There Might Be Life Left In Game Magazines Yet

The traditional "news-previews-reviews" games magazine is a dying beast, but the idea of a magazine based on video games is still one worth saving. It just has to be done right. Like Amusement. Or in this case, Kill Screen.

Onto its second issue now, Kill Screen is the latest magazine to make the smart decision that in order to convince people to spend money on dead trees covered in words about video games, those words have to be unique, and they have to be interesting. That means a combination of features and art, dealing with topics like "decoding the mysteries of box art", asking "why the world wasn't ready for an Chinese learning MMO Pangea Online" and "interrogating a trader about the financial lessons of StarCraft".

You can get the mag via either subscription or single issue on Kill Screen's site.

[Kill Screen, via GSW]


    Interesting, I have bought a magazine since the time before last I travelled.

    Smells like self promotion by Luke Plunkett. I don't see how game magazines are dying exactly and why the internet keeps claiming they are old news. Sure, there isn't as many as there once was, but the selection now days is still good. I mean, you can't exactly use a PC while you're on the toilet.

      The mags are fine for editorials, but when it comes to news and previews (and even reviews), the time factor prevails. Everything is near-instantaneous on the internet, but magazines are only published at set times (typically monthly?), and hence can't provide information as quickly or effectively as an internet-based provider. As more people acknowlegde this and begin to use the internet over magazines for their game info, the magazines die off.

      Obviously you've never heard of these new things they call smart phones and tablets. Very easy to read your gaming news on the can actually.

      Anyway this always seemed ridiculously obvious didn't it? I've never brought a magazine for a review, feature articles are pretty much the single selling point. This isn't really any different for online sites too, IGN Insider used to have great feature articles but for some reason they stopped and now Insider sucks ass.

      Unique content = you can have my money. Reviews = f*** off, there is 60million of them.

    Yes Gameinformer sells 12 mill an issue and is more popular then Time, Oprah and is number 4 on circulation charts... it certainly will die.

    It's now also the most popular magazine in Australia getting to 25k in Australia in just over 6 months...

    This is really quite a shameless and rather silly plug.

    Gameinformer is wholly owned, and largely subsidized by Gamestop, so it's relative success is hardly a barometer for the rest of the industry. Leaving aside the whole this being a plug issue, the magazine industry is definitely in decline. The industry (across the board) has seen revenue drops of something like 40 percent over the last decade. As The Cracks noted, most of what we consider to be traditional game magazine content - previews, reviews, news - have been colonized by the internet. Gaming magazines (and magazines in general) are being forced to reconsider what they are providing to readers. It may be self serving for Luke to cite articles from a publication he is involved in, but it doesn't make him wrong.

    While reviews might be instant on the internet and really good for knowing if a game is worth the money at launch, magazine reviewers have the advantage of not being as rushed with a game and can provide a more analytical review. It doesn't necessarily mean that printed reviews are better or worse, they can just take a different approach.

    But magazines are no longer the domain of first hand information, so they have to focus more on feature articles, developer interviews, opinion columns and other content.

    There's a massive place for game magazines. I absolutely love GameInformer, I also love Kotaku. GameInformer and Kotaku have different styles and they offer different information. GameInformer always has exclusives, some of it's articles are even considered news in Kotaku, it's portable, I can lend it to friends. I can leave it on the coffee table and friends pick it up all the time and flick through, it's perfect for when I'm changing games or going to the bathroom or whatever, people can just have a read to pass the time. The quality is there with GameInformer, I consistently read them cover to cover just because I enjoy reading it so much, even games I'm not that interested in I'll read about. They have similar backgrounds in gaming as me and they have similar tastes to me, so it's a collation of all the things I'll find interesting for the month. It saves having to go trawling around other sites looking for info that Kotaku or PA haven't covered.

    The only magazine i was buying for years was Hyper. But with it's $10 price tag, i think its a bit too steep considering the news is old, and the features arent that interesting.

      I have seen your subscription to '60's +'.

    I wouldn't mind picking up a 'human interest' style game magazine like Reader's Digest or something (which I still pick up on a whim while waiting in the supermarket aisle). By that I mean, include gamer anecdotes, interesting inside stories, gaming concept art etc. Or even a periodical like an encyclopedia in the form of those lovely hardcover Blizzard coffee table art books that might come out quarterly or something.

    The previews, reviews, etc games type magazines are dying off precisely because there are far too many. And online publications can update instantly, can provide video content etc. Why bother spending $8 on a magazine when you read a review for a game you're interested in from Metacritic 3 weeks ago?

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