The Internet Game Database offers gamers a functional and reliable game site
The Internet Game Database is an upcoming one-stop information site about games focusing on gathering, preserving and distributing knowledge about games. Niko Heikkilä, the editor-in-chief of Peli Legacy got a chance to interview the president of IGDb, Christian Frithiof about the birth, the current state and the future of this promising venture.
IGDb is due to be launched to public later this year. Make sure to catch them up on Twitter (@IGDBcom) for more news.
But what’s all the fizz and buzz behind it all, you may ask. Find out below.
IGDb has been described as the “IMDb of Games”, where did the idea and demand for a service like IGDb come from? What got you into building this?
The idea was actually hatched about 8 years ago during a lunch discussion with some friends and colleagues. We discussed how cool it would be to do a game site, but do it in our way. After that it took me about five years to get the perfect domain name for our cause.
There are many great game sites that we visit frequently, but we still feel that there is still not an ultimate game site. You often visit one site to see game trailers, and another site to read reviews etc. With IGDb we want to create the ultimate one-stop-info-spot for games. By listening and communicating with our users we believe that it can be done with time.
Also, there were rumors going around at the time about some popular game sites that their game reviews were not always honest. So we wanted to build a honest site that was controlled and maintained by it’s users, giving them the power.
We also wanted to create a site where gamers and representatives from the video game industry could meet. There are many good sites for games, and there are many good sites for the industry, but there is no good site that combines these two areas.
In sum, for us IGDb is the adventure of a life time. It started as an idea 8 years ago and now we want to see how far we can take it. That is something that has kept us awake many nights in anticipation.
“We discussed how cool it would be to do a game site, but do it in our way.”
Supposedly you know something about video games, what kind of and how long experience do the people behind IGDb have in gaming?
All of us in the team are dedicated gamers and have been for our entire lives. As a matter of fact, this is something of a pre-requisite for all members who will eventually join the team. I, for one, grew up with games starting with my friend’s Commodore C64 and ended up buying an Atari 1040 STE. Shortly after I met Sebastian, another team member, whose parents owned a computer store. We became very close friends and he taught me everything I know about PC computers. We basically lived in the computer store. From the beginning, games have always been an important part of my life.
With time we acquired some formal knowledge about games in the team as well. Jonas, our backend developer, has a degree in game development and Matti is a video game academic and researcher. Perhaps the most dedicated core gamers of the group are currently Jake and Sander, who also have some connections with the industry.
You are still in closed beta but when IGDb is finished, what benefits does it ultimately offer for business representa1tives, journalists and the gaming community?
First of all, IGDb will probably never be finished. We will always try to find new ways of making it better. But fear not, we will release it to the public as soon as we are able and keep on developing it from there.
Our vision is to build a one-stop-infospot about games where gamers easily can find information about any game, platform, game company or game professional. A non-biased and comprehensive game site where gamers are able to review and discuss games.
At the same time we want IGDb to be a bridge between gamers and the gaming industry, where both parties will be able to communicate with each other.
For the game industry we want to build valuable features which are fueled by our users. We believe our users will generate a lot of interesting statistics that we wish to deliver to the companies. That way gamers can give something back to them and in the same time contribute to even better games in the future, all by just using the site.
Regarding journalists, we want to implement features that allows them to publish articles and game reviews in an easy and professional way, with access to analytics so that they can see their audience and what kind of impact their articles had on them.
“Our vision is to build a one-stop-infospot about games where gamers easily can find information about any game, platform, game company or game professional.”
It’s a tough world to survive on your own, are you planning to co-operate with other large services (eg. Twitch, YouTube) on any level? What about big events and conferences (E3, GDC)?
From the beginning we realised that co-operation will be a key factor if we want to succeed with this project. We plan to integrate with many game services and social media that may bring value to our users, e.g. Twitch, Twitter, Facebook, Steam, Playstation Network, Xbox Live etc.
As to big events — E3, GDC, and Tokyo Game Show (yes, we welcome Asian users too!) — those are of course something we will hopefully participate soon. Yet this is not so much to attract public attention but to network with game companies in order to build them valuable features. We have already started to collaborate with some Indie companies, which has provided us with invaluable input so far. In the future we are looking to link and collaborate more closely with larger industry names.
Electronic sports have taken the gaming world by a storm, what is your opinion of that? Will IGDb feature any special section curating material for the fans of eSports?
Yes! E-sports was something that we discussed early on and want to include on IGDb. We have an awesome vision of this feature, but it will have to wait a bit as we are currently putting most of our effort on making the site’s primary features as polished as possible. Now that you mentioned it, we are indeed looking to contact major E-sports organizers interested in collaboration — so if you (the reader) are one, feel free to contact us.
Many a popular company have experimented with broadcasting livestreams for hosting Q & A sessions, talks etc. Will we be seeing any llivestreams from IGDb closer to the public launch or after it?
We have discussed of doing an AMA on Reddit once we go live, but to be honest, I’d say this is an area that we are not planning to enter. IGDb will first and foremost be a game database with the best user services and social features. However, we want to enable our users to become “rock stars” and we have plans of allowing them to integrate and broadcast their own livestreams.
Any other upcoming features you would like to reveal at this point — just to get us more hyped?
At the current stage of our development we have chosen to prioritize the polishing of those basic features that make your everyday user experience as smooth as possible. Perhaps the most important of those features is game rating, and if one upcoming feature should be revealed, that’s the extra-advanced rating system which will enable users not only to rate how good games are but also what games are like. This will one day enable users, designers, and scholars to explore all games — including forgotten jewels and exotic indie productions — and not solely the top-sellers.
All this is just the beginning. Now we are focusing on implementing social features, e.g. add friends, follow people (like your favorite game producer) etc. As well as information about game hardware and accessories. Features we want to implement in the long term include game soundtracks and try to get the rights to make them playable for our users and make demos playable from the browser. Accordingly, I’d like to invite all readers to join our final beta stage and encourage them to send their own requests for features — IGDb is a game site that we are building for your use, thus we are very open for your suggestions and wishes.
“In sum, for us IGDb is the adventure of a life time.”
This interview was originally written for Peli Legacy’s IGDb feature. If you speak Finnish, you can read the original article here. We’d like to thank Christian Frithiof of his time for interview and beta invitations given to us.