#1: Deadspin, but with a body count

IGN's very public fallout with its owners is a reckoning for corporate games media

#1: Deadspin, but with a body count

The games media is almost always upset about something, but only rarely about something that matters. This week, however, the collective press has put its internecine Twitter squabbles and Discord backbiting on hiatus, focusing instead on something that feels like a watershed moment for the profession. Over the weekend, IGN published a story expressing its rightful horror at the latest humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Gaza, stating its solidarity with, and inviting support for, the oppressed people of Palestine.

At first glance this was merely a logical evolution of the games media’s — and indeed, the game industry’s — increasing willingness to speak up for minority groups and the oppressed. Yet for IGN’s corporate owners J2 Global this was clearly a step too far. The story was deleted; after too long a silence, a craven, needlessly equivocal statement appeared; and now dozens of IGN staff around the world have published an open letter demanding the original story be republished, and summoning management to an all-hands meeting to explain itself.

There has always been an uncomfortable tension between the creative and corporate elements of every media business. One party wants to speak truth to power while the other wants its chequebook; one wants to serve its readership, while the other seeks to monetise it. Yet, as we see here, when the shit hits the fan there is never any doubt about where the real power lies.

It’s hard to see a way back from this. More likely it will be a way out. We’ve seen it before, if not on this scale: GameSpot’s Kane & Lynch scandal gave us Giant Bomb, and Deadspin’s ‘stick to sports’ edict spawned Defector. Quite what happens to IGN now is anyone’s guess, but it has at least got the global games press pulling in the same direction for once. Solidarity to them, and all those who dare to stick their head above the parapet. Feels like a good day to start a Substack, doesn’t it.


WarnerMedia’s game business — a network of 11 studios including Rocksteady, Netherrealm and TT Games — is being split up as part of a deal between parent company AT&T and Discovery.


Firm, definite, well okay-not-really-firm-or-definite confirmation arrives that Bethesa’s Starfield will be exclusive to Xbox and PC when it releases nine months too soon in 2026.


The latest firm in Epic Games’ ever-widening legal sights is Chinese company Nreal, which is plotting a US launch for its AR headset, Nreal Light, later this year. Epic reckons the name and branding are too similar to its own Unreal Engine, and wants damages and a shutdown of Nreal’s trademark application.


Devolver Digital is eyeing up a £1bn flotation before the end of the year, reports claim, continuing its transformation from anarcho-punk indie publisher into a sort of gaming version of Brewdog. Should make for a heck of a prospectus, given the state of its E3 broadcasts, if nothing else.


Microsoft will let players reserve an Xbox Series S or X in a bid to stop scalpers running the market (narrator’s voice, etc).

An emotional Naoki Yoshida welcomes back Masayoshi Soken, who carried on composing music for Final Fantasy XIV last year while undergoing chemotherapy.

Sony has patented a system that would allow users to bet cryptocurrency on esports tournaments, which will definitely a) happen and b) end well.

Mario Golf: Super Rush still looks excellent.