Logo of IGN Entertainment since 2009
Type of businessSubsidiary
Type of site
Available inEnglish, German, French, Hebrew, Hungarian, Serbian, Swedish, Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Polish, Greek, Romanian, Korean, Russian, Croatian, Turkish, Czech, Portuguese, Japanese, Hindi, Filipino and other Philippine dialects
Founded1996; 25 years ago (1996) (as Tom)
Headquarters625 2nd Street, 4th Floor
San Francisco, California,
United States[1]
  • Jonathan Simpson-Bint
  • Eric Marcoullier
Key people
IndustryVideo game and media journalism
  • Free
  • IGN Prime
  • Founder's Club
Current statusActive

IGN (an abbreviation of its former name Imagine Games Network) is an American video game and entertainment media website operated by IGN Entertainment Inc., a subsidiary of Ziff Davis, itself wholly owned by j2 Global. The company is located in San Francisco's SoMa district and is headed by its former editor-in-chief, Peer Schneider. The IGN website was the brainchild of media entrepreneur Chris Anderson and launched on September 29, 1996. It focuses on games, films, television, comics, technology, and other media. Originally a network of desktop websites, IGN is now also distributed on mobile platforms, console programs on the Xbox and PlayStation, FireTV, Roku, and via YouTube, Twitch, Hulu, and Snapchat.

Originally, IGN was the flagship website of IGN Entertainment, a website which owned and operated several other websites oriented towards players' interests, games, and entertainment, such as Rotten Tomatoes, GameSpy, GameStats, VE3D, TeamXbox, Vault Network, FilePlanet, and AskMen, among others. IGN was sold to publishing company Ziff Davis in February 2013 and now operates as a J2 Global subsidiary.


IGN Entertainment's former headquarters in Brisbane, California
IGN Entertainment's former headquarters in Brisbane, California

Created in September 1996 as the Imagine Games Network, the IGN content network was founded by publishing executive Jonathan Simpson-Bint and web director Eric Marcoullier[2] and began as five individual websites within Imagine Media: N64.com (later renamed ign64.com), PSXPower, Saturnworld, Next-Generation.com and Ultra Game Players Online. Imagine expanded on its owned-and-operated websites by creating an affiliate network that included a number of independent fansites such as PSX Nation.com, Sega-Saturn.com, Game Sages, and GameFAQs. In 1998, the network launched a new homepage that consolidated the individual sites as system channels under the IGN brand. The homepage exposed content from more than 30 different channels. Next-Generation and Ultra Game Players Online were not part of this consolidation; U.G.P.O. dissolved with the cancellation of the magazine, and Next-Generation was put "on hold" when Imagine decided to concentrate on launching the short-lived Daily Radar brand.

In February 1999, PC Magazine named IGN one of the hundred-best websites, alongside competitors GameSpot and CNET Gamecenter.[3] That same month, Imagine Media incorporated a spin-off that included IGN and its affiliate channels as Affiliation Networks, while Simpson-Bint remained at the former company. In September, the newly spun-out standalone internet media company, changed its name to Snowball.com. At the same time, small entertainment website The Den merged into IGN and added non-gaming content to the growing network. Snowball held an IPO in 2000, but shed most of its other properties during the dot-com bubble. IGN prevailed with growing audience numbers and a newly established subscription service called IGN Insider (later IGN Prime), which led to the shedding of the name "Snowball" and adoption of IGN Entertainment on May 10, 2002.

In June 2005, IGN reported having 24,000,000 unique visitors per month, with 4.8 million registered users through all departments of the site. IGN has been ranked among the top 500 most-visited websites according to Alexa.[4] In September 2005, IGN was acquired by Rupert Murdoch's multi-media business empire, News Corporation, for $650 million.[5] IGN celebrated its 10th anniversary on January 12, 2008.[6] IGN was headquartered in the Marina Point Parkway office park in Brisbane, California, until it relocated to a smaller office building near AT&T Park in San Francisco on March 29, 2010. On May 25, 2011, IGN sold its Direct2Drive division to Gamefly for an undisclosed amount.[7]

Acquisition of UGO, sale to Ziff Davis

In 2011, IGN Entertainment acquired its rival UGO Entertainment (owners of 1Up.com) from Hearst Corporation. Ultimately, News Corp. planned to spin off IGN Entertainment as a publicly traded company, continuing a string of divestitures for digital properties it had previously acquired (including MySpace and Photobucket).[8]

On February 4, 2013, after a failed attempt to spin off IGN as a separate company, News Corp. announced that it had sold IGN Entertainment to the publishing company Ziff Davis, which was recently acquired by J2 Global. Financial details regarding the purchase were not revealed. Prior to its acquisition by UGO, 1UP.com had previously been owned by Ziff Davis.[9] Soon after the acquisition, IGN announced that it would be laying off staff and closing GameSpy, 1UP.com, and UGO in order to focus on its flagship brands, IGN and AskMen.[10]

