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Is IGN going too far by charging for reviews?


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#1 of 30 OFFLINE   Sean Oneil

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Posted November 07 2001 - 10:23 PM

The more new game reviews I try to access on http://www.ign.com, I doubt it.

But seriously, that site already had more ads threaded through it's links than most adult sites. You can hardly click on a link anymore on IGN without being intercepted by a big full-screen ad. Considering the revenue that this site must generate in ads, I don't really think there is a need to ask for subscriptions on top of that already huge revenue stream from advertisers, simply to gain access to a game review.

It just makes me want to go get my gaming news somewhere else, or skip it altogether ...in which case I am not really interested in the gaming industry as much.

Is anyone else bothered by the idea of ign charging for game reviews?

Anyone agree with it? Reasons?

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[Edited last by Sean Oneil on November 08, 2001 at 12:26 AM]

#2 of 30 OFFLINE   Romier S

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Posted November 07 2001 - 10:37 PM

Actually Sean, those ad revenues while I'm sure are lucrative more than likley cant keep up with the bandwidth costs that site uses alone. I personally pay for insiders access because I enjoy IGN's content and their reviews. Its only 9.95 for three months and if you enjoy the site its more than worth it just to make sure they stay around. Your going to see allot of sites start these premium services just to stay afloat. Think about how many top name websites have gone bye bye in the past 2 years because of a lack of money to continue running them. Its unfortunate. I remember the good old days of the internet when it was all about all the free content you could get. I'm afraid those days are over. Those of us who have been on the internet for a good amount of years are going to have some adjusting to do. My rule of thumb is if I enjoy the site a great deal and it is one of my more frequented sites I will gladly sign up for their services. Hell if the HTF started charging I would be the first one in line giving my money if it meant the continued existence of this forum.

#3 of 30 OFFLINE   Sean Oneil

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Posted November 07 2001 - 11:02 PM

Good points, but I would say that this forum does not even come close to the revenue that a site like IGN generates. As for other sites falling away from lack of money... that is very true. Simply put, I think that there were just so many of them out there at one time that this outcome was inevitable. As is the case with Television, only so many channels (in this case websites) can really vie for the big advertising dollars. IGN is close to being the only game in town as far as what they offer, and as such they can command high prices from advertisers because they have guaranteed high exposure rates. They could be shooting themselves in the foot by charging if it turns people away, because that would cut into their ability to demand higher ad rates due to reduced site traffic. Look at it like this, HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, etc. charge for subscription and are commercial free most of the time. CBS, NBC, ABC & FOX broadcast for free, but collect big advertising dollars. But CBS, NBC, and ABC & FOX are much bigger and more profitable then any of the pay TV networks, because the advertising is where the big money is made. Anyway, my point is that since IGN is by far getting the Lion's share of advertising revenue available to video game related websites, they don't really need to charge for their services. It is kind of like a big newspaper, the advertising pays for the costs, and the subscription is really just gravy. This may not be the case for the smaller publications, but for the larger ones it is. Advertising space is EXTREMELY expensive in a high circulation/exposure medium. If you have all but cornered a market like IGN has, you can charge those extremely high advertising prices. I don't think they are hurting for cash, and since most of the other vid game sites HAVE fallen away, I think that they should be better off financially then ever. To sum it up: If IGN were a small video game site, or an ad-free video game site, then I can understand charging for subscriptions. But they are a large video game site with TONS of ads, so wether or not they need to charge for reviews is certainly debatable. [Edited last by Sean Oneil on November 08, 2001 at 01:06 AM]

#4 of 30 OFFLINE   Peter_A

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Posted November 08 2001 - 12:19 AM

Just go to gamerankings.com You get IGN's final score, but you can't read the review. Not really a big fan of IGN's reviews anymore, I think Videogamespot's are a lot more honest and realistic.

#5 of 30 OFFLINE   Romier S

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Posted November 08 2001 - 02:18 AM

I think Gamespot and IGN are both excellent for reviews. I frequent both sites daily and they are my main source for reviews and news.

