Remember when G4 was the place to nerd out on video game news? Sure, you had sites like IGN and GameSpot where you could find some pretty good-looking screenshots, but if you wanted to watch a game in action — in other words, if you wanted video — you’d better have a subscription to the only television network that specialized in games.
Looks like IGN and YouTube are teaming up to give you the 21st century equivalent of that (when exactly did G4 become to video games what MTV is to music?) The new network, called START, launches in January and will be powered by YouTube.The new channel will offer live broadcasts from events and pre-recorded programming. Material exclusive to START that can’t be found at ign.com will also air on the channel.
This is only the latest announcement from YouTube regarding the launch of the company’s push to grab a slice of the original programming pie. The official YouTube blog likens the move to those CNN, MTV and ESPN took to provide specialized, niche programming back in those companies’ heydays. So far, the video service has inked deals with a variety of sources, from news services like Reuters to folks like Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee.
While G4 was a great idea to begin with, the major problem was that its viewer base was constantly online seeking the information the network provided. As soon as high-quality online video was a feasible endeavor, there wasn’t a reason for gamers to restrict themselves to pre-determined time slots for the coverage they sought. Original programming and charismatic personalities will only get you so far — that is, they’ll work until your competitors can do the same thing, but in a medium that’s a lot more flexible.