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Created in September 1996 as the Imagine Games Network, IGN was founded by publishing executive Jonathan Simpson-Bint and began as five individual websites within Imagine Media: N64.com (later renamed ign64.com), PSXPower, Saturnworld, Next-Generation.com and Ultra Game Players Online. Additionally, Imagine contracted with several well established independent websites such as PSX Nation.com, GameSpot.com, Sega-Saturn.com and Nintendojo.com which gave its launch a significant user base to build on. In 1998, the network consolidated the individual sites as system channels under the IGN brand. Next-Generation and Ultra Game Players Online were not part of this consolidation; U.G.P.O. dissolved with the cancellation of the magazine, and Next-Generation was put "on hold" when Imagine decided to concentrate on launching the short-lived Daily Radar brand. Then-parent company Snowball.com held an IPO in 2000, which subsequently failed with the burst of the dot-com bubble.
In June 2005, IGN reported having 24,000,000 unique visitors per month, with 4.8 million registered users through all departments of the site. IGN is ranked among the top 200 most-visited websites according to Alexa. In September 2005, IGN was acquired by Rupert Murdoch's multi-media business empire, News Corporation, for $650 million. IGN celebrated its 10th anniversary on January 12, 2008. IGN was headquartered in the Marina Pointe Parkway office park in Brisbane, California, until it relocated to a smaller office building near AT&T Park in San Francisco on March 29, 2010. On May 25, 2011, IGN sold its Direct2Drive division to Gamefly for an undisclosed amount.
IGN Pro League
In 2011, IGN launched the IGN Pro League, a professional e-sports circuit that ran tournaments for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, ShootMania Storm and League of Legends. On March 6, 2013, only weeks prior to the event, IGN abruptly cancelled the finals of IPL 6—which were to be held in Las Vegas from March 28 through 31, and discontinued the league. IGN indicated that it was no longer in a position to commit to competing with the increased number of e-sports events that were now being held. On April 8, 2013, Blizzard Entertainment announced that it had acquired the staff and assets of the IPL from IGN; its former staff will be reassigned to work on e-sports productions and online content for Blizzard's own events.
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