We are the team behind the Internet Game Database, IGDB.com - Ask Us Anything!
We are the team behind the Internet Game Database, IGDB.com
First off, we would like to shoutout to /r/gamedev who gave us a lot of valuable feedback on how to improve the website over the last year.
We are on a mission to build the ultimate game site. We plan to achieve this by combining all relevant information about games into one spot, building smart features on top and then attracting both gamers and people from the game industry to interact with each other.
We had a Reddit thread 1 year ago when we launched, which provided us with a lot of feedback that really put us on track.
One of the biggest issues that came up was that we didn't have a free license. We have since created an API which allows developers to freely use the data, even for commercial and competing products. To this date 619 projects have access to the data. More information about that here: https://www.igdb.com/api
We recently launched a feature which allows voice actors to claim their account. They now have a video game oriented profile page which can be maintained by themselves or their agents. In the future, we will be working to support other types of professionals such as game developers and designers. More information here: https://www.igdb.com/pro_verified
Please Ask us anything!
We are still going strong answering your questions, so please keep em coming!
We are still here, keep the questions rolling.
EDIT: Thanks for a great AMA so far! Keep on asking your questions and we will answer them after some sleep :)
Ok, back in action. Let's rock!
We will always have a free version of our API, we want to be super clear about that. What we plan to do is to improve our API so you can do more with less requests (eg batch requests/specify fields), this will give more power to the developer and be perfect for mobile applications where minimal requests are important. Right now we have 619 projects using our API and it's starting to take a toll on our server due to it's current state.
When we do improve our API, and the new features are implemented on dedicated hardware, we will most likely introduce premium tiers with higher limits. Should any of our projects need more requests today, we would find a solution, most likely involving dedicated hosting.
I have a hard time seeing that we would ever ask our partner projects to give back their data. We just don't roll like that. We are looking into safe licensing models that will protect projects in cases like this.
Thanks for your kind words!
Is there a chance for a trademark dilution suit from IMDB?
We have taken precautions to ensure we are not infringing on anyone's copyright.
He asked about trademarks, however.
Sorry, our fault. We meant that we have taken precautions to ensure we are not infringing on anyone's intellectual property.
No-one asked it yet, so I will: What's your favorite videogame?
"Link to the Past" - Jonas
"Ocarina of time" - Jake
"Dota 2" - Abner
"Fallout 2" - Christian
"Battlefield 2" - Sander
So just Zelda and games with the number 2? Hmmm... interesting...
Yeah, kinda weird...
What conspiracy are you hiding? I know there's a code hidden with those games...
Two Zelda games... both about time travel of sorts. Then Fallout 2, another game set in the past... sort of... alternate history. Then there Battlefield 2, set in the modern era in an alternate timeline... then there's DOTA 2... something that I have no idea when it takes place...
So from the information I have gathered, you all play games set in alternate timelines.
I've cracked your code!
... Or 2+2+2+1+1 = 8... Our company name is 8 Dudes in a Garage... and we have a 8 pointed star as logo...
Half-Life 3 confirmed!
You forgot the words "Bad Company" in between the Battlefied and the 2 :-)
You tell em
Ha didn't realize I would upset so many people
Bad Company 2 was certainly not a bad game, but BF2 was way better :) - Sander
What, in your own opinion, is the best feature you've got in-development right now?
"Pulse (our news aggrigator), where we are working on natural language processing and machine learning." - Abner
"API 2000, the next version of our API" - Jonas
"Voice Actors Profiles, which we will later expand to everyone in the game industry" - Sander
"Our new revamped and personalised home page" - Christian/Jake
Regarding Voice Actors Profiles, do you plan on collaborating with IMDB? Because many of actors do it across multiple platforms (eg movies, games, audiobooks).
What is your opinion on IMDB?
We're open to collaborate with anyone who is willing. As we see it, we don't need to source all the data ourselves, in some cases it would be better to integrate a third party. Our voice actor profile pages will always be 100% video game related.
At present this seems to be centered on video games, are there any plans to expand to board games?
Unfortunately not within the foreseeable future. For us it is very important that we keep focusing on one area. But who knows, maybe one day...
My question is that do you include information on games that were popular in the 1990s or just the ones from 2000 and later? Also, seeing as I have never heard of this site before let alone use it, what can I expect to see on your website when I do visit there?
