IGN.com will buy the Vault Network

Big gaming site aims to take the lead in burgeoning role-playing game market.

IGN.com, a popular gaming site, will purchase the Vault Network, a role-playing and information site, the company confirmed Monday.

The purchase will be announced Tuesday, and will add the Vault Network's audience to IGN.com's. The Vault Network is a former affiliate of IGN.com, and its content, aggregated from gaming sites Web-wide, attracts around 250,000 unique visitors every month.

IGN.com is making the buy to strengthen its market position. "Probably the fastest growing genre within gaming is massively multiplayer online gaming," said Simon Whitcombe, network director at IGN.com. Whitcombe said that IGN.com believes the Vault Network "leads the market in creating content and community around this world".

Visitors to The Vault can access links to other sites or chat about popular role playing games, also called RPGs, and multiplayer games, such as Everquest, Ultima Online and Asheron's Call.

The two sites have less than 10 percent audience duplication, Whitcombe said. He said that the bulk of the audience for the Vault Network is between 25 and 34, while IGN.com draws primarily from 12- to 17-year-olds. The terms of the acquisition were not specified, but Whitcombe said it was for less than $10 million in cash and stock. The Vault Network will be combined with IGN.com by the end of the year.

IGN, or the Internet Generation Network, is a subsidiary of Snowball.com, which is one the top 30 most-trafficked sites on the Internet, according to Media Metrix. Besides gaming, it also offers IGN for Men and IGN Sci-fi.