Subsidiaries and spin-offs

The role-playing video game interest website Vault Network was acquired by IGN in 1999.[11] GameStats, a review aggregation website, was founded by IGN in 2004. GameStats includes a "GPM" (Game Popularity Metric) rating system which incorporates an average press score and average gamer score, as well as the number of page hits for the game.[12] However, the site is no longer being updated. The Xbox interest site, TeamXbox, and the PC game website VE3D were acquired in 2003.[13][14] IGN Entertainment merged with GameSpy Industries in 2005.[15] The merger also brought the game download site FilePlanet into the IGN group; as of 2011 both FilePlanet and the GameSpy website still operate as video game-related web sites. IGN Entertainment acquired the online male lifestyle magazine AskMen in 2005.[16] In 2004, IGN acquired film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes and in 2010, sold the website to Flixster.[17] In October 2017, Humble Bundle announced that it was being acquired by IGN.[18]

Scoring systems

Original scale

A member of the IGN staff writes a review for a game and gives it a score between 0.1 and 10.0, which is assigned by increments of 0.1 and determines how much the game is recommended. The score is given according to the "individual aspects of a game, like presentation, graphics, sound, gameplay and lasting appeal". Each game is given a score in each of these categories, but the overall score for the game is an independent evaluation, not an average of the scores in each category.[19]

20-point scale

On August 3, 2010, IGN announced that the site would be changing to a new scoring scale. Instead of a 100-point scale, where games are scored in increments of 0.1, all future reviews would use a 20-point scale where games are scored in increments of 0.5. Under both systems, the maximum possible score a game can receive is 10.0. The scoring change is not retroactive: all scores on reviews written before the change will remain the same. This change also did not affect the scoring system for reader reviews.

100-point scale

On September 13, 2012, IGN revealed that as part of its new review format all future reviews would now follow a 100-point scale again, but this time without using decimals, meaning a score of 8.5 would now be an 85. Unlike the previous conversion to the 20-point scale, this latest scoring system change was retroactive and all previous IGN review scores were to be updated to follow the new system. However, despite the announcement, the article included a short addition, post-release; it stated that after much discussion, they have decided to retain the decimal point in all upcoming scores.[20]

Re-review policy

In early 2014, IGN introduced a new policy, in which a game's review score can be re-reviewed and improved, provided that continuous updates form a significant change in the game compared to how it was at launch. Examples of games that have been re-reviewed were League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, Warframe, and the pocket edition of Minecraft.[21]

10-point scale

In January 2020, IGN revealed that reviews would be reverted to a 10-point scale, from 1 to 10, finding that the finer distinction of the 100-point scale was difficult to maintain, whereas a 10-point scale would still be truthful to its reviews and would be easier to promote.[22]

IGN 'Best of' awards

See also: List of Game of the Year awards § IGN

IGN's 'Best of' is an end-of-year event to annually honor the year's best games, films, television shows and comics.[23] Winners of each award category is selected by IGN staff from a list of nominees, while readers are able to cast their own votes online to determine the 'People's Choice' award for each category.

Other sections

In 2000, Snowball.com purchased an E-federation called the Internet Wrestling Organization (IWO).[24] Since Snowball owned both IWO and IGN, IWO would go on to become IGN's first official E-Fed, even doing a column on the website. The IGN For Men section officially closed down on October 2, 2001, and is no longer updated. IGN has sites such as IGN Stars and AskMen.com that fulfil much of the function of the old IGN For Men site. IGN Wrestling met its end in early 2002 when many of the staff departed. Interviews with professional wrestling personalities and coverage of wrestling games have been folded into IGN Sports, currently headed by Jon Robinson. IGN Sci-Fi: Largely dead since 2002, this section of the site included movie news, comic book reviews, anime coverage and other associated items. It has since been discontinued. The site, SciFI.ign.com, now redirects to the recently created SciFiBrain.ign.com, which covers some of the content of the old Sci-Fi site.

In 2002, IGN launched a dedicated video game FAQs site specifically designed to host user-submitted guides.[25] This was launched following the cancellation of affiliation with GameFAQs.[citation needed] In 2004, IGN launched GameStats, which was intended to be a more unbiased rating network, as it takes in scores from every corporate-owned game rating site and averages them all into one score to give a general idea of the quality of a game. IGN also launched Direct2Drive.com in 2004. Its primary focus is selling digital downloads of full PC and Mac video games, as well as anime, comics and game guides. In 2005, IGN launched its comics site, which is devoted to not just the staple Marvel and DC titles, but also manga, graphic novels, statues and toys.

