IGN’s Standards and Practices page was recently updated following IGN’s acquisition of the digital storefront, Humble Bundle. If you visit the page you’ll notice that there’s an all new section discussing how IGN will handle Humble Bundle content, whether it be in news or reviews, and how they will have some review scores excluded from review aggregation sites if a proper disclosure cannot be included.
The policy update starts by indicating that IGN has no influence over Humble Bundle, and Humble Bundle has no influence over the IGN editorial staff…
“IGN’s editorial team sets its own priorities without regard to whether or not a game is published or promoted by Humble Bundle. Humble Bundle makes no attempt to influence coverage on IGN. “
The news about IGN purchasing Humble Bundle broke last week, where a lot of people were concerned about the influence one or the other might have on the business practice of either reporting on games or selling games.
What happens when Humble Bundle features a game extensively and IGN is reporting on it? What happens when IGN does a review for a game and it’s being sold at a discount on Humble Bundle? How are the two separated if one could influence the other, if not outright at least in an underlying way?
Well, the ethics policy update addresses that issue, stating…
“Because Humble Bundle publishes and promotes games worth covering, IGN will continue to cover Humble Bundle games when we feel it’s appropriate for our audience. All of that content will properly disclose our relationship and as much of it as possible will be produced by freelancers, particularly when it comes to reviews and non-news content that includes editorial opinion. We’ve also asked aggregate sites, like Metacritic, where we can’t ensure IGN’s disclosures will be surfaced, to exclude our review scores for Humble Bundle games”
The recusal of scores from review aggregators is an interesting move. But will it be enough to assuage the concerns of gamers who value ethics in journalism?
The move to also clarify disclosures for the relationship that IGN has with Humble Bundle should also help ease some of the concerns that gamers have about a digital storefront being aligned with a video game review outlet. However, this isn’t the first time that IGN has addressed the public when it comes to ethics in journalism.
In fact, IGN’s ethics policy is only public because #GamerGate sought out to communicate with then IGN publisher Tal Blevins, and attempt to have the policies made public. Eventually the code of ethics was made public at IGN.
It appears as if the company is at least maintaining their transparency with the public, whether people agree with their purchase of Humble Bundle or not.
(Thanks for the news tip concerned citizen)