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Snowball melting

Trouble ahead for the company behind IGN

Snowball is facing more problems this week as the online advertising slump claims another victim. With the NASDAQ index threatening to delist the company because its share price has fallen well below the $1 mark, Snowball has sacked a third of its workforce in an attempt to cut costs in the hopes of breaking even this year. How this will effect the company's various sites remains to be seen, but their IGN brand is host to a range of in-house gaming sites as well as the Vault network, 3D Portal, Gone Gold, WarcraftIII.net and numerous other sites.

As part of the effort to prop up their finances, IGN are introducing a new subscription-only service called "IGN Insider". It's certainly a brave move, and one which many other sites and networks may have to follow if the ad market doesn't pick up soon, but whether gamers will be prepared to pay $29.95 a year for the service remains to be seen. Benefits of membership include such exciting perks as the ability to use HTML tags in your forum posts, early access to strategy guides, exclusive members-only features and screenshots, weekly Q&A sessions with the IGN editors, and a webcam video stream so that you can see what they are getting up to in their offices. Having chatted with some of them at ECTS last year, we can assure you that you probably don't want to know what they are doing there...

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