In 2006, IGN launched its television site. It provides interviews with various television celebrities, in addition to a TV schedule, TV trivia and TV news. Akin to IGN FilmForce, IGN's TV section has a variety of exclusive clips from upcoming television shows.

On May 30, 2006, IGN Dreamcast was restarted; however, none of the Dreamcast updates were posted on the main IGN webpage.

In 2007, IGN launched its anime site. It provided features on anime and manga, including trailers and free episodes. It also included reviews of manga and anime from other sections of IGN, such as IGN Comics and IGN DVD. The anime channel was dropped after IGN redesigned the site. In 2008, the IGN Retro channel was launched to mark IGN's 10th anniversary.[26] To coincide with the release of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, IGN created the Super Smash Bros. World site. On the site, people can submit their user-created stages from the game and download ones made by other people. IGN subsequently launched a similar website called GTA 'Hood on April 29, 2008, for Grand Theft Auto IV.

Along with its popular website content, IGN also publishes many different podcasts on both its website and on iTunes. Some of its podcasts include console-oriented shows like the PlayStation-focused "Podcast Beyond" and the Xbox-oriented "Podcast Unlocked", the Nintendo-oriented "Nintendo Voice Chat", and Game Scoop!, a podcast where a variety of editors discuss news and topics surrounding the video game industry.[27]

Regional websites

IGN has 28 editions in 25 languages, as of 2021.[28] The US & Canada, UK & Ireland, and Australia & New Zealand editions are operated by Ziff Davis subsidiaries, with all others being franchised publishers. Since 2006, IGN Entertainment began launching regional versions of the website for various countries and pan-regions. Initially, IGN began opening new offices outside the United States in order to support those regional websites, but later IGN began franchising its brand as a more cost-effective means of globalization, wherein it licensed various media publishers in many countries to use the IGN brand and manage regional websites on their own. Licensed regional publishers work on their own servers, albeit can link to IGN's HQ database, where they can import or translate articles, and use videos uploaded on IGN's servers that use IGN's own hosted video player.

When visiting www.ign.com from an IGN-supported region, the site automatically redirects visitors to their localized version using geolocation software, based on their countries' IP addresses. Each version of the site has a modified logo with their country's/region's respective flags near the IGN logo. However, it is still possible to access the original American website using a navigation bar above or below (depending on the regional website) the page's master template.

IGN Pro League

In 2011, IGN launched IGN Pro League, a professional e-sports circuit that ran tournaments for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, ShootMania Storm and League of Legends.[45] On March 6, 2013, only weeks prior to the event, IGN abruptly canceled the finals of IPL 6—which were to be held in Las Vegas from March 28 through 31, and discontinued the league. IGN indicated that it was no longer in a position to commit to competing with the increased number of e-sports events that were now being held.[46][47] On April 8, 2013, Blizzard Entertainment announced that it had acquired the staff and assets of the IPL from IGN; its former staff were reassigned to work on in-house e-sports productions.[48]


Accusations of plagiarism

In August 2018, the owner of YouTube channel Boomstick Gaming accused IGN reviewer Filip Miucin of plagiarizing his video review of the game Dead Cells.[49] On August 7, IGN replaced its review with a statement that its writers "take plagiarism very seriously" and were investigating the claim.[49] Later that day, IGN stated that it had found "substantial similarities" between the reviews, apologized, and announced that it had dismissed Miucin.[49] On August 10, IGN published a new review by Brandin Tyrrel, which included an editor's note apologizing again and stating that "this review (and its score) represents solely the opinion of the new reviewer".[50]

In a subsequently unlisted video,[51][52] Miucin responded that while he took "complete ownership over what happened", the similarity was not intentional.[53] Website Kotaku found similarities between Miucin's other reviews and reviews on Nintendo Life and Engadget,[54] and material posted on the games discussion forum NeoGAF.[55] On August 14, IGN announced that it would remove all of Miucin's work pending further review.[55] On April 19, 2019, Miucin admitted plagiarism and issued an apology on his YouTube channel.[56]

Retracted article supporting Palestinian aid

During the 2021 Israel–Palestine crisis, the main IGN site posted an article on May 14 urging readers to donate to charities helping Palestinian civilians such as the Palestine Children's Relief Fund and linked to relevant news reporting.[57][58] A Palestinian flag was also added besides the IGN logo.[58] Shortly after the article went up IGN Israel made statements on social media condemning the article.[59] The Palestinian flag was soon replaced with a Red Cross.[57] On May 16, the article was deleted and a statement was made on the IGN Twitter account saying that it was wrong to only highlight one side of the conflict.[58] A reposted version on South Africa-based IGN Africa was also removed.[59] On May 17, over 60 members of IGN's staff signed an open letter condemning the article's removal for going against the site's editorial freedom and policies for retracting or correcting articles, as well as the lack of communication with IGN staff.[58]

Television and films


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