Fans of Giant Bomb and the rest of the Whiskey Network that Giant Bomb is a part of found a bit of a surprise in store for them today.

The network went from completely free to all visitors to offering special incentives to paid subscribers, including features that, at one point, used to be free for everyone.

Yep, for $4.95/month users gain access to HD video, an HTML-5 based mobile site, a Friday live show, and early access to the full Giant Bomb podcast. Those who are not subscribers will only get to listen to the first hour of the podcast for a week after its release. After the week is up, the entire podcast is made free for all users.

If you wish, you can opt for the $49.95/year option that includes all of the above and no site advertisements, a t-shirt, and "$10 in savings."

Keep in mind that this is for the entire Whiskey network, which includes Giant Bomb, Tested, Anime Vice, Screened, and Comic Fine.

To offer up a little personal flavor into this: Is this really where gaming journalism is headed? Attaching a fee to common features found everywhere else for free. Are incentives such as those above really worth it to you to plunk down the money for the news you can easily find here or at other notable gaming sites?