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IGN Entertainment has been at the forefront of all things gaming since the late 1990s. Recently, News Corporation, the corporate conglomerate that has owned IGN Entertainment since 2005, has reportedly put IGN up for auction, meaning that we may need a new top-tier gaming website to fill the void if IGN goes bust.
CNET is reporting that News Corp., hopes to get around $100 million out of the deal, despite investing up to $650 million for the initial purchase back in 2005.
If IGN is no longer the number one resource for video game news and entertainment, the default would be for gamers to fall back on GameSpot, since they're comparatively just as big as IGN and caries just as much recognition and clout. However, after the Jeff Gertsmann fiasco, a lot of gamers fear the bigger websites owned by corporate entities such as CBS Interactive, News Corp or Gawker.
Still, there are a few alternatives out there that gamers can look to as a shining beacon of video game news excellence and some who even take the “journalism” part seriously. Of course, sites like VG 24/7, Giant Bomb, Co-Optimus, PlayStation Lifestyle and other niche sites that only cover small parts of the industry can't really count as adequate replacements since IGN was pretty big and replacing a site like that requires a ton of resources. Anyway, here's a quick rundown of the top sites that could move in for the kill and take over a slate IGN might leave blank.
I know, I know, they don't actually cover reviews and previews like every other site but isn't that what YouTube and the “Let's Play” revolution is for? But let's be honest, GameIndustry.biz International is one of the true legitimate video game journalism websites out there. They report the facts, they do speculative pieces based on facts, they aim to uncover the facts and they do interviews to get the facts. They're very fact-based. Despite lacking the advertorial fluff found on other websites, I think GameIndustry.biz has a good chance of moving up in the ranks thanks to high-quality content actually aimed at informing and educating the video game community at large. Yeah so they have a few sensationalized headlines now and then since they've gone international, but overall it's a great website with great content. Now some of you might question why GamaSutra or Develop aren't placed here instead, but I think that in GamaSutra's case they venture a little too far into the ludology side of gaming to attract mainstream audiences, and in Develop's case they haven't quite hit the stride of balancing informative content with a hint of blockbuster entertainment values, something that GameIndustry.biz does quite well.
This hobbyist website turned information powerhouse is a great alternative to IGN. Mobile news? They have it. Console wars? In full stride. Hardware updates? Got it covered. Industry concerns? On it like paparazzi on a stoned out celeb who forgot to wear underwear while stepping out of a limo. Blues has a great collection of content on a day-in and day-out basis (literally) and anything that even twitches in the world of electronic entertainment usually gets a nod by Blues at some point in time. The only downside to Blues is that they don't actually provide contextual depth to the postings, save for the bigger profile stories. So while you might learn a thing or two about the latest patch or trailer for a high-profile game, there are just as many news items that are simply names and links. Still, it's one of the better resources out there for gamers looking to keep up-to-date on all things gaming.
I've never really been that big of a fan of Neoseeker but you have to admit that they're consistently consistent. The news is timely, the previews and reviews are there, advertorialism is common place and they cover everything from phones to consoles and all the hardcore PC hardware in between. The layout is a bit lazy, sort of like every movie in Steven Seagal's career after the fist Under Siege, and there seems to be a general uninspired lethargy that surrounds their acclivity for mainstream recognition but hey, at least they have the content to back it up. If you're not really looking for a ton of personality to speak out to you about the kind of news and information you're looking for in the realm of video game entertainment, then Neoseeker doesn't seem to be that bad of an alternative to replace IGN. Oh yeah, and most importantly is that they appear to be scandal-free...which seems to play a big part in a little thing called integrity.
You're probably saying, “What's with all these text-based websites?! They don't have all the media content that IGN has!” Well it's true, none of the above sites have all the interviews, booth-babe-type correspondents and premium media assets that IGN seems to proudly display with a level of confidence only matched by Steven Seagal's ability to ignore his obesity and still attempt to pretend to be an action hero in DTV C-movie flicks. Joystiq, however, is moving up in the ranks, diversifying and focusing mostly on providing high quality content while trying to minimize on the advertorial effect. They were one of the first sites to embrace blog culture while leaving out the blog mentality, bringing a strong sense of credibility to their news without all the trash and Michael Bay-equivalent trollism. Instead of getting explosive news you get edutainment news, and who could really ask for more?
Rock, Paper, Shotgun
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know: They only cover PC games. So what? Rock, Paper, Shotgun has a real opportunity here if IGN really does go bust. Could you imagine if they decided to take the same quality level of coverage they give to PC titles and expand that to console and mobile games as well? Every other website out there might melt with envy just like Steven Seagal watching Van Damme perform the splits or Keanu Reeves cursing his own genetically defective beard after comparing it to the face forest on Chuck Norris. Rock, Paper, Shotgun has blasted up in popularity since debuting in 2007 and they're in a prime position to make a move and take over the big leagues for good. They're already the most well-respected gaming site out there and they give a lot of love to the indie scene, a scene that keeps core gaming alive. Now some of you might question “Why not just replace RPS with Eurogamer if RPS expands to cover everything?!” well Eurogamer does cover more content but are they as well-respected as RPS? Well, that's up for debate. It's like saying who would you be more afraid of fighting in a dark alley, Steven Seagal or Jet Li? While Steven Seagal obviously takes up more space and has much more girth, does that necessarily make him more dangerous than the younger, faster, more agile, more technically efficient Jet Li? Exactly.