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Phillyman

Video Game Magazines Disappearing ......

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Went to Walmart tonight to pick up a few things, was very disappointed that there were zero video game magazines. The Men's section of magazines had around 10 gun magazines, 15 car magazines and a handful of fitness magazines.....but nothing for the gamer. Heck I even saw 3 different magazines for knitting.....WTF?

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Saw the same thing at my Walmart last week, though I know they carry them. Well, they carry two these days : EGM and OXBM.

Knitting and car magazines are different because they don't have to worry about late breaking news and stuff that people can easily get online. Video games is all about what's next and how soon that info is known. I don't know why, because the sooner you find out about a game, the longer you have to wait for it.

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Yeah I haven't found anything either, maybe if I check a bookstore I might find something. This was bound to happen though, no more tree use for that on the bright side. :Snes:

Trees are farmed, like corn and wheat. They don't cut down regular forests to make paper.

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Seriously though, I was buying issues of Games tm @ $17NZ for a while then the digital versions arrived @ $6.49NZ and I was ecstatic. Now I have subscribed to Imagine's Readr App and I get access to every back issue they have released of just about all their mags ... Retro Gamer, Games tm, Play tm, X360, Custom PC. PC Pro ... all for the monthly fee of $14NZ. That price cannot be beaten.

Now I wish Future plc would do something similar but we all know that is highly unlikely. And that they would make Nintendo Official Magazine available digitally. Then we'd have no excuses not to support them with our wallets.

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Even if Nintendo Power, GamePro, or any other old magazines resurrect in digital form only, I'm not going to subscribe. It may be convenient and cheaper for publishers to release magazines in digital form, I'm never going to buy into it. Just like the movie rental industry changing to download/streaming (aka Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc.), the video game magazine industry is doing the same thing. Believe it or not, video games in general are changing slowly to digital only as well. The next-gen systems are already talking about very large hard drives for downloadable games, perhaps even streaming games (GameStop, Onlive, and others are supporting this). Digital is the future, and I don't like it.

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Seriously though, I was buying issues of Games tm @ $17NZ for a while then the digital versions arrived @ $6.49NZ and I was ecstatic. Now I have subscribed to Imagine's Readr App and I get access to every back issue they have released of just about all their mags ... Retro Gamer, Games tm, Play tm, X360, Custom PC. PC Pro ... all for the monthly fee of $14NZ. That price cannot be beaten.

Now I wish Future plc would do something similar but we all know that is highly unlikely. And that they would make Nintendo Official Magazine available digitally. Then we'd have no excuses not to support them with our wallets.

Now if Future were to do something similar with back issues being a part of a digital subscription, I'd be forking over money to them again. As it is though, they have nothing of interest to me anymore...

Even if Nintendo Power, GamePro, or any other old magazines resurrect in digital form only, I'm not going to subscribe. It may be convenient and cheaper for publishers to release magazines in digital form, I'm never going to buy into it. Just like the movie rental industry changing to download/streaming (aka Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc.), the video game magazine industry is doing the same thing. Believe it or not, video games in general are changing slowly to digital only as well. The next-gen systems are already talking about very large hard drives for downloadable games, perhaps even streaming games (GameStop, Onlive, and others are supporting this). Digital is the future, and I don't like it.

Like I said above, if said magazines were to give access to their full back catalog of issues going back to their genesis, I'd be over that in a hurry. Would certainly save shelf space haha... Failing that though, why would you pay for the same info you can get on a dozen other sites? The only reason I still liked to sub to PTOM until the end was it gave me something to read on my break at work.

As for gaming going completely digital, I *might* see it happening if the price of absolutely massive hard drives drops drastically. As is, some games on PSN are upwards of 30gb. Now if every game were like that, how long would that 1tb drive last? Not nearly long enough for someone who likes to keep their games. As for GameStop supporting digital distribution only models, how would they make any money? When I buy something on PSN, my money goes to the developer through Sony. Why would anyone want a middle man in this model of business?

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The problem with PC magazines and Videogame magazines is that the people who read them wil obviously tend to be mroe tech savvy simply do to their interests. People who are tech savvy are going to go to blogs, websites, and news feeds for information on gaming. Not to mention gaming news comes about so rapidly these days that a magazine can't keep up. Nor can you beat the fidelity of new game images onle, trailers, or the rapid pace of rumors and leaked information.

It's ugly, but game magazines were destined to die. Those other magazines are still on a rack because their field doesn't play by the same rules en mass just yet. I'll never forget going into a store when I was younger to grab the latest issue of Game Players, but today that experience has long since died. I'm okay with it too... It's cool to have the actual magazines, but eventually it just strangles your living space.

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Now if Future were to do something similar with back issues being a part of a digital subscription, I'd be forking over money to them again. As it is though, they have nothing of interest to me anymore...

Like I said above, if said magazines were to give access to their full back catalog of issues going back to their genesis, I'd be over that in a hurry. Would certainly save shelf space haha... Failing that though, why would you pay for the same info you can get on a dozen other sites? The only reason I still liked to sub to PTOM until the end was it gave me something to read on my break at work.

