A couple of days ago, Humble Bundle (the digital distribution channel and games publisher) was acquired by IGN. Indeed, as stated by co-founder and CEO Jeffrey Rosen, the company sold to IGN because they believe IGN underatands their vision, as stated on the official blog:
We chose IGN because they really understand our vision, share our passion for games, and believe in our mission to promote awesome digital content while helping charity. I can’t think of a better partner than IGN to help Humble Bundle continue our quest.
This means that (according to the people at Humble Bundle), nothing should change here. IGN are fully on board with the idea. The service is still being run independently.
And in general, all is working as it should over at the company. That’s good for everyone if true. It’s good for Humble Bundle themselves, who get IGN’s financial and managerial support. It’s good for IGN, who get to own another great company.
Plus it’s good for the consumers too, who may get better deal as a result.
However, people are obviously very skeptical about it.
And you know what? They’re really not wrong to be.
Remember, the gaming industry has tons of examples of large companies buying out smaller ones and running them into the ground. Like EA, who’s killed dozens of studios since purchasing them. Or other large companies with similar reputations. Such as say, Activision, Square Enix or Konami.
Worse still, this pattern doesn’t stop in the gaming industry. Oh no, that’s only the tip of the iceberg here. Cause at the end of the day, most acquisitions just don’t work out very well in general.
Yeah, there are certainly exceptions to that rule. eBay buying out PayPal didn’t kill it, and Amazon’s purchase of Twitch seems to have worked out decently enough so far.
Yet those are merely the lucky ones. They’re in turn outnumbered by many cases where the buyout goes wrong. For example, you’ve got Internet Brands and everything they’ve bought. That killed WikiTravel, nearly killed vBulletin and wiped out numerous active forum communities in record time.
Then there’s the tech industry and startups. There you’ve not only got large companies buying and butchering successful companies, but companies buying them purely to hire the staff team. Or to shut down future competitors.
So it’s a common occurrence that people are (rightly) wary about in general. Add to this IGN’s questionable reputation, and you’ve got a situation that’s problematic at best, devastating at worst.
Still, it’s early days right now. And while IGN could screw things up, they haven’t done so just yet.
Let’s hope Mr Rosen is right and all goes according to plan in future!
Because a world without Humble Bundles (or with terrible ones in general) is not a world anyone in the gaming community wants.
What do you think about IGN buying Humble Bundle?