Our motto is "no game left behind". The earliest game we have is from 1952 called "Tennis for Two". As a user visiting IGDB for the first time, you should expect smart features on top of quality data that will help you explore, keep track and discover new games.
I searched your site for my favorite game as a youth but its missing. Lords of the realm II. You have 1 and 3 listed but those suck.
Thx! We have added it here, however it needs more info.
But the earliest entry would be the birth of Nintendo right? ;)
Ah yes! 1889, the Gandalf of game companies :)
Do you plan to add some excellent search capabilities? I love to find new games I haven't played yet, based on certain criteria like game type, genre, rating, release date, tags, multiplayer types, play time, similar to, etc. I now usually use the search in Steam for new PC games, or Co-optimus for coop games, but both are really lacking in functionality and content. Sites like IGN and GameSpot are only useful if you know what you're searching for. If you guys would have such a search engine you would instantly be my goto site.
We have an advanced search, but it is still in its early stages.
But we are very focused on explorability, especially with the increasing amount of games being released. So we have started implementing features towards this purpose, e.g. automated game recommendations based on your rating history, smart lists that populates depending on the criteria the user sets (still a prototype).
Explorability is becoming more important for another reason. The average gamer is 25-35 years old. And when you are 35, have a family, job etc. you don't have that much time playing games as you wished you had. Then we want to offer features that allows users to find good games in a quick and efficient way.
Cheers! That looks kind of promising indeed. I'm browsing on my phone right now, but I couldn't find this when going to the main page, or am i just overlooking it?
It's under the top navigation menu on desktop, but if you type something on mobile into the search, an advanced search button appears. It's not obvious and we will look into that usability issue.
Have you thought about adding things like budget, development time and technical details like game engine/technologies?
Also, a prominent, "more by this developer/publisher would be great.
We have associated game engines, although it isn't prominent. If we could get access to the budget/development time data, we would love to have it. We will revamp our company pages during the coming months to include awesome ideas like your suggestion.
I have plenty of questions, but let's go with the 1st :) What is the business model for IGDB, it's currently free and without ads, will that change ? Will you include in the future a 'Premium' version for pro users for example, etc..
We plan to build on 3 distinct business models:
- Game sales through affiliate partnerships
- On-site advertisements (which will be non-intrusive and always relevant)
- B2B services such as recruitment tools for development companies.
We will hopefully start implementing our first business model, game sales, in autumn this year. Our long term goal is that you should be able to buy all games included in our database through us and we will do it in the form of a price comparison feature, which will allow our users to find the cheapest place to buy a game.
Perhaps this has already been asked, but why did you make the site?
It all started during a lunch discussion at an old job, many, many years ago. The topic being discussed was that it would be cool to make a game site, but in your own way. The problem then, like now was that you used many different websites when researching new games to play. You went to gametrailers to check out trailers, gamespot to read articles about upcoming games and several other places well. But we concluded that the ultimate game page should have everything in one place, plus that as users you need to trust the reviews and ratings being shown.
Anyway, superlong answer shortened down: We love games and want to work within this area as professionals. With time the team just grew with similar minded people.
IGDB includes vintage commercials for some of the games. What ads are notable for being crazy/weird/funny/whatever?
We would say that these are pretty funky:
They don't do em like this anymore :)
Are you planning to include soundtrack information? Which games should get a soundtrack that didn't?
Absolutely. Ideally we want to allow people to listen/buy soundtracks through us but that will take time to achieve since it involves attaining the licensing rights to do so.
"Syndicate or Tachyon: The Fringe deserved a soundtrack" - Christian
IGDB.com doesn't have favourites and love all games, platforms and systems.
"Super Nintendo" - Jonas
"Amiga 500" - Christian
/r/pcmasterrace - Sander/Jake
Where did Sander get his handsome looks from?
I love you too man :)
How different do ports/versions/enhancements of a game have to be to be counted as different games?
We don't have an agreed policy on this but if a game is considerably different visually or mechanically, it's better off being a separate game. For now, we are leaving it up to our users to decide because we don't want to force our opinions onto them.
Why should I go here instead of Mobygames? My data is listed there and not yours...yet (I hope).