As for gaming going completely digital, I *might* see it happening if the price of absolutely massive hard drives drops drastically. As is, some games on PSN are upwards of 30gb. Now if every game were like that, how long would that 1tb drive last? Not nearly long enough for someone who likes to keep their games. As for GameStop supporting digital distribution only models, how would they make any money? When I buy something on PSN, my money goes to the developer through Sony. Why would anyone want a middle man in this model of business?

Well, downloadable games are one thing, but streaming games are coming as well. Those don't need hard drives. They just stream directly to your TV like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu Plus, etc. The Onlive service started the whole thing (http://www.onlive.com). The game is hosted on servers remotely and stream directly to your PC or console. Onlive has a little console you connect to the TV for that as well This does make consoles real cheap, since the servers handle all the work of processing the game. And you don't need a real high-end PC to play certain games. It's all beamed directly to your rig. GameStop is working on their streaming service as we speak (http://www.joystiq.com/2012/09/06/gamestop-streaming-service-to-include-demos-possibly-extra-game/).

I assume a company like GameStop would have contracts with many different publishers to sell games via their streaming service in the future. Every title that people stream, they get a cut in the deal, very similar to cable companies and streaming folks like Netflix and Hulu. The middle man will always be there, since they have the marketing muscle to get games to people so that developers, publishers, and console manufacturers can focus on making games.

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Luuthian, I have lived in some rather TINY living spaces (think an 8x9 foot room for a bed, couch, chair, and ~15 years of acumulated gaming and car hobby stuff), but I can't honestly say that gaming magazines ever really "strangled" my living space. You just have to get creative. Now, I finally have a bookshelf to display them on, they take up all of one bottom shelf, or approximately 2.5" in width. Not too bad, plus it makes the rest of the bookshelf nice and stable. :)

Ctophil, I can see that streaming thing working for *some* games, but not all. Folks don't like it as it is when their internet connection causes lag in shooters, driving games, MMO's, etc. I can only imagine the hurdle it would be to make something like that work. A game like GT5 or MGS on a streaming service? I uh... just don't see it happening. Games like Worms, Angry Birds, or other classic games, that would be an ideal model, at least until the company doesn't feel like keeping the servers online for that game anymore. As a consumer, I don't like the idea that the company can pull the plug on a game I paid them to let me play... Hard to say whether it will pan out for the best though. Until we have 25+mb/s internet connections as a standard throughout the country though, I'm not holding my breath on it being THE way going forward. Cool idea though.

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Recently, the announcement of Playstation 4 has assured us that the near future is all about digital streaming games. It is going to be a digital world, regardless if you like it or not. http://community.retromags.com/topic/8358-playstation-4-announcement/ I'm not going to talk about that aspect since I have already mentioned it many times before. In addition, the next Xbox is also rumored to be online only and requires you to install the game if you still happen to buy one of those caveman disc things.

But I digress, let me go ahead and talk about Game Informer, @Gamer Magazine, and EGM--three final multi-platform game magazines in the U.S. that have print editions. You might be asking what about the relaunched GameFan? Well, I guess they still exist. But barely. http://www.gamefanmag.com

In the latest @Gamer issue (April 2013), there was a letter from a fellow gamer that read, "Is it true @Gamer is going digital only? How will we get each issue's coupons?" Response from @Gamer, "The magazine is not going 'digital only' just yet. Any subscriber who currently gets a print version will continue to do so until their time of renewal, at which point they will be switched to the digital version. Coupons are sent via e-mail and can be redeemed either online or in your Best Buy store."

That pretty much tells the whole story. @Gamer will become digital only this year as I suspected. On the Game Informer front, GameStop employees have been pushing the digital version to new subscribers and renewals aggressively. Here is an article about it: http://kotaku.com/5913419/gamestop-says-they-wont-mess-with-your-game-informer-subscription-after-all Definitely a huge sign that Game Informer will go digital only at the latest next year.

As for EGM, I didn't have much hope for it since they became bi-monthly. They are still sending issues, but are usually late or sporadic. Their online presence, http://www.egmnow.com, is still strong. I assure you they will be migrating to digital only either before or at the same time as the other two magazines.

All we have left is the Official Xbox Magazine, the only system-specific game magazine left in the U.S. I assume they will close it down completely once it becomes the lone ranger in the marketplace, or Future US/Microsoft will make it become digital-only to match Nintendo's philosophy of modern gaming media (i.e. death of Nintendo Power).

There's the fan-based Nintendo Force Magazine http://www.nintendoforcemagazine.com, which is cool. I hope they will last a long time.

I understand that some of you would rather have the digital version because of space issues, convenience, save trees, etc. However, like I said numerous times, nothing can replace print, perhaps an alternative to it but not replacement. The UK game magazine market is still pretty strong. We should take a few lessons from them about quality print media. I admire their ability to maintain high-quality magazines, both in content and sheer quantity. Doesn't this sound like video game magazines in the U.S. over a decade ago? Perhaps if we kept the quality writing in these magazines, people wouldn't migrate to digital devices so easily. I would say so.

