Gamefly Gets a Shacknews Delivered To its Door

The Netflix of the gaming world aquires gaming journalism site Shacknews, adding media to its set of specialties.

Presented by PCWorld

We’ve seen a lot of media and video game-related acquisitions recently, including Ziff-Davis’ sale of popular gaming site 1UP to Hearst Corporation’s UGO Entertainment and the closing of the fabled Activision/Vivendi (and, by proxy, Activision/Blizzard) merger. Now you can mark your scorecards for the next big gaming media acquisition of 2009, as Gamefly has found the gaming journalism site Shacknews.

By forum comments Internet-wide, including those entirely on Shacknews itself, the purchase came as a tiny surprise to industry pundits. Nonetheless it doesn’t appear that Gamefly is hurting in the financials–the company just opened two new distribution centers in Austin and Tampa this past year, and has plans to open its fifth center in Seattle in the first half of 2009.

According to Shacknews founder Steve Gibson, the purchase wasn’t made because Shacknews is suffering from the financial difficulties which have been plaguing publishing lately.

"We are confident Gamefly will protect the legacy and community we’ve established, while at exactly the same time providing essential resources to expand into new and exciting areas that could not otherwise be possible," said Gibson in a news release on Shacknews.

While Gamefly co-founder Sean Spector maintains that Shacknews could keep the same voice and feel as it’s had pre-acquisition, we’ve all heard this news before. So what’s Gamefly planning? It could make more sense for the rental service to jump into digital territory by launching a primary download service of its, analogous to Valve’s Steam platform or Stardock’s Impulse. Or even better, offer console-based integration of its rental services a la Microsoft’s partnership with Netflix for the Xbox. Though I honestly doubt the latter would happen, since it would directly compete keenly against… well, the complete platform.

Since Shacknews does add a massive amount PC coverage into its gaming news, perhaps that is an indicator that Gamefly is preparing to look beyond the living room and commence offering some type of rental or purchasing service for PC titles. That’s bitter speculation at this time, but I cannot think about any other reason–aside from increasing brand awareness–as to why Gamefly would like to buy a media hub and its own accompanying video hub (Shackvideo) and file-archive (Fileshack). Something big is afoot, and hopefully we’ll start to see the inklings of it before too much time.

Chris Morris, who writes the overall game On column for Forbes.com , has conducted an interview with Gamefly regarding the qcquisition news. Very little gleamed from that one when it comes to future busines plans, as Gamefly is playing its hand using what it intends to accomplish about Shacknews. One interesting glimmer: the move doubles the traffic for Gamefly’s chief property, provided the business will be able to successfully combine all of the 2.5-to-3 million users that flock to every individual site on a monthly basis.

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