IGN gives indie game developers a free place to work

Posted by Mike Luttrell

In one of the most generous moves ever seen for independent game makers, online publishing company IGN has introduced a new initiative that will give developers free 24/7 access to their offices and facilities.

It's called IGN's Indie Open House program. Developers will get full unfettered access to IGN headquarters, including conference rooms and kitchens. In addition, they can even get time to meet with IGN editors and executives.

GameSpy, which is owned by IGN, is also going to offer free technical consultation services, and GameSpy's open development platforms will be completely accessible to the developers.

Other perks include a spot at IGN's "Demo Days" events and even a special spot at GameSpy's 2011 booth at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

If that all wasn't enough, the developers will even be eligible to receive advertising and promotions for their products among IGN's network of sites.

In an interview about this with IFC.com, IGN president Roy Bahat said, "We don't take any ownership rights in your game. There's absolutely no obligation. You're not committed to deliver anything. We respect that the creative process is unpredictable. And so, the fact that this program comes with no strings attached, is also we think a pretty special thing."

So why do it in the first place? What's in it for IGN?

"We actually care about the whole gaming ecosystem. I mean, we've got an editor who's solely focused on social games. And we've got folks who already have relationships with the indie community and cover indie titles. We believe that if we're going to be serving the audience of gamers, we got to serve the full audience of gamers," said Bahat.

Indeed, indie games have a stronger position in the market than ever before. Gamers are increasingly no longer buying one $60 game and playing it for a month. They're buying 20 $3 games and playing each of them for a week. That's a much better value proposition.

Having more content to write about gives IGN a larger lifeblood. Plus, they'll instantly get on the good side of all these developers. That's valuable enough right there.

Who knows what kind of financial burden this will be for IGN? The end result, though, is a win-win situation for gamers. And for that, IGN should be commended.