A couple of days ago IGN, one of the most recognized names in games journalism and reviews, has acquired Humble Bundle. For those of you who do not know what Humble Bundle is, Humble Bundle is a digital distribution service that offers bundles of games for low prices or whatever the buyer wants to pay. Humble Bundle offers mostly indie games and all games are DRM free. The purchaser can decide how much of their purchase goes to charities. Pretty sweet deal if you ask me! Sponsored by Humble Bundle (not really).
On the surface this seems like a gigantic conflict of interest. IGN is walking a perilous tight rope and threatens its legitimacy (which is already in question) in regards to journalism and “objective” reviews. One might think that IGN may inflate scores to sell more games on Humble Bundle. I do not think this is the case. From what I can tell, IGN intends to allow Humble Bundle to operate as business as usual. The types of games found on Humble aren’t the kind IGN would normally review. I don’t think IGN will change their method of operation because of this purchase.
As of now I am not bothered by this. But I hope this doesn’t become commonplace. Game review sites getting in the business of selling games will create trust issues on a number of levels. I’ll give IGN and Humble Bundle a chance to prove this won’t be a problem. It will probably lead to more memes poking IGN.