We don't want you to choose between us or Mobygames, rather use both of us. As a matter of fact we are great fans of Mobygames, and we have known Simon Carless for some time (one of the current owners), and we totally support them in their vision they have regarding the site.
But to answer your question:
You should go to Mobygames when you want the best game data available (superior to everyone else in both quality and quantity).
And you should go to IGDB.com when you want features that allows you to explore and keep track of games and the game industry.
Also, regarding the game database, Mobygames has the biggest one of all, but some newer games, and especially indie games are more likely to be found on IGDB.
yeah Mobygames has none of my more recent FB game dev info, IGDB does have the company listed but not the game i worked on...
well, you could always add the game yourself. Who better to add accurate info on the game than someone who worked on it. You have direct access to game info and media that others might have a hard time finding.
I would feel weird doing that...I'll tell the publisher about IGDB, he likes that kind of stuff.
Post the game title and we will happily add it :)
Hot Dog Champion - Gonzo Games (they did the Q-bert reboot for mobile)
Added, although it will need more info.
Are any of you associated with a game, participated in Development in the past (or currently) ? And more importantly.. what would be your dream game ? :p
Well actually, Abner have worked on some JRPG's in the past. And Jake designed a game for Ouya (which was apparently quite terrible). Jonas is an educated game programmer. But other than that, no we have not connection.
"Another Mass Effect. I want back in that universe, stat." - Jake
"A modern 100% faithful remake of Ragnarok Online, which btw released a spiritual successor today! - Abner
"A proper successor to Dungeon Keeper 2." - Christian
Christian: have you tried War for the Overlord ?
Yes, I have it on Steam. They even have the same Voice Actor from the Dungeon Keeper games. ("Welcome back Keeper"). I like it!
is there any game stranger than Seaman?
"Yes! Seaman 2." - Jonas
Is there a way to search for games by tags and other attributes? Seems like there isn't much of a way to browse for games
Hey there, we have an advanced search and we will be expanding it as time goes on.
Awesome thanks, how do you get there? I'm mobile if that changes anything
For now, type anything into search and you will see the advanced search option appear.
Would you consider including pricing information in every game's release? I mean what value the game was priced at when released each time.
Personally, I'd find it useful in comparing the historic prices of games over the last few decades.
Also, thanks for the effort you've all put into this.
In our price comparison feature that we will launch after the summer, we will include a price history where you can see that information.
What's the hardest credit to verify? Is it the small jobs like QA?
So after a user transcribes a credits video, we manually check the transcription. Credits are sometimes wrong in the actual game so I would say it's impossible to fully validate a game without allowing people to claim their own accounts and tell us, something which is actually starting to happen with voice actors. Exciting times!
what was the biggest obstacle you guys had to overcome when setting up this site?
That is an awesome question.
Getting a good domain.
Gathering a team of passionate and skilled people who were willing to work for free for 3 years and who were situated in 3 different countries. Other members of the team who very much deserve credit are still working for free today.
Chicken and egg situation with content and users.
Developing a brand new video game platform from scratch.
Building tools and the process to validate the user contributed data.
Who should get added to Smash?
Smash bros? Can you elaborate?
Yes I mean Smash Bros. (as in the perennial general "who should they add when they next add a bunch of gaming characters to the series" debate)
Dante or Zero from Mega Man X.
One of the main reasons i would use a game website would be to find good games I haven't played yet, same as how I sometimes use IMDB to find shows/movies I haven't seen.
The problem I keep getting is when review sites don't let you sort by multiple things at once. I mostly just want to be able to select a genre and a year range, then sort by rating. Maybe with some options to exclude certain things, like casual games. A new problem I have with steam is that I don't have VR and VR games keep popping up in my searches.
Do you have any plans to improve the search options?
Our advanced search probably our closest thing to your requirements. We obviously need to give it a more prominent position on the site. Is that what you were thinking of?
Yes that is much better! I didn't even see the option I must be going blind.
No it's actually our fault! The link is missing on mobile and is hard to find in desktop. It's not good usability and we will fix that soon. Thanks!
What do you think the NX is going to be?
We can only speculate but...
