#GamerGate: IGN’s Disclosure, Code Of Ethics Public Policy Coming Soon


One of the big issues currently at the forefront of the demands from consumers pushing the #GamerGate revolt is that the people who gate-keep information for the publishers should have publicly available disclosure policies and an easily identifiable code of ethics in place. In this regard, whenever something that seems shady or comes across as a potential conflict of interest, readers have a clear understanding of what’s going on and what lines may have been crossed. IGN has heard the pleas of the many and they will concede to this request.

Over on the Kotaku in Action sub-Reddit, a concerned reader wrote to IGN using their contact forum on the site. According to the poster, he wrote…

“I'm curious if maybe we can start a dialogue about ethics at some point in the future. I want to point to The Escapists Magazine, who weeks ago continued to allow discussion about GamerGate, albeit under heavy moderation, and after reading and engaging with the community agreed they've failed on some ethical points, apologized, and then reformed their Code of Ethics. Not only did this effect The Escapist, but all sites under Defy Media's umbrella. This is all really GamerGate wants.

“I've tried to look all over the IGN site to see if you guys have a Code of Ethics posted, and I'm not seeing one, even going to the Site Map. Maybe I'm missing it, so if I am could you please point me towards it? If you guys don't have one posted, what are your honest thoughts about that? Would you consider formulating one and making it visible?”

The levelheaded, down-to-Earth letter actually managed to strike a nerve in IGN’s higher-ups. In fact, the letter itself managed to get a reply from IGN’s publisher, Tal Blevins. He’s been with the company since the very early goings and has transitioned up the ladder to prominence.

Blevins replied in an e-mail message, stating…

“Like you surmised, we do have and follow an internal ethics policy, but it is not currently public. We do list items such as our re-review policy, IGN Deals standards and practices, an explanation of how we review games, etc., but we don't have a centralized place for our overall standards and practices at the moment.

“However, this is good timing on your part as this is a subject we've been talking about internally for a bit and we're already in the process of updating IGN with a permanent, public outline of our standards and practices, so look for that soon.”

This is a great time to be a discerning consumer. You’ll now have a way to determine what the ethics and disclosure policies are of certain websites. This is a very good thing and a very pro-consumer move by major gaming websites.

The Escapist, Destructoid and now IGN are making it clear that they want to wholly reshape how people view their sites and regain reader trust.

Blevins finished off his e-mail, writing…

“Thanks again for checking in and know that ethics and professionalism is something that we take very seriously at IGN. We all have a passion for the subjects we cover -- from movies to television, comics to games -- but we also understand the significance of our responsibility to IGN's readers, so we hope that comes across in our coverage.”


And just for the sake of clarity and confirmation, I reached out to Blevins to ensure that the letter was legitimate and that IGN really was following through with the new protocol for public policy regarding ethics and disclosure. Here’s what Blevins had to say.

Now it’s just a matter of keeping an eye out for when these policies get put into play. It’ll also be up to readers to keep an eye on things and make sure that the websites maintain adherence to those policies.

No matter how #GamerGate is portrayed in the media, it is having real-world effects on the way websites will operate in the future. Score a win for ethics in journalism.


OAG staff consists of writers creating content about video game and digital culture.

22 thoughts on “#GamerGate: IGN’s Disclosure, Code Of Ethics Public Policy Coming Soon

    1. I… I uh… I would have posted a comment with the Twilight Zone theme in “Dun na na na”s, but I realized I can’t. So instead…
      It really is hilarious. Just yesterday I was having a conversation with my older brother about IGN and how he solely uses it for game reviews. I woke up this morning with a text linking to this and read “HA. Told you IGN’s the best.”

  1. Sometimes the best way to be the most good is to make sure everyone else is eviler than you. IGN picked the perfect time to put this practice to motion, with these sites running around with their heads off.

    Hope there some kind of watchdog out there to make sure they stay to their code…

  2. Nice, now let’s hope other sites follow suit. But the for sure thing that would tell us some sites have not only adopted but are also following through with new ethics policies would be to give more than one side to the #gamergate argument. Until they do that, I will continue to think they are unethical. Fortunately I think IGN has not spoken poorly of #gamergate to my knowledge (or at least hasn’t done it too often), so I am willing to start reading them again.

  3. See? Why can’t Polygon, Kotaku and Gamasutra be more like IGN here? If they were, this issue would have ended ages ago. But nope. Anita and Brianna want to stick their noses into it and get attention. smh

  4. I’m glad my email is getting more exposure. I was tired of constantly trying to defend ourselves from the sites that have made their side known, and refuse to compromise. IGN showed a lot of tact when they released their letter from the editor about online harassment, and I thought they might be willing to talk. Honestly, from what they said in the original letter, part of me thought they were already talking about this internally, and getting that confirmation from Tal was great.

    My hope, is that IGN will follow suit, and display a wonderful new Standards and Practices that addresses a lot of our concerns, just like The Escapist. If their new S&P hold up, we might just see other sites who have been quiet about GamerGate follow through as well, which would just leave our main opposition in a very difficult position.

    Based on Tal’s response, I honestly think they are taking this seriously. I pointed them to The Society of Professional Journalist’s Code of Ethics, so I hope they take example from that when revising these new S&P. Time will tell, and the ball is in their court.

    1. Actually, I want to say thank you for writing that letter and posting it publicly.

      You may have single-handedly help change the course of #GamerGate’s direction. A tall order for the simple task of trying to bring honesty and integrity back to gaming.

      We of the gaming community salute you, sir.

      1. Wow. Thanks a lot. I do have to say though, from the sounds of it, IGN was taking this path regardless of my email. Whether or not I got ahold of them, they would have done this. I do think it was important to spread it though, especially now with so much drama going on, we need to get back on track about ethical reform, and having that discussion.

        I’m sort of still in touch with Tal through the email chain. I sent him a thank you, and even apologized for releasing the email without asking him if it was ok first. I told him I was simply too excited for what he had to say, and thought it needed to be shared.

        While not directly saying it was ok, he did say he’s glad to see that passion comes through.

        I sent him another email, asking a more serious question, but I won’t talk about that more until I have a response.

        Also, after going through his feed, I see a GamerGate supported informed Tal that he got doxxed, and Tal took it like a champ. He thanked the guy (the guy didn’t show he was pro or anti, but you can tell from his feed) and even said “Thanks for the heads up! Glad to know so many good folks like you are looking out!”

        He then mocked the Doxer saying to only send pizza if the guy spends for it first.

        Pretty awesome response imo.

  5. This is nice, but it could just be empty words. IGN posting an ethics policy doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll stop their unethical behavior in the background. At least they’re paying lip service to GG goals now instead of just calling us muh soggy knees virgin shitlords like usual. And when IGN pulls the bullshit we’re so familiar with we’ll be able to call them out on it based on their own supposed principles. Baby steps.

  6. I visited IGN only on occasions because my gaming go-to sites for the longest time were PC Gamer and Gamespot.I think I’ll give them a chance now.

  7. joystiq.com/ethics

    Joystiq has a publicly available code of ethics, though it’s not linked to anywhere on their site that I can see. I also contacted them regarding their stance on Kickstarter/Patreon and this was their response:

    “Since we cover Kickstarter, game products and other game criticism, our writers are not permitted to contribute to funding campaigns or Patreon programs, unless they are outside the purview of Joystiq’s regular coverage.”

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