MobyGames Offering “Pro” Membership

It’s a bit upsetting to see that MobyGames is going a bit more for-profit, and now offers a trail Pro membership account. Usually this kind of move means fewer features and a degraded experience for those not sending in their dimes. The trial rate is $5 a month, which seems both high ($60 a year?) and low (how much revenue will this bring in given the small number of people with a paying need for MobyGames information?).

MobyGames has long been a useful resource for game research and images, but was recently bought by Atari, which is not the same as the old Atari, although as time passes that distinction becomes slowly less relevant? The company calling itself Activision has slightly more continuity with the Activision that was founded by ex-Atari developers to sell VCS/2600 games, but very little of it remains I’m sure, and they passed through a phase where they had renamed themselves Mediagenic, which worked out badly. The CEO that pulled Activision out of their nosedive, as it turns out, is Bobby Kotlick. There’s a name that’s been in the news lately and on which I will not comment at this time!

So, it seems inescapable that Atari is behind this move by MobyGames, to try to get the site to pay for itself. I honestly don’t think there’s much of a market for these features unless they make the site downright painful to use for free users, and how many people are willing to pay for full MobyGames access? When people (myself included!) contributed to MobyGames all those years, did they know they were merely building up Value for later Purchase? Will this turn into yet another Gracenote situation? Does anyone now remember what Gracenote did?

Well, this is speculation on my part. Nothing necessarily means MobyGames will soon be ruined. But it is a pattern that’s happened many times before, so let us keep our eyes open. At the very least, it seems like a ripe opportunity for someone to create a new game cataloging site. Me? No no, it can’t be me, I’m sorry, my brain is too full of things, and I have this terrible pain in all the diodes down my left side….

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