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IGN Layoffs Good for Games Journalism?

The news that 20% of IGN’s staff were to be looking for new jobs had a ripple effect across the entertainment industry. Many shocked, some flabbergasted and a good few people out there punching the air and chuckling like a token evil villian. For its nearest competitors it either means good news, or caution of an aftershock. For independent journalism, those not bound by corporate greed and monopolisation the news will come as much welcomed news. Though we feel sorry for those that lost their jobs we’re not at all sorry for revelling in this news with a little joy.

Monopolisation is dangerous. The Murdoch behemoth; News International already has the biggest foothold in media on the entire planet. One news story or publicity piece can make or break someone’s career. In some respects one bad review of a game and it could compound its sales figures to the grave. When you’re hungry for market dominance exceptions need to be made. To seriously consider that at no point IGN has been economical with the truth would be to say that Jessica Chobot doesn’t have lovely tits. I’m not quoting direct facts but there has been, several occasions where IGN’s publication has been up for conjecture, for instance the controversy surrounding the music hub, which only featured Activision’s Guitar Hero games. In fact there are many more examples that no doubt our viewers can outline in the comments section, we tend not to reside over at the website but no doubt you’ll have your own experiences so sound off in the comments below.

The news this week can only be fruitful for independent publications. There has been a surge in popularity in specialist interest websites as many gamers are getting jaded by questionable review scores, advertising gates and blatant product placement. We only need to go back a few years back to see how bent major publications can be, for instance Gamespot letting Jeff Gerstmann go after the 6/10 score for Kane & Lynch. This is not at all surprising, PR companies and developers like to play hard ball, even when they know their titles are distinctly average or absolutely stink. If anything it’s what stands between the massive corporations and the smaller websites. Many publications like our self will not stand for attempted blackballing. We’re not interested in the monetary bribes or the back hand business practices. Why? Mostly because the very reason why sites such as ours ever started in the first place is because we felt conned as consumers by the written product of mass corporate dominance.

Bahat states, “We’re doing this to reduce costs. While we’ve been doing well — we’re profitable and our audience continues to grow — we’re still feeling the effects of the economy, and we need to make sure we can invest where there is opportunity. Over the past couple of years, we have been focusing IGN on areas where we can not only grow, but be best in the world: serving gamers online and serving advertisers looking to reach men. To do that successfully, we have to be as efficient as possible in our core businesses. The difficult actions we’re taking today get us to where we need to be.”

In the UK there is an ever growing iron arm in the likes of Future Publishing. Future Publishing currently take the same business model as News Corp in buying out smaller sites, running publication magazines to every niche available. Back in October 2009 we were invited to give media coverage of a Future Publishing event, The Golden Joystick awards. There was a notion when we left that there was an arrogant swagger about the corporation. In fact the core seminar we had with some of the editors of the Future network, was very much focused on advertising and home page takeovers by selling advertising space to promote certain games, rather than actually bespoke journalism. Of course, put two and two together and a publisher isn’t going to start an ad-campaign with a website if they know the review score is going to be poor. Catching on? In fact the more I think back to the GJA I can’t help but think that the awards (which were apparently publically voted) were manipulated in some way. Whilst I once again can’t state this as fact, is it pure co-incidence that Activision would sponsor the awards and then come out from them winning most of them? The fishiest award was the fact that Guitar Hero: World Tour won the best videogame soundtrack. It beat the likes of Fallout 3 and Mirrors Edge to the throne. All World Tour was, was a compilation of songs by established artists, hardly a merit in music composition!

Whichever way you think about the IGN layoff situation, it sends a timely reminder that not even the biggest corporations in the world are invincible. Though the 20% layoff was only considered a bullet in the armour it provides much needed motivation for those writing about games without the fear that their true impressions are influenced for the good of the company.

**Views are subject to opinion and not direct fact**

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IGN Layoffs Good for Games Journalism?7.71013
12 Comments
  • Alan Baxter
    March 18, 2024
    #1
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    Great article mate, and agree about the likes of Activision buying out awards etc

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  • Rage Greeny
    March 18, 2024
    #2
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    That sucks for those guys.

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  • Steven Taylor
    March 18, 2024
    #3
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    Very well thought out article.

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  • Lloyd12
    March 19, 2024
    #4
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    Yeah, because what games journalism really needs is more half-baked, poorly written op-ed pieces by stinky shut-ins quivering with nerd rage. We shouldn’t bother expecting these people to be professionals or anything.

    Dude, I really don’t get what you mean when you are talking about “Monopolisation.” To suggest that IGN had some kind of monopoly on games journalism is freakishly inaccurate.

    “written product of mass corporate dominance.” Please get real.

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  • Brad
    March 19, 2024
    #5
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    So does this mean Team Xbox will be officially scrapped or will it be merged into IGN’s main site?

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  • Brian Melendez
    March 19, 2024
    #6
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    Dammit, it’s really a bummer when Odiogo is not working as it has really spoiled me when it comes to articles.

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  • James Ireland
    March 19, 2024
    #7
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    Do you have any idea how big News Corp is? Go take a look at how much of a hold they have over the entertainment industry.

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  • Lloyd12
    March 19, 2024
    #8
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    Yup, they own a lot. However, they do not own Gamespot, G4, Spike, a single video game magazine, or 8 or ten other reputable outfits I could mention. There is plenty of competition and as such, IGN must deliver a high quality product.

    I’m not saying News Corp isn’t huge. Just that it’s a bit paranoid to think that they are buying up any and all competition, except you freedom fighters who run small sites. And the bottom line is I really don’t see much quality at all coming from the little guys. Because people think all it takes to be a “journalist” is to have a pulse. And that just ain’t true.

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  • Steven Taylor
    March 19, 2024
    #9
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    Congrats on the N4G.com hot story! I guess controvesy sells but you can’t ignore the facts, you’re right.

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  • James Ireland
    March 19, 2024
    #10
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    “half-baked, poorly written op-ed pieces by stinky shut-ins quivering with nerd rage.”
    A little stereotyped? I agree that a percentage of smaller sites out there compensate quality. I don’t think that is down to poor journalism, just the simple fact is unfortunately we could write reviews till the cows come home and only get maybe 400-500 views on it, yet you can go write an opinionated piece and get tens of thousands. Unfortunately it’s what people tend to read. Also for many websites we don’t have the luxury of being able to run a website 24/7. Being editor of this website, I still need to hold down a 40 hour a week job and make certain sacrifices to ensure that the website gets updated. I appreciate your comments though. There are smalller sites out there that put a considerable amount of effort into their written content. I’d like to think our review content does that, but you only need to go visit Resolution Magazine, DarkZero, This Is My Joystick to find just three UK based sites i can think off the top of my head that produce quality content.

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  • Steven Taylor
    March 19, 2024
    #11
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    I’d read an opinionated piece over a review any day and this article has opened my eyes to what future content I will create.

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  • Lloyd12
    March 20, 2024
    #12
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    “This Is My Joystick to find just three UK based sites i can think off the top of my head that produce quality content.”

    Very possibly you can, but it’s hard to deny that the web is now flooded with opinions and reviews which are completely superfluous, bad quality stuff at best and giving the whole industry a bad name at worst. The stereotype may be an exaggeration, but it exists for a reason. Those guys are out there in droves.

    I don’t have a good handle on your site, but I will admit that it appears to be more organized and high-toned than most I have visited. Even so, I’ve never had a problem with IGN and don’t care who owns it. At least when I log in there I know I’m getting a well-written, well thought out, professional review.

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