Publishing conglomerate Ziff Davis Media's Game Group, which produces game print magazines Electronic Gaming Monthly, Official PlayStation Magazine, Computer Gaming World, as well as consumer game site 1UP.com, has acquired website GameTab, a site which aggregates news and review scores, according to copyright notices appearing during yesterday's redesign of GameTab.
The acquisition fills a hole in Ziff Davis' online gaming publishing operations, and shores up a particular area in which the company was relatively underpowered against major competitors IGN Entertainment and CNET Networks. IGN, recently purchased by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, owns popular review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, while GameSpot owner CNET's network of review aggregation sites includes both GameRankings and the recently acquired MetaCritic.
Review aggregators are becoming more popular not just with readers, but also with game publishers and developers. In fact, some companies such as Electronic Arts publically refer to a game's aggregate score when discussing it, as EA LA chief Neil Young recently did at the Tokyo Game Show; in addition, Warner Bros' infamous 'quality penalty' concept
was intended to be levied at games which scored lower than 70 percent on game ranking aggregators, making them increasingly important.
As to how this will fit into the company's strategy, Ziff Davis' existing online game site, 1UP.com, already aggregated the company's own review scores across its gaming magazines, but did not take into account other publishers and publications, which will likely be addressed by its ownership of GameTab.