It’s easy to get down sometimes, when you listen to the mainstream media. Let’s face it, negativity sells. Even here on my site, we have plenty of shit like that. So, every once in awhile, it’s important to focus on our victories, or just on positivity in general. That’s what I wanted to do last night with the Gamasutra column. This column, and one more I have planned, is a continuation of that theme. The focus today is no minor thing, either. When the biggest video game website (both currently, and historically) adopts your suggested reforms, lock, stock, and barrel, that something to be proud of. 

As others have noted, IGN came out with their newly revised ethics policy right before the beginning of the year. If you’re like me, you were in too much of a boozy haze to catch any of it. The long and short of it is, they adopted the GamerGate line in almost every way possible. The embargoes issue is still a problem for me, especially since it’s so frowned upon in the music and movie industries. I can understand why video game publishers like the setup they have now, but it doesn’t server the customer. Still, this document is a huge win for our cause.

“If someone at IGN develops a relationship with an industry contact that extends beyond a professional friendship, he or she must disclose that to the editorial managers, who will determine whether or not that employee should be permitted to cover their friend’s projects. If we determine that employee can still cover the project fairly, that personal relationship will be disclosed to our users.”

That’s exactly what we’ve been asking for, IGN! Thank you. Even announcing a revised ethics policy in the first place has earned publications like The Escapist scorn from the SJW lynch mob. It seems to have hit IGN pretty hard too, as several key staff members have resigned to go on to Patreon’s greener pa$tures. Who could blame them, after seeing how Jimmy Boy Sterling cleaned up?

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As Nicolas notes below, the timing is pretty suspect:

So, we have journos who would rather resign and go make money on Patreon, rather than uphold meager ethics policies. There’s nothing too controversial in these rules…unless you’re a corrupt journo doing dirt, that is. So, good riddance to bad rubbish. IGN is going to be stronger with this ethics policy in place, regardless of why these three left. I’m happy to have put a little faith in the company recently. It seems to have been rewarded.

30 comments
  1. Excellent news for IGN, maybe with these improvements I will make the site a regular part of my browsing again.

  2. It’s crazy that IGN of all places are looking like the nice guys here. I mean, I still need to see it to believe it, but if they do actually properly enforce those new ethics policies this it really is going to be a great thing to see.
    Them “losing” Colin Moriarty is just the cherry on the sundae. Fuck that guy. Clear win for them.

    Still makes me think: Why was this so freaking hard and long to do? And why is IGN the only place to have done this? Gamergate was never asking for much. If the journalists had ignored the fabricated “harassment” BS and actually just taken a cold hard look at their ethics GG would’ve been done in minutes (and maybe a “sorry for insulting our whole readership” would’ve helped for many of them). And why was this kind of stuff NOT part of all gaming (and otherwise) journalism websites? Seems like a no-brainer.

    (note: fuck The Escapist, they still have that surprisingly stupid SJW Moviebob around)

    1. Colin’s awesome.
      So is Greg.

      If you watch them talk about these things you’ll see that they’re nowhere near Anita level or even particularly left win. Colin’s since admitted he was wrong about ME3.

    1. Or another article calling us evil misogynistic trolls waiting under bridges to attack the maidens of the internet.

  3. GamerGate will annihilate all who oppose our push for journalistic propriety.

    IGN was smart enough to spare themselves the regret.

  4. I sent them an e-mail asking about some of their policy changes (please, excuse my shitty writing skills):

    Greetings,

    I decided to write this in light of your updated ethics policy. Before I dive into it, I will say right now that I had stopped coming to IGN because of certain things I saw over time that made me dislike it here. This was a long time ago, though, and websites, just like people, can change – and it seems like this policy is a step in the right direction. Because of it and the general professionalism exhibited by your staff in the last few months, I decided to include IGN in my newsfeeds again, and this time I hope to be a more active member instead of a passive reader.

    “Except for the Publisher, the Editor-in-Chief, and senior editorial liaisons who do not review products, no member of the editorial team is ever aware of the details of a sponsorship or advertising, including amount spent, the type of advertisement, or even the identity of the sponsor.”

    While these people do not write reviews, I presume they do have behind the scene access to what was written beforehand and can adjust content (or nudge the writer towards a certain angle) in the hopes of increasing the overall quality of the piece. How is it possible to ascertain these people will not steer the piece in a direction that would benefit a company that is currently in an advertisement deal with IGN? My apologies if I misunderstood the function performed by these staff members. I’m especially unclear on the “senior editorial liaisons” responsibilities.

    “Special exceptions are sometimes made for staff who have to prep sets or have access to sets that contain branded elements or for those who participate in product giveaways, which we see as a service to our readers.”

    Do you mean a certain company that is currently signed with IGN on some advertisement deal may supply you with, for example, game codes, and the relevant staff would be told about it so they could put the giveaway in practise? Also, in this case, is the deal disclosed to the public, or is it presumed to exist by the fact it is a giveaway?

