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Old 14th Apr 2008, 11:31   #1
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Games magazines on the way out?

http://www.bit-tech.net/news/2008/04...the_way_out_/1

1Up's Simon Cox has spoken out on the decline of games magazines, commenting that the medium as a whole may face extinction.

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Old 14th Apr 2008, 11:38   #2
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Good content that you can't get anywhere else is the only way forward. With other magazines, such as Snowboarding or Mountain Biking, they still seem to do OK since they have lots of opinion, interesting articles and professional pictures that you don't see on the internet. With computer game magazines it's perhaps hard to see how this will happen - most games will be reviewed online before the mags hit the shelves and there's only so many ways you can write a review.

I haven't bought a PC magazine for years. I have the internet...
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Old 14th Apr 2008, 11:44   #3
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The few mags I've had a glance at in the shops recently have been more expensive than I remember them being a few years ago, and markedly thinner. And they have a lot more adverts in than they used to, as well. Excuse me if I don't like paying more for less content, when I can get it online for free (and frequently better proof-read, too...)

Also, while my net connection isn't as fast as I'd like it to be, the reason for cover discs has long since vanished, as demos, patches, trial software etc can all be had as and when I want them. Also, the 'full' software on cover discs has been less than thrilling... or perhaps it's just that the software I use the most I already own, so I don't need alternatives... and a lot of useful stuff is now Open Source anyway...
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Old 14th Apr 2008, 11:56   #4
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I have to say that games mags have annoyed me a lot lately - I was going to buy one this weekend to read, but decided against it when I saw the price. Mags are now thinner, with more advertising and poorer quality paper and often without coverdiscs - but if anything the cost has risen.

The problem as I see it though isn't a matter of having better content - the reality is that many games journos working in Print know that they are flogging a dead medium and are trying to get out - that better content is therefore available online.

I am very biased here though, but having worked in print and online I know that online is better. Anything a magazine prints is at least six weeks old by the time you read it, whereas I can do an interview or review right now and write it up straight away, liveblogging if needs be.

Plus, I get really sick of embargoes at games events limiting me to keeping quiet for four or five weeks "so the magazines have a chance to catch up".
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Old 14th Apr 2008, 12:30   #5
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I still tend to read computer mags of all types, i quite like chilling on a Sunday afternoon with a magazine and red dwarf on in the background. One niche the web isn't going to fill soon is what to read when travelling, books are fine but i prefer a mag on the train, plane, hanging round airports or getting driven round, most of these are areas where your iphone/netbook is only going to get scetchy coverage or places where you'd like to conserve battery since its also your mp3 player. Although i admit to buying less lately.
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Old 14th Apr 2008, 12:31   #6
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In the UK, there are some excellent print magazines still available (and some terrible ones)

We have the newly launched PC Gaming Magazine which is for PC users only. Its rich on content and its unique angle is that is has a huge MMO section each month. Decent value for money as well. Good mix of all areas relevant to PC users. Its not 'thin' either like some of them!

I agree with people who say reviews and news will come out earlier on the net. That doesnt bother me at all. I like print magazines for the editorials, opinions, and unique features like developer and studio interviews which they seem to do very well at.

Then of course there are the benefits of being able to take a magazine into the bath or onto the train. I must admit though - dont bother with a DVD/CD on the cover. 99% of the time I dont use them and they are a waste. The exception to the rule is PC PLUS magazines which is better than most.

Other UK magazines :

PC Format - Average. Tries to cover hardware and gaming but masters none. One plus point is they sometimes have the most stunning women on the cover LOL! I do buy it though, but its not the best.

PC Zone - I avoid this one like the plague now. Its thin, and previously Ive skimmed through it too quickly for it to feel like good value for money. Its expensive too.

PC Gamer - Another 'thin' and 'expensive' one to avoid. Compare Gamer and Zone to PC Gaming and its night and day.

GAMES (TM) - A good magazine that focusses on games across ALL platforms. This is ideal for those that own multiple consoles. A good mix of studio reviews and opinion editorials. Good value for money too. I buy it every month.

EDGE - Very similar to GAMES (TM) to be honest. Slightly more expensive and probably not as good, but similar content. I often buy it.

Custom PC - Oriented towards people who know and love their PC hardware. They do cover a small number of games reviews, but their editorial is top notch, and their hardware reviews are the best there is in print. I subscribe to this one.

PC PRO - Its OK. It's more serious that all the others, and discusses software and hardware reviews, plus has a business section which bores me to death. The editorials opinion pages are excellent though. I used to subscribe, but dont anymore. I often still buy it though.

360 - Simply called the 360. Its the best 360 dedicated magazine out of all the 360 magazines and often is only 3. Its more oriented towards adults too - not the l337 kids out there.

PC PLUS - Simply the best magazine if your interests in PC cross technical science , programming, maths, or productive software use. Often they have special features about technology (processor roadmaps, how it works etc) and projects like a laser data transmitter, robots, and even a star trek laser gun. Its not cheap, but it is excellent.

