requested that they either credit OpenCritic or begin licensing our API and databases.

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 pcgamer.com. With Twinfinite’s review, we capitalized the “W” and “B” in the review URL.

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 may be sourcing reviews from OpenCritic. We've included an archive.org link and screenshots below.
You can read more here

http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1sonjhb

Small update'response from OpenCritic team member

That was fast.

What's so bizarre about the incident is that we know Metacritic has to have a working system. There are multiple publications that are unique to Metacritic and vice versa. They're decently fast with major titles (though we're still faster).

But we're also pretty sure that this can't be a fluke. We checked a lot of places, including Neogaf and reddit. We feel that the only way they got those URLs is from OpenCritic.

Since multiple people have asked, we also don't think there's any legal case, and there's nothing that would kill our momentum and drain our funds faster than a lawsuit. The exception would be if Metacritic starts deliberately circumventing new protections that we'll be launching shortly. In some sense, this statement wasn't optional: if we ever did want a case, we're required to put out statements scolding this type of behavior.

But we do think it's a scummy thing to do. We're proud of the technology and relationships we've built and really do want to make the industry better for everyone: critics, developers and gamers alike. We enjoy the competition with Metacritic but would much rather that competition result in innovation than stagnation.
 
#6
So if I'm understanding, in just a year of operation, Opencritic is so much more efficient than Metacritic at collecting reviews that now Metacritic is just pulling the reviews from them?
 

Htown

STOP SHITTING ON MY MOTHER'S HEADSTONE
#11
Forgive me for being stupid, but what data are they using?
If I understand it correctly, basically the allegation is that, instead of aggregating reviews themselves, Metacritic is taking OpenCritic's faster and more accurate data and copying it over to the Metacritic site.
 
#13
They used their links? I mean, they don't own the links as far as I'm aware.
It appears to me that they're using "weird" links that the only way you'd get them is to take them from OpenCritic. I'm not entirely sure though.

Also, I never knew there was a weighted average at metacritic.
 
#14
Instead of doing their job and going to the sites to gather the reviews, they're gathering them from OpenCritic.
What would they gain from taking data (links) from OC and risk bring outed (like they have) rather than take the data (links) from source?.

Or are they just really really lazy.
 
#17
Cross-referencing the blurbs, some of them are the same, but some of them are not. So Metacritic could be stealing those as well, but they clearly aren't stealing all of them.
 
#19
What would they gain from taking data (links) from OC and risk bring outed (like they have) rather than take the data (links) from source?.

Or are they just really really lazy.
I guess they never expected OC to police it by adding in / at the end of a URL or adding caps, formatting that doesn't affect its usability but DOES make it clear where you took it from.
 
#20
It appears to me that they're using "weird" links that the only way you'd get them is to take them from OpenCritic. I'm not entirely sure though.

Also, I never knew there was a weighted average at metacritic.
But it's taking links illegal or wrong? Butting a backslash doesn't make you own the link.

I'm just not sure what's wrong here.
 
#21
Aggregate or mass posting sites copy-pasting links is a trick old as the internet itself. Yeah, it implies some lazy, but it's not new. For anyone.

I'm not sure what those links are trying to prove, either, other than the fact that it's happened 1 time. And even then, who cares?
 

Htown

STOP SHITTING ON MY MOTHER'S HEADSTONE
#23
That's errr.... good? Or bad? Or... something?
Supposedly:

Metacritic says "I'm gonna do this thing!" Then they do it.

Open Critic says, "I'm gonna do this thing better!" Then they do it better.

Metacritic goes "shit they're doing it better", and instead of doing better, they just copy Open Critic and take the credit.
 
#26
But it's taking links illegal or wrong? Butting a backslash doesn't make you own the link.

I'm just not sure what's wrong here.
They're not claiming to own the link or the content that they've changed.

They're claiming the work they put into aggregating the reviews on their site, that Metacritic is straight copying over without credit.
 
#28
But it's taking links illegal or wrong? Butting a backslash doesn't make you own the link.

I'm just not sure what's wrong here.
I'm kinda in the same boat, these are just links we are talking about, the data is the reviews themselves, which are obviously owner by neither OC or MC.

Not saying that MC is in the right by being lazy asses and hoodwinking the links though.
 
#29
But it's taking links illegal or wrong? Butting a backslash doesn't make you own the link.

I'm just not sure what's wrong here.
If a site is going to claim to be the be-all, end-all of scoring aggregation, including being used on industry contracts to decide the 'quality' of the title, it would be nice to know they weren't taking blatant shortcuts to do their jobs.

If you start to question their 'research' method, wondering how valid their score weighting metric is might be next.
 
#32
But it's taking links illegal or wrong? Butting a backslash doesn't make you own the link.

I'm just not sure what's wrong here.
I'm sure it's not illegal, but if they were to just go to OpenCritic to grab all the links for reviews for a game and not give some sort of credit to OpenCritic for actually doing the work, that's pretty shitty.
 

Htown

STOP SHITTING ON MY MOTHER'S HEADSTONE
#35
I'm kinda in the same boat, these are just links we are talking about, the data is the reviews themselves, which are obviously owner by neither OC or MC.

Not saying that MC is in the right by being lazy asses and hoodwinking the links though.
Yes, the data is the reviews. However, metadata has its own value, and it's what Metacritic and OpenCritic both focus on.
 
#37
If metacritic think it's the most efficient way to pull data then that's a thumbs up for opencritic I guess, otherwise I'm not seeing an issue.
Believe it or not, it cost Opencritic money, time and effort to build its aggregating software. Going by their post, other companies can use it free with a credit or pay to license it. Metacritic is doing neither, they're stealing it and taking the credit.
 
#39
Hoping someone will vouch for us here... We were 3 hours faster than Metacritic this morning.
I'll vouch for Opencritic in my own small way.

I've been doing the Overwatch review thread. They have been way faster throughout the release of reviews. I actually stopped using Metacritic once I saw the speed difference.

There's a reason why Opencritic is listed above Metacritic in my thread ;)
 
#40
Ha, always enjoyable when blatant laziness and lack of common courtesy is proven. It's like when a large company uses open source code without attribution.
 
#44
If metacritic think it's the most efficient way to pull data then that's a thumbs up for opencritic I guess, otherwise I'm not seeing an issue.
Yeah, it IS pretty efficient to let other people do the work and then use it without their permission.

You'd think there would be a word for it.
 
#47
Which reminds that when I first ran into OpenCritic I assumed that it was open source and all, which is wasn't, which I found a bit weird. Metacritic would have been more accurate name but I guess that was taken.
 
#49
Do they use a webcrawler or is it just an intern that keeps checking some review site list for new reviews to upload.

Not a good look if its the former and this is whats happened...

ps3ud0 8)
 
#50
How do we know OpenCritic aren't the ones who are taking Metacritic's links?
Because we read the OP?

If what they're saying is true, and they've inserted errors/changes into the links and reviews, then it would be a simple case of them pointing out the changes. If Metacritic don't know all the changes, then Metacritic are guilty.

If they're lying, then it would be really stupid to draw attention to it as it would be easily refutable.