IGN (formerly Imagine Games Network) is an American video game and entertainment media company operated by IGN Entertainment Inc., a subsidiary of Ziff Davis and wholly owned by j2 Global. The company is located in San Francisco's SOMA district in California, United States, and is headed by its former editor-in-chief, Peer Schneider. The IGN website was the brainchild of media entrepreneur Chris Anderson and launched on September 29, 1996. It focuses on games, films, television, comics, technology, and other media. Originally a network of desktop websites, IGN is now distributed on mobile platforms, console programs on the Xbox and PlayStation, FireTV, Roku, and via YouTube, Twitch, Hulu, and Snapchat.
Originally, IGN was the flagship property of the parent company IGN Entertainment, which owned and operated several other websites oriented towards players' interests, games, and entertainment, such as Rotten Tomatoes, GameSpy, GameStats, VE3D, TeamXbox, Vault Network, FilePlanet, and AskMen, among others. IGN was sold to publishing company Ziff Davis in February 2013 and now operates as a J2 Global subsidiary.
Created in September 1996 as the Imagine Games Network, the IGN content network was founded by publishing executive Jonathan Simpson-Bint and began as five individual websites within Imagine Media: N64.com (later renamed ign64.com), PSXPower, Saturnworld, Next-Generation.com and Ultra Game Players Online. Imagine expanded on its owned-and-operated websites by creating an affiliate network that included a number of independent fansites such as PSX Nation.com, Sega-Saturn.com, Game Sages, and GameFAQs. In 1998, the network launched a new homepage that consolidated the individual sites as system channels under the IGN brand. The homepage exposed content from more than 30 different channels. Next-Generation and Ultra Game Players Online were not part of this consolidation; U.G.P.O. dissolved with the cancellation of the magazine, and Next-Generation was put "on hold" when Imagine decided to concentrate on launching the short-lived Daily Radar brand.
In February 1999, Imagine Media incorporated a spin-off that included IGN and its affiliate channels as Affiliation Networks, while Simpson-Bint remained at the former company. In September, the newly spun-out standalone internet media company, changed its name to Snowball.com. At the same time, small entertainment website The Den merged into IGN and added non-gaming content to the growing network. Snowball held an IPO in 2000, but shed most of its other properties during the dot-com bubble. IGN prevailed with growing audience numbers and a newly established subscription service called IGN Insider (later IGN Prime), which led to the shedding of the name "Snowball" and adoption of IGN Entertainment on May 10, 2002.
In June 2005, IGN reported having 24,000,000 unique visitors per month, with 4.8 million registered users through all departments of the site. IGN is ranked among the top 200 most-visited websites according to Alexa. In September 2005, IGN was acquired by Rupert Murdoch's multi-media business empire, News Corporation, for $650 million. IGN celebrated its 10th anniversary on January 12, 2008. IGN was headquartered in the Marina Point Parkway office park in Brisbane, California, until it relocated to a smaller office building near AT&T Park in San Francisco on March 29, 2010. On May 25, 2011, IGN sold its Direct2Drive division to Gamefly for an undisclosed amount.
In 2011, IGN Entertainment acquired its rival UGO Entertainment (owners of 1UP.com) from Hearst Corporation. Ultimately, News Corp. planned to spin off IGN Entertainment as a publicly traded company, continuing a string of divestitures for digital properties it had previously acquired (including MySpace and Photobucket).
On February 4, 2013, after a failed attempt to spin off IGN as a separate company, News Corp. announced that it had sold IGN Entertainment to the publishing company Ziff Davis, which was recently acquired by J2 Global. Financial details regarding the purchase were not revealed. Prior to its acquisition by UGO, 1UP.com had previously been owned by Ziff Davis. Soon after the acquisition, IGN announced that it would be laying off staff and closing GameSpy, 1UP.com, and UGO in order to focus on its flagship brands, IGN.com and AskMen.
The role-playing video game interest website Vault Network was acquired by IGN in 1999. GameStats, a review aggregation website, was founded by IGN in 2004. GameStats includes a "GPM" (Game Popularity Meter) rating system which incorporates an average press score and average gamer score, as well as the number of page hits for the game. However, the site is no longer being updated. The Xbox interest site, TeamXbox, and the PC game website VE3D were acquired in 2003. IGN Entertainment merged with GameSpy Industries in 2005. The merger also brought the game download site FilePlanet into the IGN group; as of 2011 both FilePlanet and the GameSpy website still operate as video game-related web sites. IGN Entertainment acquired the online male lifestyle magazine AskMen.com in 2005. In 2004, IGN acquired film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes and in 2010, sold the website to Flixster. In October 2017, Humble Bundle announced that it was being acquired by IGN.
A member of the IGN staff writes a review for a game and gives it a score between 0.1 and 10.0, which is assigned by increments of 0.1 and determines how much the game is recommended. The score is given according to the "individual aspects of a game, like presentation, graphics, sound, gameplay and lasting appeal." Each game is given a score in each of these categories, but the overall score for the game is an independent evaluation, not an average of the scores in each category.