"I'm hoping it will be a true successor to the nintendo 64. Something high octane with cartridges like the rumours have been circulating. I'm very excited for this even as a member of /r/pcmasterrace" - Jake
"I just want to play the new zelda on it" - Jonas
"/r/pcmasterrace" - Sander
"I hope it's going to go back to cartridges for nostalgic and technical reasons" - Abner
Haha - Christian
Hey guys, while I might not have any specific questions, I just want to say you're doing great!
Though I do suppose I could ask; if you are employing right now? (3 year Junior Web Dev - focus on Angular and ASP.NET)
Thank you for your kind words and for your offer! We are currently not recruiting any new people at the moment.
Have you read "Console Wars"? If so, do you agree that XB1/PS4 don't really feel like competing machines as there isn't much differentiation between the two?
"I listened to the audiobook and as memory serves, it was as competitive back then as it is now, although the battle now is over exclusives rather than any hardware/software wow factor. TL;DR they are competing harder than ever but the game has changed." - Jake
What was the longest video game session?
Hey there! The longest video game session a user added in our database was 4296 days which is strange considering that counter strike global offensive hasn't been out that long. "The longest video game session I have played is 48 hours in final fantasy 7" - Christian
Why do you think that the Internet Movie Database has been so persistent as the central Internet resource for its subject, despite almost completely refusing to license any reuse of its content? (To the limited degree that it does, it "reserves the right to withdraw permission to use the data at any time".) When Wikipedia started taking off, it was assumed that a similar project might arise that would become the Wikipedia to IMDB's Brittanica. Why has that not happened?
Good, but tough question to answer. There are probably many factors involved that are beyond our speculative abilities. A key factor is likely that they have 200 million visits per month and when you reach that kind of volume in traffic, it doesn't really matter if there is a better alternative from a user or technical perspective, people will always be drawn to the largest community.
Letterboxd has been gaining ground recently as an alternative to some parts of IMDB because it's smaller and aimed at a less casual/general userbase.
Cool, we will check it out. Thx!
Will you be adding "how to be a complete bastard?"
That game was added October 19, 2015 at 08:19 pm, although it needs more info.
Do you know why Mafia is so high on your community top 100 list compared to the GTA games? (At #2, while various GTA games are at #22, #42, and #71.)
It's all down to our algorithm. With more activity, it will become more accurate, but we are also tweaking the algorithm itself. Although it's very subjective, in time we will have a more realistic top 100.
Why was Thief the first entry?
"When we first started developing IGDB, we added about 200 games ourselves. Naturally I started with one of my favourite games and worked my up from there." - Christian
Are you doing any automation to improve game pages? Or news aggregation?
For example: https://www.igdb.com/games/final-fantasy-xi
The page is barren and the only screen is labeled "Ingame screenshot" but it is not (it's a CGI movie picture).
Yet the MMO is still active today and just had a brand new patch this week, and there's nothing mentioning that in regards to news aggregation etc.
We are currently developing our news aggregator (pulse) and are experimenting with language algorithms to connect news stories with game pages. This has proven more challenging than initially thought, but we will continue our work.
If anyone has experience with natural language processors (textrazor/alchemy), we'd love to speak to you!
Since IGDB includes info specifically on characters, who are your favorite overlooked/forgotten characters which deserve rediscovery?
"Although there is a movie in the works, I think Shinobi is definitely an underused gem" - Jake
"I'd like to see more of George Stobbard from Broken Sword 2" - Jonas
"Garret from Thief when he was voiced by Stephen Russell" - Christian
"Sam Fisher voiced by Michael Ironside" - Sander
"Roger Wilco from Space Quest" - Christian
"If Christian is having another one, so am I. Manuel Calavera from Grim Fandango" - Jonas
"Horny from Dungeon Keeper 2" - Christian
This was a great question!!
Do you include games that are partially mechanical, like pinball machines or electro-mechanical arcade games? At what point from the spectrum from mechanical to fully electronic does a game count as a video game that qualifies for IGDB?
Our only criteria is that it's somehow connected to video games. Then we are allowing our users to decide what is featured on IGDB.com. This is a conscious decision that we have taken in order to stimulate a more user oriented development approach. To answer your question, if our users want pinball machines or electro-mechanical arcade games, we would allow it. What we don't want at this point are board games and paper/pen role playing games etc
What game would you not believe existed until you did research on it for the database?
