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magazine_guy7

What caused the gaming magazines to die out?

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Western gamers are similar to its collective culture, which points to everything "disposable" and not find historic and collectible value in physical items. We want convenience, quick joy, and speedy service. We are passionate about something new, but lose interest in it extremely fast. We read a magazine one time and then throw it away. We don't see it as a footprint in gaming history, even deserving a place in someone's video game museum. The Internet, therefore, is better suited for gaming news, reviews, strategies, and various other information for the Western world. The audience just isn't large enough for physical magazines. Without the audience, advertisers are not going to pay money to promote their products in a state of minority. I'm not saying all Western gamers are this way--it's just a majority of us.

This.

*huggles*

Areala

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I'm sure if EGM had a nude centrefold article like Playboy they'd sell HEAPS of issues. It would be a little like the "Standard" issue without the article and the "Unrated" issue in a plastic bag.

Sex is a form of gaming after all :)

Wasn't this ad in EGM back in the day?

post-1-0-97135900-1446150112_thumb.jpg

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That ran in several issues of both EGM and GamePro and (if I recall correctly) cost them some subscribers when mom flipped through the mag and found that picture in there.

I also recall another mag (pretty sure it was PSM) that got several letters griping about some of the GameShark ads, especially the family picture one where the son has taken a massive bite out of the daughter's arm with his razor-shark teeth. :)

*huggles*
Areala

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March of technology. One thing I miss are demo discs. When mags came with a disc full of game demos, it was heaven. OPM was the first to do this with consoles, but PC Gamer done it with PC for awhile, and I am fairly sure older computer mags had demo discs or even full games included. But now the few gaming mags that are left have info thats so outdated when they are printed and shipped to newstands, info thats usually displayed right on your consoles dashboard, that game mags are almost unnecessary these days.

That being saId, retro game magazines are thriving. Retro Gamer in the UK has a huge following, and Retro seems to be gaining ground here in the US.

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Yeah - I always loved receiving a demo disc along with a magazine. Official Dreamcast Magazine was a particular favorite.

I think niche video game magazines - retro included - are doing well. I hope we see more pop up over time.

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I remember being old enough computer mags didn't have demo disks,mother had programs in them you had to type in yourself printed in them. Used to get them and type in all these demos and games, figure out all the typos you made to get it to work. And occasionally have to wait for the next issue for corrections where they printed the code wrong.

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I absolutely agree that the internet played a huge part, but a few other things were relevant at least for me in stopping to buy videogame magazines.

Many people (if not most) who bought videogame magazines grew up with them, experiencing the 8, 16 and 32 bit revolutions first hand.
Now back then, in many cases it was hit or miss when buying a videogame and magazines were considered to be a reliable source for finding out what to buy, I had my favorite reviewers (like egm's sushi-x) whom I shared a interest with regarding videogame tastes, and some of these reviewers had a way to to tell you if a game sucked by reading between lines.

I pruchased these mags on a monthly basis throughout the 90's and on one day during the 2000's I just stopped, but my need for the latest info is still there as I still play games and always will.
Seeing this topic made me think a bit of why I made this choice.

I got older
I feel that as I got older, videogames "grew up" with me, but the magazines did not come along after a certain point.
Now what I mean with this is that from the NES days up to and including the Playstation 1 era, it felt like most reviews written in comparison to my own experiences compared quite well, as it seemed like they were written by like minded people. When life happens and reviewers, editors etc. move on ultimately new people came in, after a few times this happened the connection was lost with me personaly, that it reached a point where I went from reading each mag from front to back every month, to skipping massive sections, just looking at screenshots, and not even reading reviews from specific reviewers as I mostly did not share their opinions.

I got better informed (lol for a lack of better words to describe this)
As I experienced life more which happens to everyone, I started realizing that opinions are sometimes influenced by external factors like money, pressure etc. which in turn started to make me a bit more synical and taking things with a pinch of salt. Im not paranoid but as games became bigger financial investments, naturaly more is at stake and a negative review has the potential to ruin sales.
This to me is clear as it seems like reviewers are much more generous in rewarding scores, for games that I felt would have scored less back in the day. 5 out of 10 is supposed to be average and I have played many, many games that to me were 5's but got 7's, so I sometimes wondered if I was reading a paid for review.

Something interesting ocured to me while thinking about this topic. As many people who get enjoyment out of sites like these (as I do) have played games for decades now, the natural thing to happen is to become an expert at what you know and enjoy.
I believe that because of this, I trust my own opinion about new games and rarely do I make a poor purchase, as I really do know what I will like and what kind of new and different experiences may be worth it.

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I would jump on the "internet" camp here as well. It not only killed off gaming magazines, but a lot of offline multiplayer as well. When is the last time you had a friend over to play games with? When I grew up, that was pretty much your only option.

Another thing that the internet did, was allow a nasty PC gaming habit to creep into console gaming: patches. Now, it's ok to rush out an unfinished, buggy mess, because it can always be patched. Counter argument to this, is the occasional "good" DLC, which actually enrichens the game as a whole. I'm ok iwth that. It's the "pay $0.99 to change the color of your character's costume" BS that you used to get for free in a game, because developers put it all on the table when they put out a game back in the day.