I do have problems with both at times (IGN reviewers can be too lenient) but I prefer IGN in the end. Gamespot can really be extremely unfair at times IMHO and really blast some games that deserve better. They can also seem a bit robotic in their reviews. IGN I will admit aren't as stringent (as mentioned above) but there reviews are more personal and more enjoyable to read (ie less robotic). Its all a matter of personal taste in the end.

Getting back to the original subject for a moment I wanted to mention that I don't think IGN is "shooting themselves in the foot" as Sean put it. IGN does include exclusive content for those with insider access but when it comes to reviews and other general info (like game movies, news, so forth so on....) they usually post that content for public viewing about 2-3 days after. Insiders simply get first access to it. Its a good strategy in my opinion. It gives people an incentive to sign up for the Insider access but does not alienate the general public.

As a side note Gamespot just recently started their own premium service for faster downloads. Anyone who has ever downloaded anything from Gamespot knows their FTP servers are not the best out there. I think its a good move for them. Who knows in the future they may set up some type of premium service also (like I said earlier we are going to see allot more of this! Either that or more popup ads UGH!). Here is the story:
http://gamespot.com/....822862,00.html



[Edited last by Romier S on November 08, 2001 at 04:22 AM]

#6 of 30 OFFLINE   Dan Brecher

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Posted November 08 2001 - 02:48 AM

They have been VERY greedy over the Gamecube mod info. Mixed messages over the past two weeks about how to do it, then Planet Gamecube gets the scoop first. On top of this, despite him being a member on the IGN forums, IGN gives no real prize to the chap that confirmed the mod and have only made the info availble to their "insider" subscribers (though all you need do is go onto their free to use forms and chat with the decent people there to get pdf instructions, pics on how to do the mod...etc, or just head to another site like Planet Gamecube). I've been able to live with IGN despite the charges, I still get what I desire from the site despite not subscribing as an "IGN insider," and there are always other places online where you can often find the news IGN restricts to its paying users only. I wasn't too pleased to see the Final Fantasy X preview as Insider only, but it opened up a few days later. I would REALLY like to read their Rogue Leader review now however! Dan (UK) [Edited last by Dan Brecher on November 08, 2001 at 09:20 AM]

#7 of 30 OFFLINE   LarryDavenport

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Posted November 08 2001 - 09:16 AM

I was very dissapointed that IGN wants me to shell out $10 or more just so I can read a review for a game I already bought. IGN is the type of sight that should be able to survive on advertising alone.

#8 of 30 OFFLINE   Dave F

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Posted November 08 2001 - 04:09 PM

If there were no ads & scripts, I'd consider paying. But as is, no freakin' way.

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#9 of 30 OFFLINE   Chad Ferguson

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Posted November 08 2001 - 07:32 PM

I guess the next question is, is the site slowly going to become a pay to see site period? Nothing free, just pay your fee and your allowed IGN.

#10 of 30 OFFLINE   Sean Oneil

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Posted November 09 2001 - 12:20 AM

Chad, I suspect if that were to happen, it would quickly open the door for a new upstart video game website to take over the market from IGN.

#11 of 30 OFFLINE   Dan Brecher

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Posted November 09 2001 - 07:04 AM

Ugh, Luigi's Mansion review also now Insider only. At least the Tarzan videos are free to view, I REALLY want that game to be good. Dan (UK) [Edited last by Dan Brecher on November 09, 2001 at 09:05 AM]

#12 of 30 OFFLINE   Dan B

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Posted November 09 2001 - 08:54 AM

If anybody wants the details of the Luigi review, I'll be glad to give them to you. Just don't ask me to post the review, because I won't! -Dan B (USA) [Edited last by Dan B on November 09, 2001 at 11:06 AM]

#13 of 30 OFFLINE   MikeAlletto

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Posted November 09 2001 - 09:36 AM

I refuse to pay for reviews or content on the web at all. The best game review is what I think of it when I rent it or borrow it from a friend. And as far as other content, forget it. No way am I paying for a little movie showing a game taken with a camcorder that also picked up the surrounding noise and is tilted at an angle and has bad color because they were too lazy to fix it up in post production. IGN is too amatuerish to be taken seriously as far as I'm concerned.
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#14 of 30 OFFLINE   Kelley_B

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Posted November 09 2001 - 12:37 PM

Mike,

So what do you think of fan sites like mine, www.gigapowergaming.com? Are we too amatuerish? I can understand why IGN charges for content, they have become a huge site, and have a lot people working there and having to pay San Francisco rent.

