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An avid reader of IGN decided that it was time to step up to the plate and talk about disclosure and ethics. Given that IGN is the largest gaming site out there, why would it hurt to at least write them and explain why it's important to have have the code of ethics and disclosure policies made public for all readers to see? Well, in an unlikely twist of fate, IGN's publisher Tal Blevins actually responded to the concerned reader.
Sharing the story on a sub-Reddit hub Kotaku In Action, the concerned reader wrote...
“I'm curious if maybe we can start a dialogue about ethics at some point in the future. I want to point to The Escapists Magazine” … ”and after reading and engaging with the community agreed they've failed on some ethical points, apologized, and then reformed their Code of Ethics. Not only did this effect The Escapist, but all sites under Defy Media's umbrella.”
A lot of gamers simply want the games media to take responsibility; they want them to be more pro-consumer, to be more transparent with their ethics policies and to disclose certain relationships that could render an article a conflict of interests. It's not the consumers' job to police the shady deals between brand managers and journalists; it's the journalists' job to be more discerning and forthcoming about potential situations of corruption that could work against the better interests of readers, gamers and consumers.
Thankfully, IGN publisher Tal Blevins seems to at least recognize this concern and responded to the concerned reader, stating...
“We do list items such as our re-review policy, IGN Deals standards and practices, an explanation of how we review games, etc., but we don't have a centralized place for our overall standards and practices at the moment.”
This comes on the heels of other sites also altering their code of ethics, such as The Escapist, Destructoid and a partial reform of disclosure from Polygon.
The issues of disclosure and ethics have become very serious as of late, even resulting in Gamespot being more forthcoming about their disclosure policies up front in an article about The Black Glove, giving gamers a heads-up about the project and the previous affiliation the developer had with the site.
Gamespot received universal praise for making the disclosure obvious and apparent, and IGN is now following suit, with Blevins finishing up the e-mail saying...
“Thanks again for checking in and know that ethics and professionalism is something that we take very seriously at IGN. We all have a passion for the subjects we cover -- from movies to television, comics to games -- but we also understand the significance of our responsibility to IGN's readers, so we hope that comes across in our coverage.”
When asked on Twitter if the e-mail was legitimate, Tal Blevin replied “Yep”.