MobyGames is a commercial website which catalogs video games both past and present.
As of October 2016, this includes over 200 gaming platforms (arcade, consoles, computers, social networking sites, handheld game systems, and mobile phones) and over 114,000 games, spanning the entire history of video games.
The site is supported by banner ads and by users paying to become patrons.
The MobyGames database contains information on video games and the people and companies behind them. Some individual developer profiles have biographical information.
Content is added on a volunteer crowdsourced basis, with all items tracked to a non-anonymous user account. Prior to being merged into the database—whether it be an entirely new entry or a small piece of information appending any existing item—all submissions must first go through a process of verification and validation by "approvers". Similarly, members of this group are all volunteer users, taking on the obligations of copy editors to make sure that information presented to visitors is accurate and meets the predefined standards of quality. The most commonly used sources are game packaging and manual or the game itself (title and credit screens), but also publishers' announcements, interviews with developers, etc.
Registered users can rate and review any game entry, and the scores are aggregated into a single value. Users can create game "have lists" and "want lists," which may be optionally made public. This can generate another list of games available for trade with other users.
The site has an integrated forum. Each listed game can have its own subforum.
MobyGames was founded on March 1, 1999, by Jim Leonard, Brian Hirt, and David Berk (who joined 18 months after the project started, but was still credited as a founder), three friends since high school. Leonard had the idea of sharing information about electronic games with a larger audience.
The database began with entries for MS-DOS and Microsoft Windows games, since those were the only systems the founders were familiar with. On its second birthday, MobyGames started supporting other platforms, initially the leading consoles of the time such as the PlayStation, with older systems added later. According to David Berk, new platforms are added once there is enough information researched to design the necessary framework for them in the database, as well as people willing to be approvers for the new platform.
MobyGames was nominated for a Webby Award for Best Games-Related Website by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences on April 11, 2006.
In mid-2010, MobyGames was sold by its founders to GameFly for an undisclosed amount. As this was only announced to the community post factum, a few major contributors left in protest, refusing to do volunteer work for the now commercially owned website.
On December 18, 2013, MobyGames was acquired by Jeremiah Freyholtz, owner of Blue Flame Labs (a San-Francisco-based game and web development company) and VGBoxArt (a site for fan-made video game boxart). Upon assuming control of the site, Blue Flame Labs reverted MobyGames' interface to its pre-overhaul look and feel.
Support for arcade coin-operated games was added in January 2014.