Apple is another thing I thnk that casued a shift in consumer buying habits. Want music? Pick and choose, no need to buy a whole album anymore...

The other problem with the internet, is that there is an overwhelming amount of content. I mean, I realize that it is a natrual effect of centralizing information, but there is something different about the digital age that I can't quite put my finger on... Back in my NES / Genesis days, I probably had around 40-50 games between the two systems, in the ~10 years that we had those systems. The PS1 / Nintendo 64">N64 is in a similar bucket, around 40 or so games for those systems over a number of years. PS2 / GC / Xbox, I started to have a few more games, but then I did work at Blockbuster at the time.

This brings me to the PS3 era. In the 7 years I've had that system, I have well over 200 games for it. Side effect of Steam distribution forcing games to sell for less? Perhaps. Do you think I've had time, as an adult with many other responsibilities and hobbies, to play even a decent fraction of those games? Not even close. I've finished three or four games this year, all of which I started playing last year. I think I have maybe 10-15 games on an actual disc.

What I'm getting at, is that if you can't touch the game's physical media, unwrap the case, flip through the instruction booklet, it just isn't nearly as... special. I can't say I've had to work nearly as hard for the games I have for the PS3 as I did for all the other systems growing up, so they mean a lot less to me.

So, I think it's a lot of things that caused gaming magazines to die out. Personally, I'd rather spend time with a game, than to be overwhelmed by the thousands of other gaming things that I won't have time for. Magazines acted as as good filter, in that sense, and I appreciated that. For every great game they covered, I'm sure there was another 20 throwaway money milking app style games that they wouldn't have bothered to put into print.

Maybe that's it. gaming magazines weeded out the crap, so you didn't have to. Now before anyone points out how great some indie games have been, if a concept or development was truly worth playing, it would have found its way into a magazine eventually. ;)

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One of my main points to get magazines was that a lot of Nintendo Power, EGM, GamePro, had strategy guides and walkthroughs for games. Now with youtube and gamefaqs, the days of publisihing walkthroughs as a good chunk of the issue are LONG GONE

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One of my main points to get magazines was that a lot of Nintendo Power, EGM, Gamepro, had strategy guides and walkthroughs for games. Now with youtube and gamefaqs, the days of publisihing walkthroughs as a good chunk of the issue are LONG GONE

You know what? This got me thinking... it may not have been the internet itself that killed the gaming magazines after all.

It was... the GAMES THEMSELVES.

Think about it. As pmo1985 points out, games back then were often improved with a guide (whether on a first or subsequent playthrough is a matter of taste, of course), but games now? They practically hold your hand from beginnning to end. I can't recall the last guide I bought out of any sort of necessity or desire. Probably FF12 on ps2.

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You know what? This got me thinking... it may not have been the internet itself that killed the gaming magazines after all.

It was... the GAMES THEMSELVES.

Think about it. As pmo1985 points out, games back then were often improved with a guide (whether on a first or subsequent playthrough is a matter of taste, of course), but games now? They practically hold your hand from beginnning to end. I can't recall the last guide I bought out of any sort of necessity or desire. Probably FF12 on ps2.

In the 8 Bit, 16 Bit and Early 32 Bit days, The internet wasn't as widespread and fast as it is now. If you got stuck on a part of a game, most of the time your options were a. see if a friend could beat that part. b. call a video game tip hotline (it raised the phone bill quite a bit in my youth) or c. go to a newsstand and buy a magazine if you didn't have a subscription. In fact, the fact that someone posted a complete series of walkthorugh vids on youtube within a week of the game being released, shows how times have changed

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I think similar to how itunes has become popular, people want to buy individual songs rather than the entire album. Hardcore gamers wanted direct and specific access to contents they are interested in and for platforms they actually own. Waiting for a month for a magazine with all different contents has probably made some gamers wanting for an alternate and fast access to contents that they want. And the internet provided that gateway.

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I think similar to how itunes has become popular, people want to buy individual songs rather than the entire album. Hardcore gamers wanted direct and specific access to contents they are interested in and for platforms they actually own. Waiting for a month for a magazine with all different contents has probably made some gamers wanting for an alternate and fast access to contents that they want. And the internet provided that gateway.

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Itunes is one of those things that irks me. Why would a band bother to do a whole album anymore, when they only need to write a couple singles? That way of thinking killed a lot of the bands I like, because there is no longer any money in writing good music, it's all about what is catchy and can make a quick buck before they're supplanted by the next music of the moment. If you can't write a whole album worth of good music, your band isn't worth my time in the first place.

That, and i-anything bugs me because, well... bugs. None of Apple's products or software seem to ever be finished, or thoroughly tested before being put to market. Grumble grumble, maybe I'm just getting old, but this instant satisfaction mindset is something I just don't understand.

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While I do appreciate (and wonder how I make due without it) the Internet and the speed of which one can get video game news now, I do really miss the anticipation of getting a new magazine. I was a regular subscriber to Nintendo Power and couldn't wait till the new issue arrived in the mail. Going down to the magazine shop and hoping the new EGM or GameFan was out was also great anticipation.