I hope people get tired of places like IGN, as they will start to search for other sites and find places like mine.

Now a bit about my site, its still under a lot of work. Its hard to get companies to take you seriously also, Microsoft won't talk to us, I still haven't heard back from Nintendo, Good luck reaching Sony, I could just go on and on. Its hard getting that foot in the door, but we are trying, I welcome everyone to come take a look and offer suggestions, and please keep on coming to the site as it will only get better. We are going to E3 this year and plan to push hard to get our name out there.

#15 of 30 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted November 09 2001 - 12:47 PM

It will be a cold day in hell before I pay to get info from a website.

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#16 of 30 OFFLINE   Scott W.

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Posted November 09 2001 - 10:45 PM

Well, if IGN is that popular and can risk asking for a subscription fee for some of their services, I guess they're not going to far. There are many other places for the average J6P to get a honest, critiqued review. I don't like what IGN is doing, but oh well. Scott

#17 of 30 OFFLINE   Jeffrey Forner

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Posted November 10 2001 - 12:12 AM

When the IGN Insider service first started up last spring, they did say that other services would eventually become Indsider-only, including reviews. So this move on their part does not surprise me. I just can't believe that it took them this long to start charging for reviews. Are they going too far? I think so. It's one thing to exclusive content like movies and interviews and such, but it's another to deny readers reviews of products. Most amazing of all, they decided to make the Gamecube Modification info Insider-only, despite the fact that you could easily find it elsewhere across the Internet for free, including their own bulletin boards. Whatever. ------------------ -J.Fo "I believe you'd get your ass kicked saying something like that."
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#18 of 30 OFFLINE   Sean Oneil

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Posted November 11 2001 - 03:10 AM

Yes, you can usually always find the content that IGN is charging for, free on another website. This evening after finding that they were charging for a review of Metal Gear Solid 2, (probably going to be the biggest and most widely reviewed title this year) -I removed them from my bookmarks, and will be getting all my gaming news and reviews from other websites. [Edited last by Sean Oneil on November 11, 2001 at 05:11 AM]

#19 of 30 OFFLINE   Graeme Clark

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Posted November 11 2001 - 10:34 AM

The fact is that most sites (gaming or not) can no longer survive on advertising dollars (especially if you're only allowing banner ads). That revenue has dried up as advertisers confidence in banner ads went in the toilet. Just because you're one of the only players, or a big boy on the block doesn't mean you're getting advertisers scrambling to advertise on your site. They still want to see results, and that means clickthrus, increased traffic to their sites (with increased product purchases if applicable) and detailed statistics on who is seeing their ads. Clickthru numbers are in the tank. The industry average is below .2% (no, that's not a misplaced decimal), which is why you're seeing ads that, while annoying, are practically forcing you to at least notice them and possible pay attention. Even with those, the dollars just aren't there, and until somebody comes up with some way to keep advertisers confident, websites will have to find other forms of revenue. IGN really has to go subscription based. They have no other real alternative since they have no other source of revenue other than their website network (and Snowball's other few websites). Gamespot on the other hand has been able to avoid most of this due to backing from CNet/Ziff Davis which have other very large sites, print magazines and Television shows. It may stink to have to pay for something that you've been getting free for years, but obviously IGN is finding people are willing to pay a bit to get the extra content. If they had introduced this and nobody signed up, they would have scrapped it long ago. The fact that they are adding more content means that they have been at least somewhat successful. ------------------

#20 of 30 OFFLINE   MikeAlletto

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Posted November 11 2001 - 11:57 AM

[quote]

It may stink to have to pay for something that you've been getting free for years, but obviously IGN is finding people are willing to pay a bit to get the extra content. If they had introduced this and nobody signed up, they would have scrapped it long ago. The fact that they are adding more content means that they have been at least somewhat successful.

[quote]

Or it means they aren't making any money still and they are grasping at straws trying to find something that will force people to pay.
Michael Alletto




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