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I read magazines precisely because I do not want to be staring at a screen all the time. Magazines get me away from screens. As magazines go digital only, I will stop reading them. It seems like everything we do these days needs to involve staring at a bright, colourful screen. I stare at screens enough as it is without owning a tablet yet, and I don't even read digital magazines.

While it is inevitable, I will not be participating.

The reason the UK magazine market is strong is because they are a small country. Their circulation numbers are tiny compared to what it takes to have a successful magazine in North America, but they are also about the size of California. It's a lot cheaper to ship magazines in an area that size than it is to cover all of the US and Canada. They might be able to get around this by contracting out with printers in various regions to print and distribute their magazines within a smaller area, but the number of agreements you would need to keep the areas a reasonable size would probably get expensive.

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I'm with you E-Day. That, and when the power goes out and the tablet / e-reader battery dies, my books still work just fine. Sometimes, Analog technology has its place...

Some days, I really think that the internet, for all the advances it has made in communications, has really ruined a lot of what made gaming (and my childhood in general) a lot less special. I'll be over here brooding like a grumpy old man haha. :P

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Yeah, interesting facts there, E-day. However, I think it's more about greed than just trying to cut costs due to declining readership. Physical magazines depend mostly on ads, not subscription fees nor people buying at the local store. If they did depend on the latter things, they would be bankrupt in a couple of issues. If publishers never put their mags on digital devices, then readers have no option but to keep subscribing to their favorite magazines. There are enough hardcore to regular readers out there to keep the print editions going. Of course, there are the average joe who just picks up a mag here and there at the bookstands. Online web sites that have up-to-the-minute news on gaming and reviews never really cater towards the hardcore nor even regular readers. This audience only reads web sites to supplement the magazines, not to replace them.

On the lighter side, we do have a ton of glowing screens everyday. Ahem, let's see...we got the TV to watch movies, news, and shows. We got our cell phones, tablets, and smart phones. We play video games on TVs and portable systems with glowing screens in all sizes. We work and play in front of computers and laptops all day. Our game controllers even have screens now like the Wii U and Playstation 4. I'm sure Xbox will soon copy that too. Our GPS systems, refrigerators, thermostats, car dashboards, stereo systems, Blu-ray/DVD players, seat warmers, vending machines, washing/dryer machines, and even toilets in Japan all have at least a LCD screen these days. So reading a printed magazine is a sigh of relief for my eyes.

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But the number of ads in the current magazines are nowhere near enough to sustain them (save for maybe Game Informer). A healthy magazine will have almost 50% ads, something not even Game Informer can do. Even if a magazine has a 3 million subscription base, companies know that tens of millions will see their ads if they are online instead. As it stands, I am not sure that the readership and the number of ads are enough to sustain a print magazine alone, where it is printed in a handful of places and has distributed over more than 24 million square kilometers, without supplemented income from web ads and digital subscriptions which eliminate the printing and distribution costs.

I don't like it, but I can see the reasoning behind it.

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I read magazines precisely because I do not want to be staring at a screen all the time. Magazines get me away from screens. As magazines go digital only, I will stop reading them. It seems like everything we do these days needs to involve staring at a bright, colourful screen. I stare at screens enough as it is without owning a tablet yet, and I don't even read digital magazines.

Doesn't Retromags digitise magazines for reading on a PC/tablet/iphone? ;)

The reason the UK magazine market is strong is because they are a small country. Their circulation numbers are tiny compared to what it takes to have a successful magazine in North America, but they are also about the size of California. It's a lot cheaper to ship magazines in an area that size than it is to cover all of the US and Canada.

Yes, compared to the whole of the US and Canada, the UK magazine market is obviously smaller, but is in proportion to its country's population. Even by UK circulation standards, there are a bunch of games mags still doing respectable circulation figures. All this means they make a profit. Also, a lot of magazines rely on subscriptions, which is why the UK still manages to do well.

And here's one of the main reasons why magazines are failing across US/Canada. Back in the 90s, publishers offered readers dirt cheap subscriptions at a loss with the plan in recouping losses with ad revenue. Not a problem in the 1990s when page count and ad revenue were at an all time high. That marketing strategy is now coming back to kick publishers in the rear end as ad revenue has plummeted over the past decade.

Essentially, no ad revenue + no circulation profit = no magazines.

This is the reason why there is no US version of Retro Gamer, which survives in the UK on virtually readership alone. In 2004, people laughed at the idea of a dedicated retrogaming magazine with zero ad revenue. Nine years later, Retro Gamer is still going strong.

Yeah, it's sad to loose print gaming magazines... inevitable, but sad. That doesn't mean we can't still enjoy reading a gaming magazine just because it is now digital.

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Doesn't Retromags digitise magazines for reading on a PC/tablet/iphone? ;)

Yes we do, because that is really the only way to read them. If publishers reprinted and sold those old issues, we wouldn't be doing this.

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Yes we do, because that is really the only way to read them. If publishers reprinted and sold those old issues, we wouldn't be doing this.

Well, not striclty true, but probably the easiest and most convenient way to preserve them en masse.

But my original point was perhaps misleading... I had assumed you disliked digital mags and staring at screens, etc. If that's not the case, my bad.

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