    “but, at the discretion of the editorial managers, we may accept travel and meals paid for by the companies we’re working with as long as those arrangements are relevant to the content we need to cover.”

    Will this be disclosed in the article? If so, how detailed will it be?

    “No one on the IGN content team is permitted to accept any personal gift from a publisher, developer, or PR agency in excess of $60, the cost of an average game.”

    A gift is still a gift. If said gift is the game itself, this is understandable, but if it isn’t, I can’t see it as anything but an attempt at swaying someone’s opinion. How relevant is game swag, for example, to the ability of a reviewer to review a product? Gifts, especially game related memorabilia, can increase the perceived value of a game by improving the user experience with the content. This can obviously happen from a practical point of view (example: a beautiful cloth map, a companion book with useful information, amiboos etc), but it can also play with the emotions of the reviewer by creating a lasting attachment to it. Can you say for certain someone receiving a limited editon Hatsune Miku figma wouldn’t let this influence that person’s ability to properly evaluate the game Project Diva? This is even worse if the reviewer already has some natural affinity or attachment towards the product.

    Besides, there is the problem of determining the value of an item that simply isn’t for sale. If you receive a “chainsword” or a “bolter” replica over the mail that was made internally and isn’t for sale, how do you determine it’s value to fit into this rule?

    Marketing departments love to create these one-of-a-kind swag and send it to reviewers, and let’s face it – marketers would never do something out of the goodness of their icky, black hearts. They want you to generate them clicks with clickbait or unboxing videos/articles about the items sent (sometimes delivered in cryptic fashion to further up the hype and feed the speculation machine) OR expect you to look more fondly upon their product in case of reviewing it.

    Why not simply refuse said gifts regardless of the price and either raffle them or sell it and donate the proceedings to charity (or simply donate the item to charity to save you the hassle – they can ebay it themselves)? As I said before, though, review copies are fine (at least in my opinion).

    “IGN staff may accept complimentary accounts and in-game funds that are necessary for testing game features.”

    Is it safe to assume reviewers are never paying any sort of money on anything related to the game they are reviewing, and that the costs are being covered either by IGN or the game devs / publisher themselves?

    Depending on the answer to the previous question, this may be a moot point, but will these complimentary funds be disclosed? It would be a good piece of information to us, as the perceived financial impact of spending X of your personal budget on a certain microtransaction is certainly different from using “monopoly money”. In this case, we would be able to make a fair judgement on the reviewer’s stance on the game economy and evaluate if he was able to properly transport those actions to a real life scenario. Humans are fallible, after all.

    Those are all the questions I had about the updated ethics policy. I especially like the part where you will avoid having staff members reporting on games they worked on previously or have a friendly relation with the devs (and will disclose the relationship if given the go ahead to write the article).

    I look forward to becoming a regular once again!

    PS.: My adblock is off for you guys.

  5. Everyone who left IGN is remaining as freelance, and I assume that means they have to obey the new ethics policy. Just wanted to clarify.

    1. They are likely remaining as freelance to smooth the transition of new stuff into jobs these guys were doing. Losing multiple key people at once is difficult for any company let alone one with so few like ign.

      I hope someone looks deeper into this and is able to find out if they really did get pushed out over ethics issues and allowed to tell the world they quit to save face OR if they really did quit to work on this YouTube channel. If you split their patreon incoming by 4 they are each making 80k a year just there alone not including add revenue or paid promotion. So its a tricky question that could go either way.

  6. Lol so basically these corrupt fucking losers are having to flee the the scene to try and become YouTube personalities (that the established ones are sure to shit talk to no end <3 ), while their former homes revise themselves to not be cozy nests for financially and socially incestuous trash. I like it. It seems like the SJW hate machine will probably wind down now that their star players are happily making money off incredulous retards who don't know how to fact check or do basic research into people before believing their bullshit. But muh feelz is apparently a hugely compelling argument to stupid people.

  7. I would like to point out that former Destructoid guy/new IGN hiree Max Scoville and Brian Altono (as seen in Josh’s 25 privileges video) will probably have to play by the new ethics rules. Hopefully, they won’t suck ass.

  8. That’s good to hear, but what’s the punishment if a game journo violates this new ethical policy? Suspension? Termination?

  9. Never thought IGN would strive to be one of the most honest sites in gaming media, looks like l should start visiting their site again.

  10. Are you actually suggesting that the Kinda Funny crew left IGN because they didn’t like the new privacy policy? That is hilarious, ironic, unethical journalism. Delicious. Kinda Funny has been in the works for months before this, and they already said they left because they couldn’t speak freely about certain things because of IGN’s relationship with publishers. How about Gamergate address those real problems in the industry? Or they could just get a note at the end of every article stating “the author could be friends with someone involved with this project”, which should practically be implied in the gaming industry anyway and does nothing to improve ethics.

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