On August 3, 2010, IGN announced that the site would be changing to a new scoring scale. Instead of a 100-point scale, where games are scored in increments of 0.1, all future reviews will use a 20-point scale where games are scored in increments of 0.5. Under both systems, the maximum possible score a game can receive is 10.0. The scoring change is not retroactive: all scores on reviews written before the change will remain the same. This change also does not affect the scoring system for reader reviews.
On September 13, 2012, IGN revealed that as part of their new review format all future reviews would now follow a 100-point scale again, but this time without using decimals, meaning a score of 8.5 would now be an 85. Unlike the previous conversion to the 20-point scale, this latest scoring system change will be retroactive and all previous IGN review scores will be updated to follow the new system. However, despite the announcement, the article included a short addition, post release. It stated that after much discussion, they have decided to retain the decimal point in all upcoming scores.
In early 2014, IGN introduced a new policy, in which a game's review score can be re-reviewed and improved, provided that continuous updates form a significant change in the game compared to how it was at launch. Examples of games in which they are were re-reviewed were League of Legends and the pocket edition of Minecraft.
IGN Awards was created by IGN to honor a variety of worthy actors, series, films and games. The votes are cast online as well as by IGN members.
In 2000, Snowball.com purchased an E-federation called the Internet Wrestling Organization (IWO). Since Snowball owned both IWO and IGN, IWO would go on to become IGN's first official E-Fed, even doing a column on the website. The IGN For Men section officially closed down on October 2, 2001 and is no longer updated. IGN has sites such as IGN Stars and AskMen.com that fulfill much of the function of the old IGN For Men site. IGN Wrestling met its end in early 2002, when many of the staff departed. Interviews with professional wrestling personalities and coverage of wrestling games has been folded into IGN Sports, currently headed by Jon Robinson. IGN Sci-Fi: Largely dead since 2002, this section of the site included movie news, comic book reviews, anime coverage and other associated items. It has since been discontinued. The site, SciFI.ign.com, now redirects to the recently created SciFiBrain.ign.com, which covers some of the content of the old Sci-Fi site.
In 2002, IGN launched a dedicated videogame FAQs site specifically designed to host user-submitted guides. This was launched following the cancellation of affiliation with GameFAQs. In 2004, IGN launched GameStats, which serves as a more unbiased rating network, as it takes in scores from every corporately owned game rating site and averages them all into one score to give a general idea of the quality of a game. IGN also launched Direct2Drive.com in 2004. Its primary focus is selling digital downloads of full PC and Mac video games, as well as anime, comics and game guides. In 2005, IGN launched its comics site, which is devoted to not just the staple Marvel and DC titles, but also manga, graphic novels, statues and toys.
In 2006, IGN launched its television site. It provides interviews with various television celebrities, in addition to a TV schedule, TV trivia and TV news. Akin to IGN FilmForce, IGN's TV section has a variety of exclusive clips from upcoming television shows.
On May 30, 2006, IGN Dreamcast was restarted; however, none of the Dreamcast updates were posted on the main IGN webpage.
In 2007, IGN launched its anime site. It provided features on anime and manga, including trailers and free episodes. It also included reviews of manga and anime from other sections of IGN, such as IGN Comics and IGN DVD. The anime channel was dropped after IGN redesigned the site. In 2008, the IGN Retro channel was launched to mark IGN's 10th anniversary. To coincide with the release of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, IGN created the Super Smash Bros. World site. On the site, people can submit their user created stages from the game and download ones made by other people. IGN subsequently launched a similar website called GTA 'Hood on April 29, 2008, for Grand Theft Auto IV.
Along with their popular website content, IGN also publishes many different podcasts on both their website and on iTunes. Some of their podcasts include "Podcast Beyond" which is their PlayStation podcast with Max Scoville, Marty Sliva, Brian Altano and Andrew Goldfarb. Their Xbox oriented podcast is "Podcast Unlocked" with Ryan McCaffrey, Alanah Pearce, Destin Legarie, and Marty Sliva as the hosts. Nintendo Voice Chat is IGN's Nintendo podcast, hosted by Jose Otero, accompanied by Peer Schneider and Brian Altano. Game Scoop! is another popular podcast where they discuss news and topics surrounding the video game industry with host Daemon Hatfield, regular panelist Justin Davis and a variety of other IGN editors.
www.ign.comfrom an IGN-supported region, the site automatically redirects visitors to their localized version using geolocation software, based on their countries' IP addresses. Each version of the site has a modified logo with their country's/region's respective flags near the IGN logo. However, it is still possible to access the original American website using a navigation bar on top or below (depending on regional website) the page's master template.
In 2011, IGN launched IGN Pro League, a professional e-sports circuit that ran tournaments for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, ShootMania Storm and League of Legends. On March 6, 2013, only weeks prior to the event, IGN abruptly cancelled the finals of IPL 6—which were to be held in Las Vegas from March 28 through 31, and discontinued the league. IGN indicated that it was no longer in a position to commit to competing with the increased number of e-sports events that were now being held. On April 8, 2013, Blizzard Entertainment announced that it had acquired the staff and assets of the IPL from IGN; its former staff were reassigned to work on in-house e-sports productions.