"This AMA revealed Seaman to me... I am shocked" - Jake
"I don't believe there are any weird games" - Jonas
"I have validated some pretty weird games during these last few years, for some reason I can't remember a single one right now" - Christian
"Who's your daddy" - Sander
Do you guys have an ETA for the Beta ? do you have certain milestones to establish first before going all out ?
It's too early to say when we will come out of beta, but it will be a while before we do. We are not in a rush to leave beta as this is a long term project for us. This is new ground so we must have time to experiment with ideas in order to make this the ultimate game site.
Regarding milestones, right now we are focussing on maximising traffic and users to the site so we can generate more data to learn from.
I have a gaming channel (in Spanish, it's targeted to Latin American audiences and last but not least, Spain). Is there any way we could colaborate? We dont seek any financial stuff, just maybe some sort of promotion and in exchange we make ads for you or just mention you?
We're just starting, so we're very small but Im knocking doors, so Im wondering if you do this kind of stuff?
Thanks and what an awesome website!
Of course! We are collaborating with indie game developers and content creators all the time. Send us a message and let's have a talk.
does IGDB work based on a digital database? (like SQL)
The IGDB platform uses a combination of databases but, the core SQL database is postgres, you can see a full technical overview here.
What do you think about GamerGate and the 'ethics of game journalism' stuff going on? Is there really a culture war going on?
One of the pillars of IGDB.com is that we want to be an unbiased and objective game site, where we compile our users opinions and present it in an un-manipulated manner. As such we will never elevate journalists and professional reviewers opinions over our users.
Best game to write about?
We let our users review games, we just develop the platform.
"No Man's Sky is an interesting candidate because it has an infinitely large universe which may prove to be a challenge to create a good multiplayer game" - Jake
Any plans on adding "Engine" games were developed on similar to IndieDB?
Are you talking about a page showing all the game engines? There is this page, and you can click on one to open that engine's page and see all the games that use it. There is currently no way to access that page I linked, but you can access a specific engine's page by clicking on the engine in the "extended information" box on a game's page.
Another good answer, thanks Buddy! :)
Please note that we have not yet styled that page and engines are currently in a "MVP" status. But we will improve that in time as well.
I want to support the site, will turning off adblocker be safe on the site? Also what are other ways to do so?
Thanks for stepping in Nobody, perfect answer :)
The best way to support us really, is by just using the site and provide us with your feedback. That, in combination with our tools we use to measure user behaviour allows us to create a better site. The tools we are currently using are Mixpanel, Analytics and Hotjar.
If you go to Taco Bell then what do you order?
Unfortunately we don't have Taco Bell in Sweden, where the core team is located. We have passed the question to Abner though.
Does your system account for games from other countries as well?
Certainly, here is one, or here.
We want to include all the games, from all countries.
Which brings us to the subject of localization. We have plans to localize IGDB.com to e.g. Mandarine, Spanish, German and Russian. The challenge is not the translation itself, rather the technology we need to localize as well (Google, Facebook etc. does not work that well in China), and that we need to re-structure the database itself.
Where did you get the idea from for your website?
It all started during a lunch discussion at an old job, many, many years ago. The topic being discussed was that it would be cool to make a game site, but in your own way. The problem then, like now was that you used many different websites when researching new games to play. You went to gametrailers to check out trailers, gamespot to read articles about upcoming games and several other places well. But we concluded that the ultimate game page should have everything in one place, plus that as users you need to trust the reviews and ratings being shown. Anyway, superlong answer shortened down: We love games and want to work within this area as professionals. With time the team just grew with similar minded people.
Coke or Pepsi?
So many questions for you guys but I'll start with the big ones. I've been watching the project for awhile now mainly because of what I find to be the most amazing thing you're doing, your extremely generous free API.
This is awesome stuff, it opens some doors for things I've wanted to build for awhile.
Are there any guarantees for a developer that this API will remain under those terms in the future?
You mentioned on twitter that caching was ok, do you have a clear understanding of the copyright issues around that data if someday you decided or had to pull or change access to the API?
If someone's project were wildly successful and they needed more than 10k requests daily, do you have a plan for how you might offer that?
Thanks a bunch for creating the site, IMO it fills a great need, and you guys clearly have a passion for it and gaming in general.
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