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Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Masood Ali, Mar 20, 2002.
I wonder how the "Insider-only" blitz is going for them.
This is somewhat of a[nother] rant.
It's difficult to predict what sort of content will bring in subscribers. That said, all of the "winners" of the information-purchasing game have a lot in common.
There are many online RPGs, but Everquest has been marketed to death, has capably-written software [though I have friends who would disagree with me] and the server bandwidth to support a nation of gamers... at least, the potential is greater than with most other services (those still up & running).
The Wall Street Journal's online subscription service offers, among other things, access to the complete back-catalog of WSJ articles, something many professionals (with money to burn) would find an invaluable service. Some might argue [not me necessarily] that the WSJ offers something that no other online newspaper can offer -- the fact that it is the WSJ.
Playboy: many people who look for porn on the internet would probably rather just pay the darn fee and get "decent pornography" (a funny phrase) without wading through reams of obscure fetish-catering jpegs. Porn is one of the few extremely bankable industries on the web.
Now: the latest video game reviews by the IGN staff can be read for $5 a month. A meager amount, for some. Older reviews can be read for free. The multitude of game reviews on other sites can also be read for free.
Low-bandwidth surfers in particular are being asked to pay $25 a year (update: just checked) for the "latest word" from the IGN Staff, and perhaps some slow-loading screenshots and movies if they're lucky.
No matter how small the fee, if people can get a comparable service for free, they won't pay. I was looking at $3-$7 gaming magazines in the rack the other day. It struck me that some people are willing to dish out for EGM and GamePro and PC Gamer [ad.naus.], spending far more than $5 a month on average, but the idea of online content is less favorable. I think the main idea is that online text is cheap, if you get my meaning. If your friend bought a game magazine and forced you to buy your own copy to read the articles, would you protest? Text is cheap.
Maybe one day IGN will have the standing of the WSJ and be able to justify a subscription to their "insider vault". Until then, anyone know how they're doing?
I agree. The overriding problem for IGN is that they are not offering anything that can't be found elsewhere at comparable quality for free. Why should I pay $5 a month to get IGN's features/screenshots/movies/etc when I can get basically the same things from Gamespot for nothing?
Unfortunately, IGN does not have the history, standards of excellence, and exclusivity to seperate it from the legions of free sites out there.
Also, IGN grossly over-expanded earlier in its history and it is probably still over-extended: IGN Men, IGN Movies, IGN Gear, etc. to name some of their offshoots, off the top of my head. Compare to Gamespot: PC games, Video Games, Hardware, Gamespot Live, Gamebuyer. While Gamespot is tightly focused on games, IGN is all over the map. If IGN wants to be a hardcore games site, it should prune everything not games-related. In trying to cover everything (remember IGN Wrestling?), they've diluted themselves.
Personally, I never read their game reviews. They seemed immature in their rating criteria and I hardly ever agreed with their reasoning for the "scores" they posted. That said, I did frequent their Xbox forum because it was very popular. While we did have to put up with a plethora of 10-yr-old wankers and fanboys, there was still enough useful information that I found it useful.
They used to just charge for the ability to have an avatar in the forums and for access to "special reviews". Now that they charge for the use of the forum, I'll never go back. While their forum did provide a means to communicate to hella Xboxers, the forum software didn't even have a search engine! Screw that, I'll talk Xbox here and at Team Xbox Forums.
Companies are really going to try to push this pay-for-content bs, but I say the internet is still free. It always will be. It may come down to a "closed-source vs. open-source" web site war, but so be it. Like you guys have said, we won't pay when there's a comperable free alternative.
There are several problems with trying to get people to pay for content.
First of all, I would venture that most readers when IGN was free only visited the site occassionally...say once a week to check out a specific review. This audience is the least likely to fork out dough. Now, all of these eyeballs are going to other sites (such as Gamespot).
IGN and other sites that have gone to pay systems always break down amount to "it's only $5 a month!" But if the typical internet surfer visits 100 sites a month that adds up real quick...especially if they only visit each site a couple times.
I think Real has the right idea with their "SuperPass" system. This allows casual viewers to get access to the sites without having to pay a fee to each one. Much like cable...I pay a fee and get several channels, most of which I will watch occasionally, if ever. People can't afford to pay for each and every site they visit, so they'll just stop visiting sites. But with the "RealPass" they will still surf to those sites that occasionally have content of interest.
I've got no problem with paying for content, if , and this is a big if, it's worth my money.
So far, I've not signed up for IGN Insider for the very reason everyone is stating: Why should I pay for it if I can get it for free - or even better - if I am paying for a magazine subscription? I do understand the web content is a lot more timely than magazine info, but still. Heck, maybe the answer is to dump my mag subscriptions and get everything from the web. Who knows?
When the day comes that I'm convinced that IGN has something worth my $5 per month, I'd sign up that very day.
The one advantage IGN does seem to have over over the others (including Gamespot), is that their reviews of games are released in a timely fashion (usually by the day the game is released). That's not to say I would EVER pay a fee to see that information...Speaking of which, did anyone see IGN's review for Triple Play Baseball? Those of us that don't subscribe can only see the number rating...3.8/10. Ouch.
Scott, I think the reason that GameSpot's reviews are often delayed is because, like its spiritual paper version Computer Gaming World, the reviewers are required to play the entire game through until they deliver their verdict.
This may have changed, but I'm sure I read that on the site before, and doubt it's been altered if they have been following it. Personally I think that's a sign of quality and would rather wait for sharper critical analysis.
IGN I can take or leave, but soon as they start charging me for reviews, I leave. The problem with IGN is that they don't present themselves at all professionally. And there's a difference between being fun-loving and not being a dickhead while you conduct your business.
The nail in my coffin for IGN was when the Q&A and Letters columns of the PS2 section turned into such a 'let's answer loser questions with smart-ass answers' fest that they ceased producing useful information. And that tone started to very obviously carry over into the reviews.
Why pay to read something that looks like it was done by frat boys when you can read something for free that looks like it was done by journalists?
I might pay for IGN's crap if they threw in a little porn
No thanks, I'll stick with my $19.97 a year for EGM. It has all the info I need, and what I don't get from that I can get from Gamespot, or better yet, Extended Play on TechTV.
Yet American greetings.com has almost a MILLION subscribers.....
Speaking of paying, here's a beuty I just got from Yahoo:
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