I don't think I could ever go back to a non-realtime intake of gaming news now.

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The obvious answer is INTERNET, but then again it's much more than that and it goes deeper. Think of it like basketball. To win, get the ball in the basket, simple right? What about shot clock violation? Traveling? Double Dribble? Back Court Violation? And other things so all of a sudden something that looks simple goes much deeper and complex. It's many things, The user and reader got older and has more priorities in their life, spending $30 or more on monthly gaming magazines when the money could be spent on home bills takes a back seat. Thats just one person lets say in 1997 who is 22 years old imagine their whole generation of people who are 22 at that point in time. People just losing interest, we all at some point like somethings and a year or so later we don't care about it. Companies being bought out and some publications not meeting the subscription and selling quotas, so they just cut them out, no company wants to lose money for the sake of it. TV is also another one, during the holidays i remember seeing many commercial for the playstation and n64 advertising the specials. But not just the holidays in the summer there were many tv spots for games and consoles daily. So you can see the game in question rather than just a screen shot. Content is huge, can you sell issues and issues of the same thing that appeals to a small audience in the world like PSM or Nintendo Power which focuses on one brand with many other in the field? Sure for a while yes but time will come when it starts to go down and you'll need to do something about it. If you cover a lot of things like EGM you will last longer a little but not that much longer. The medium hits it's stride and goes down. You look at the 1990 till 2000 and you'll see a lot of magazines slowly dying out, and after 2000 even more dying out, but it's not just the magazines look at the gaming websites. they are internet based, if internet killed gaming magazines how can it kill it's own? From 1995 till 2005 there were hundreds of websites dedicated to gaming and now how many are there? Same thing for computer stores. Every city in the 1990's had at least 20 or so computer shops how many does each city have now just for computers alone? User interest, lack of content, running servers and publications cost money an ad revenue is and might be good but not enough to cover all the costs. People need to be paid. So one company merges with another and so forth. People get to a point where they don't need to read a review to see if something has their interest. Sometimes a title is enough to spark interest or a game cover and so forth. Gaming even in today's day in age is a special market and is misunderstood and i don't mean iphone games. People still see games like a 1980 and 1990's thing for kids and teenagers. I don't know if anyone has also seen this but Best Buy is selling gym equipment, and selling pots and pans and things like that. They are trying to evolve to a bigger business need rather than just technology. Mos Def said it best on his song Mathematics. Why did one straw break the camel's back? Here's the secret: the million other straws underneath it.

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The Internet with its provider of FREE fast on the verge information,strategy and cheat codes:basically killed magazines companies.Let's not forget digitally FREE copies(piracy)along with the magazine once a month news that couldn't compete with the internets constant news updates by the seconds; that and when you factor in how much money they were losing in paying employees and such and you get a clear pictures. Heck the only reason console gaming is even alive today is because they figured out a way to make up for their losses(used rental stores,piracy etc..)with dlc,day one passes,digital veraions,multiple special editions of a game and mobile gaming which right now killing the handheld consoles.

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Robert, I have to wonder though... are modern "mobile" games ever really worth playing? I mean honestly... I can't tell you how many hours I spent staring at a Gameboy as a kid. Some of those games didn't have much to them, but others? Others were gold in a little gray cartridge. There are still some solid handheld games from generations past that hold up well today.

Frankly, I think I might be more suited to handheld gaming than console gaming, if only because of the types of games. The DS and 3DS have a rather killer library.

My point being though, are we ever gonna see a Link's Awakening exclusively on a mobile platform? I sincerely doubt it, since most mobile games I've seen or played are dumbed down cash grabs marketed as "games."

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Regarding Japan and their continued thriving market for print media, you should keep in mind that personal computer and internet usage isn't as prevalent here as most of the rest of the world. PCs and laptops are more likely to be used at work than at home, and most people only access the internet for personal use on their smartphones. This is part of the problem with Japanese web design, which is generally terrible (aesthetically), because it is usually necessary to make concessions for all of the mobile users accessing the sites. This gives print magazines a big advantage, as most of them are beautifully designed. Famitsu is a very well-designed magazine, for example. But take a look at their website, and it's extremely ugly webdesign which is clearly geared towards mobile users. Given the choice between their print and digital product, I certainly know which one I'D choose.

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Part of what had me lose interest in game magazines in the 90s was the increasing coverage of 32 bit systems and games. I had very little interest in the upcoming generation, and was still very happy with the 16 bit consoles. After buying the January 1997 issue of GamePro, I didn't buy another game magazine until the December 2007 issue of GamePro.

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Kitsunebi, funny you should mention website design being geared toward mobile users. Same thing has been happening more and more here in the states as well.

And Eday, you make an interesting point there. I had a sub to GamePro back in 96, up until probably late 97, early 98. Still have those issues, but other than that, the only magazine I ever really stuck with was PSM. I'd occasionally read others, but PSM scratched that itch, even once I had disposable income enough to get into the Gamecube and Xbox.

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