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Why IGN's Purchase of UGO, 1UP Sucks

Posted on Monday, May 2 @ 11:44:14 Eastern by

We're a pretty small operation here at Game Revolution, but we have big plans. Still, it stands to reason that we're not going to be competing with IGN overnight. It also stands to reason that 1UP will only be demolished further in the coming months. You might remember EGM's closing, 1UP's restructuring, and the purchase of 1UP by UGO. Round two is about to begin.

As owners of IGN, News Corp are looking to load the company up with more than enough talent to crush the rebel forces (read: Game Revolution) before we manage to take down the shield generator on Endor. I might be getting ahead of myself, but I think it's more than possible. Here's why:

The media conglomerate plans to spin out its IGN.com dudes-and-games site, and is bulking up in advance by acquiring Hearst’s dudes-and-games-centric UGO.com. People familiar with the companies’ operations tell me News Corp. and Hearst have been finalizing plans over the weekend, and will likely announce the merger within the next few days.

Plans to cleave off IGN.com will take longer, perhaps months. Roy Bahat, who has been running IGN for News Corp. since 2007, will run the new company.

That's All Things Digital's Peter Kafka breaking the story. Here's why I'm so confident that Game Revolution (and really, all of gaming journalism) stands to gain:

I’m told the company expects to earn more than $10 million this year on revenues of around $100 million. The idea is that IGN will be able to grow much faster if it isn’t operating inside Rupert Murdoch’s company.

This is really a key detail that belies more about the situation than what News Corp is telling its stockholders. My gut tells me that business is all about making money. My gut also tells me that Rupert Murdoch likes money. So if IGN is so profitable and capable of growing, News Corp would want to hold on to IGN and earn too. That means IGN isn't as strong as News Corp wants to make it sound.

I tend to navigate away from IGN, UGO, and (sorry!) 1UP anymore. News doesn't break on those websites. They're too big, lumbering, and slow to cover everything that happens in a day anyway. I'm not saying Game Revolution is this Gonzo journalist, hell-bent on revealing that the president of Activision is secretly all about money (you didn't hear it from me!). What I'm proposing is that IGN, UGO, and 1UP have their niche.

If you buy Madden every year, you probably like IGN. If you love being the first person to comment on a story, you probably love IGN. If you have no taste in games and like to be spoon fed 8 pages of review text that the publisher and developer wrote, you probably love IGN. If you like reading reviews that were originally written in crayon, you probably love IGN.

Unfortunately, IGN's niche is pretty fucking huge. That's something we'll have to deal with for the time being. If a company like that is bringing in $100 million, it'll be looking for a way to turn more of that into actual profits. What does this mean? 1UP will be further gutted. UGO will be gutted. IGN will probably see a few layoffs as key personal from 1UP and UGO are migrated over to replace jobs. Screenshots will now become completely hidden thanks to all the watermarks.

If you're one of those forum members at IGN who argues about whether Master Chief or Marcus Fenix would win in a fight, stop. Think about what I'm saying to you right now:

Branch out! There's a whole world wide web out there with a ton of differing opinions about games and gaming culture. Life is not based on whether the latest Zelda got a 9.8 or a 9.7. You're missing out on a ton of games IGN doesn't promote on its front page. Be the gamer you want to be, not the one they want you to be.
Tags:   IGN
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