Game Informer is the world's most read games magazine, with over three million subscribers in the US. Now it's getting an Australian version.
Due to launch before the end of the year, the Aussie edition of Game Informer will be published by Citrus Media and backed by EB Games. Much of Game Informer's success overseas is down to its relationship with Gamestop, the biggest games retailer in the US and owner of EB Games. Gamestop customers get cheap subscriptions, you see. And with a readership of that size, Game Informer is often the first print publication to bring news of the biggest games.
We caught up with Game Informer Australia's launch editor Chris Stead, former editor of Australian GamePro and Gameplayer.com.au, for a quick chat about what you can expect.
Hey Chris, when's the first issue out? The first issue will be available before Christmas. Your readers should sign-up to the Facebook group Game Informer Australia to get updated on exact dates in the coming weeks.
So you're the editor, but who else do you have on the local staff? I’m the editor. We will have a local freelance team as well, headed up by Adam Mathew who I believe is one of the great reviewers on the local scene.
What's the relationship with EB? Will EB members get it free? EB Games will play a huge role in our distribution model, but that is the extent of the relationship. You’ll be able to pick the magazine up at the counter when you’re doing your games shopping at the bargain price of $4.95 and we’ve briefed the EB staff on just why Game Informer is considered the number 1 games magazine on the planet, so they’ll be helping us get the word out there. You’ll also be able to pick up a pretty amazing subscription offer through the stores. And that’s where the relationship stops - the magazine’s editorial independence is complete, it is solely distribution.
Will it be distributed in store and newsagents? As well as picking it up at EB, you will be able to find it at newsagents across the country for the same price. However, I believe that most Aussie gamers will feel compelled to subscribe once they get the product in their hands and get a feel for just how ahead of the game it is... especially as subscribing is so cheap. The way we’re positioning it and the content that we have, it’ll be a no-brainer.
What's your mission statement for the mag? To give Australian gamers the respect they deserve by getting them access to the biggest and best world exclusives first, and to ensure that the local scene gets representation in the world’s number one gaming publication.
How do you see Game Informer as compared to your most obvious competitor, Hyper? I am a big fan of Hyper: like many (if not all) journos in the local industry I had my ‘levelling-up’ period through the mag back in the '90s and that affection remains. Game Informer is on another level, however. The US magazine gets the biggest and the best things first, even ahead of online. I have access to all that content, plus the opportunities that I generate locally as well. It’s powerful stuff, especially as we will be going on sale more-or-less alongside the US – we’re a concurrent publication, not an out-dated port, which I hope shows the level of respect we have for the local gamers. That said, Hyper has battled through plenty of challenges over the last two decades, and I am sure the competition will work to the benefit of both mags’ editorial.
Won't you just be pimping EB preorders and used games? Editorially we will not be pimping anything that we don’t think the locals will enjoy reading. I guess sometimes that may be a pre-order if it is stupid cool (like night vision goggles). But that’ll be it. I can’t see any reason to talk up used games at all: really Game Informer is all about the present and future.
And finally... isn't print dead? Not at all. The US magazine has 3.6 million subscribers, which is a pretty long way from dead. I’ve just spent two-and-a-half years running a games website and to be honest, I think the anarchy of the medium acts to undermine it. In general, good editorial falls flat, and crap editorial rakes in the hits and there’s too much pressure to deliver traffic on an hourly basis for a lot of sites: editorial quality is the first thing to buckle. I am really looking forward to focusing over the course of a month on one product and channelling all that is awesome into it. With the unmissable cover features that the lads over in the US consistently nail and our price point, I think we’ll be offering something that will more than compete with online. It’s certainly going to be a fun finding out!
Thanks Chris. I'm curious to hear from you: do you still buy games magazines? If so, which ones? And are you interested in Game Informer?