I dont think the magazine market will disappear. It will shrink, and the junk out there like Computer Shopper, PCW, and those basic computer mags will all die off.
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Old 14th Apr 2008, 12:50   #7
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I bought Edge last month as it had a really good article on GTA 4 (an extended interview with Dan Houser), but other than that I haven't bought a magazine since 2005. Before then, the previous magazine was in 2003.
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Old 14th Apr 2008, 13:26   #8
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I haven't bought a magazine (Or any printed material other than books) since I started using the internet all those years ago. Why bother, when like the article states, it's all floating around the net for free?
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Old 14th Apr 2008, 13:47   #9
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The only problem I can see with magazines going extinct is that I know some people (excluding myself) like to have something to read when they just so happen to be sitting on the toilet.
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Old 14th Apr 2008, 13:48   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robotrix View Post
The only problem I can see with magazines going extinct is that I know some people (excluding myself) like to have something to read when they just so happen to be sitting on the toilet.
That's what comics are for.
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Old 14th Apr 2008, 13:49   #11
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used to buy pc format, but the game reviews aren't as good as joes and the interesting modding they do has little to no explaination of how they did it. bit-tech excels as it covers everything, and at a good standard, but the main thing that sets bit-tech above the rest is the columns, particularly the later ones by developers. keep them coming thick and fast please!
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Old 14th Apr 2008, 13:52   #12
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Not bought a gaming mag in a while either, don't see the point, they don't offer anything I can't get online.
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Old 14th Apr 2008, 14:01   #13
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Quote:
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used to buy pc format, but the game reviews aren't as good as joes
I used to do the games reviews for PC Format...

Well, ok, that's a huge exageration. I did some freelance reviews for them a handful of times. I used to really like PC Format and it's a shame that so many people have left it since then. I can actually remember reading PC Gamer reviews when I was a kid, looking at the the staff bios for folks like Kieron Gillen and deciding that I wanted to be like them.

Then I forgot all about it for 15 years and started working to be a novelist instead, but I did finally come back to the fold.
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Old 14th Apr 2008, 14:11   #14
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I stopped my subscriptions to a couple of PC games mags years ago and now subscribe to one review site so that I don't see adverts etc. and get faster downloads. It's a lot cheaper than a magazine, and given that a lot of the sites are US based, it's even cheaper given the /$ rate at the moment.

The decision wasn't financial, it's down to content really, and I don't feel that any of the games magazines have any content that would justify the price. In contrast I subscribe to several other magazines (hardware, linux, web dev) because of the content even though I could get most of the information off the net. At the end of the day nothing beats having a physical mag to read, it's just that games mags tend to be pretty crap.
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Old 14th Apr 2008, 14:12   #15
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I sub to EDGE, have done for a few years (cheaper to sub). They do have some great in-depth articles (as mentioned the GTA one was great, and the Farcry 2 one the month before was really interesting not started on the new ‘un) and also much smaller titbits. But as Joe mentioned I have read stuff and thought to myself that I somehow already know about this and realised that I’ve seen it on-line months before.
Mags offer a different experience for the reader. Sitting down at a computer screen allday at work (just a small amount of bit-tech reading, honest IT police!!) and then again when I’m gaming at home. Printed media gives my eyes a break from a monitor. I still love to leaf through a Sunday paper all week, yet I can get all the news and most of the info online.
With out a doubt mags (and I guess most printed media) are an endangered species. Some will die but those few magazines that are left will have to evolve, and that can only be good for the reader.
I wonder how many readers mags still have? And could their eventual abandonment of paper have effects on online content?
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Old 14th Apr 2008, 14:18   #16
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I read bit-tech new stories every day, quick reference, searchable, taking part in (nearly) live discussion, it beats magazines that cost money, often out of date with the news, hard to remember where that article that you need was and comes out once a month but its read within a day.
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Old 14th Apr 2008, 14:44   #17
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Compared to magazines of other interests you will find that gaming magazines are aimed at people sitting on computers a lot, people sitting on computers a lot usually have 24/7 Internet access in which they can easily get the same thing online than in a magazine.

Other Interests such as cycling magazines (not that I read them) does not necessary imply that the reader sits on the computer a lot which may explain why they aren't declining so much. It's not just games magazines but all magazines and even newspapers are having a fall in readers all because of the Internet (although not as badly).
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Old 14th Apr 2008, 15:20   #18
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I used to buy PCZone religiously, but the quality of the magazine just dropped significantly over the years while the price continued to rise - I haven't been able to justify buying an issue of PCZ in about 3 years now, and like others have said, the usefulness of cover discs falls dramatically with a broadband net connection.

I keep all of the old issues and cover discs though, for nostalgia and memorabilia of my gaming childhood.

Occasionally, though, I still check the PCZ website for gaming news simply because bit-tech just doesn't have enough gaming news to satisfy me, which is understandable given that bit-tech isn't a gaming-only site.
Even then, bit-tech often has news that PCZ and other sites don't have..
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Old 14th Apr 2008, 15:21   #19
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I dont' really read gaming magazines, but I wouldn't give up my subscription to Maximum PC Magazine. While the products they review might be a month old by the time I read them. (I got an issue lamenting the lack of an iPhone SDK the same day it was revealed / released online.) But their how-to guides for assembling computers, finding the right kit, and other how-to's are very imformative and useful. Sure I --could-- Google all the info up, and yes, Bit-Tech and other sites do have a vast majority of this kind of information up. But its nice to not always have to boot my computer to learn something, and the modding instruction are especially nice since the computer isn't going to be running while I upgrade it. ( :P ) All in all though, that is the only magazine (of ANY kind) that I subscribe to.

Unrelated: Has Bit-Tech ever thought of developing its own magazine?
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Old 14th Apr 2008, 16:09   #20
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Bull. Not going to happen. He mine as well say that all magazine will die for the same reason. And I haven't stopped reading game magazines just because i can get it free. Bull.
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