Facebook Files: The Evolution Of Game Magazines

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Merry Christmas and welcome to Facebook Files! Here’s a rundown of how things work: Every week, we look through our Facebook group for the best community discussions. The ones that stand out are published on Siliconera as part of this feature every weekend. If your topic isn’t chosen one week, don’t lose heart…it might get picked up the next!

 

Are game magazines all but dead? It may have appeared that way for a while, but they do seem to be making a comeback with the new EGM and management overhaul at GamePro. Let’s just say they’re evolving. The question is how, and what do people want from them? Anton started up a discussion on Facebook to see what the community thinks.

 

Anton wrote:

For years I was an avid subscriber to Nintendo Power, but once high-speed internet was available in my area, I found that every "new" issue I received in the mail was full of news which I had already researched and read online. I eventually canceled my subscription. In 2007, Nintendo stopped publishing their magazine, handing over publishing duties to Future US. More recently, Electronic Gaming Monthly suspended publication with the acquisition of 1UP. Now, I’ve heard that the magazine was supposed to start publication again late this year, but I haven’t seen EGM on newsstands in months.

 

With the internet now commonplace in most North American households and in many households worldwide, news (more specifically gaming news) is readily and instantly available for reading and browsing. So, this makes me wonder: are gaming magazines needed or even wanted in today’s day and age?

 

Ishaan wrote:

I definitely still want to buy game magazines, but not as much for news and editorials as for features. Let’s face it; the Internet is here to stay and it’s the fastest source of information. Mags can’t possibly compete with it in their current form.

 

That said, I still immensely enjoy the feeling of sitting down with a good magazine and reading a lengthy post-mortem or developer interview, or even detailed previews on games that have yet to be shown to the digital press. The problem with this is, developers have to be willing to divulge the kind of information magazines would need to be relevant to today’s consumer. Nintendo Power has an advantage in that it still gets major scoops on DS and Wii games that haven’t been seen anywhere else. The same can be said for EDGE as well.

 

Fabio wrote:

I don’t buy magazines anymore – I mean, they are just kind of useless now. I used to have a subscription to TGM (one of the biggest Italian magazines back then) because of all the demos and stuff, but now, it’s just not worth it, especially when they cost 8-10€ per number.

 

Mind you, I still sometimes buy them singularly because there is some good game thrown in. I don’t know about consoles, but PC magazines now always include some sort of free game (usually an old one, but still), so at times it can be a good deal.

 

Steven wrote:

I’m still a fan of Nintendo Power. However I used to read EGM, Game Informer, and the Official Xbox Magazine. Those days are gone now. Now I like to get my info from Siliconera, Joystiq, and Gametrailers. Despite this, Nintendo Power seems to still surprise me with new game announcement every now and then that I don’t catch from the aforementioned sites. You guys were actually the ones who broke me away from magazines! (and I still miss the old Godzilla theme even though the new one is nice as well)

 

[Next week: Who is your favorite new video game character of 2009?]

Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.