Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
IGN is a part-free and part-subscription general gaming website. It was founded in 1995, and currently attracts 8 million unique visitors a month, and has 5 million users registered through all departments of the site (including reviews, previews, walkthroughs, codes, and other media).
IGN runs on a combination of advertising and subscriptions. IGN Insider is IGN's premium subscription service at $20/year. Insiders get benefits like the ability to disable some ads, access to Insider only forums, and can read Insider only content.
IGN originally stood for Imagine Games Network, until Imagine Media was acquired by Snowball Inc. Snowball is now known as just IGN Entertainment, thus the IGN acronym has no real meaning. There was a short time when IGN stood for the "Internet Generation Network."
In March 2004, IGN Entertainment and GameSpy Industries merged, and was briefly known for 3 months as IGN/GameSpy before formalizing their corporate name as IGN Entertainment.
In June 2004, IGN bought the popular movie review site, Rotten Tomatoes, and in February 2005 they acquired the popular download site, 3D Gamers.
IGN is also known for its active message boards. The IGN boards were created in late July 2000 as a place of videogame discussion for members of IGN.com. According to Big-boards.com, the RPG Vault Network boards are ranked #3, general IGN boards #4, and theforce.net (Star Wars special interest boards) #10. All together, the three communities have almost 200 million posts. IGN Boards contains many forums on topics ranging from the 3 major video game systems, to cell phones, to DVDs, and gear.
The IGNCB, or IGN Community Board, opened on September 11th, 2000, as the first community board on IGN. It was created for the "non-video game related content" that was beginning to appear on the video game discussion boards.
When IGN Insider was created, special Insider Boards where created for subscribers. These included boards for different systems, a multiplatform board, and a community board for general disccusion.
In February of 2002, IGN changed it so that all IGN forums required membership in its insider subscription program, including the popular IGNCB. This controversial move left a lot of loyal "regulars" unable to access the boards. The special Insider Boards were temporarily named the Asylum Boards, and later the I-Boards, which is their current name.
Due to popular demand, on March 8th, 2002 The Vestibule was created as a means of allowing non-subscribers to use the boards. It was originally intended to be a trial board, but it was frequented by both subscribers ("Insiders") and non-subscribers ("Outsiders"), and soon became the most popular board on IGN. As of 2005, the Vestibule have over 17 million total posts and hundreds of daily users. The proliferation of debatable topics such as religion, culture, and drugs makes the Vestibule one of the most accessible of the IGN forums.
Unlike many other message boards on the internet, icons must be submitted and approved in a submission thread. In these submission threads, only a limted number may be sumbmited, and eventually uploaded. In addition to the submission thread, every insider can get one icon that will be guarenteed to be uploaded if it meets the icon standards. Icons must be 80x80, under 5K, in the GIF format, and with a transparent background. Icons also can not be square, cuttoff at the top, pixelated or be "assy" in other ways. Only Insiders can use icons. Icons are called avatars on many other message boards.
As the site has evolved, several older sections of it have fallen into disuse.
Largely dead since 2002, this section of the site included movie news, comic book reviews, and other associated items. It has since fallen into disuse. It still exists at , where its front page offers, among other things, the latest news on Terminator 3.
This section closed down officially on October 2, 2001 soon after the announcement that Leah was moving on. It can be found at  but is no longer updated. It included dating advice, IGN Pranks! and other "men's interest" topics. IGN Cars, IGN Gear, and IGN FilmForce are the unofficial descendents of IGN ForMen. IGN Gear now has the (rarely updated) Pranks!.
IGN Wrestling met its end in early 2002, when many of the staffers departed. Interviews with professional wrestling personalities and coverage of wrestling games has been folded into IGN Sports, though reviews of wrestling shows and pay-per-view events have been dropped.
Criticisms of IGN
Like many popular gaming sites, IGN has its detractors. The most contentious issue is their ubiquitous advertisements. IGN was one of the first sites to use interstitials. Originally these ads were designed to show up after a set number of page links; currently, they now appear more often. Also, for a brief time, IGN's entire website was significantly changed to add Coca-Cola and McDonald's logos everywhere.
IGN has been criticized for displaying advertisements for its Insiders, who pay a yearly fee to receive added benefits. Many sites with subscriptions disable all ads for those who pay. After many complaints from Insiders, IGN gave them the option to disable the most intrusive of the ads. Banner ads, including Flash ads, are still shown to Insiders.
IGN defenders say that they should be given credit for developing a business model which allowed them to survive the dot-com crash of the late 1990s.
Another major criticism of IGN are their editors and board administrators. Some of the editors at IGN do not make any effort to visit the boards regularly to chat with IGN Insiders on gaming topics.
Another criticism is the fact that they advertise online strategy guides but some of them are unfinished. Tales Of Symphonia (a major game on the Nintendo GameCube) has not ever had its strategy guide completed.
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