Australian Video Game Magazines Are On The Up, Maybe Print Is Alive And Well?

Australian Video Game Magazines Are On The Up, Maybe Print Is Alive And Well?
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I have a soft spot for video game magazines. I spent a long time editing and writing for them, so every time a magazine closes or someone hastily declares the death of print I feel a little sad. The good news, however, is that the most recent Roy Morgan magazine readership figures have been released and video game magazines are among displaying the largest growth in readership.

In terms of percentage growth Hyper leads the way with a massive 84.1% increase from 44,000 to 81,000. As a mag that employees a lot great local freelance writers that makes me quite happy. The Official Xbox Magazine leapt from 148,000 to 180,000 and Game Informer saw a 35.7% increase from 143,000 to 194,000.

In fact almost every major Australian video game magazine either increased its readership or remained static, which is good news for folks who, like me, still enjoy reading magazines.

Roy Morgan research has always been a bit of a grey area in terms of what it represents. It’s not circulation numbers, more of a measure of how many people are thought to be reading and engaging with a masthead. It’s fair to say that you should always take these kind of numbers with a proverbial grain of salt, but it’s still great to see that video game mags are still a force locally.


  • This is great news all round. Though it’s a little disappointing that Hyper, elder statesman that it is, has significantly less circulation than the other guys. They need to do something like get JB to sell them to people on the counter!

    • Well Game Informer is only $5 and has a crazy cheap subscription rate which I imagine helps a lot with circulation.

      • From watching the journalists talking about it on Twitter during last night’s MCV awards, it sounds like it’s so cheap because most of the content is recycled from the US? If so, that’s a bit of a shame because it surely can’t provide as many local journalism jobs as its circulation would imply.

        Though I can’t comment from personal experience as I don’t read it (but do still have my Hyper subscription!)

        • From reading it there is a fair amount that’s recycled. I’d say most of the huge exclusives are US born and probably a fair chunk of the previews and reviews. There’s definitely a quality Australian component to the magazine which is good. It’s also about half the size of your average magazine.

  • I have a soft spot for Hyper – the magazine of my childhood.

    I stole a copy of the Chun-Li covered first issue from my guidance councillor’s office in the fifth grade (at a time when the mag had been out for about 2 years). Man… that makes me sound like a real delinquent.

    • I remember finding that issue at the newsagent when it first came out. I spent about half an hour reading it in the store, at which point I figured I should probably buy it! 20 years later and I’m still reading it!

        • Or it’s really, really good. Man, Streetfighter II, and that Lawnmower Man virtual sex article…

          • I got in on the 2nd issue as a, what, a 9 year old? Anyway that first issue was available for back order and always shown on the subscription page. That virtual sex article, advertised so blatantly on the front cover, was the white whale of my childhood… Never did get to read it.

    • Yeah I always loved Hyper growing up as a kid.
      I find now that even if I buy them I don’t give them much of a read, there’s always fresher information on the net and I have enough money nowadays that If I think a game looks good I won’t wait for the ‘big rubber stamp’ before I lay down my dollars.

      Back in the days of pre mainstream internet, when demo’s didn’t exist for all but PC freeware…. Hyper was THE bible for Christmas/ Birthday/ pocket money expenditure and I’d read every issue front to back.

  • I read Hyper for years (the photo captions made me laugh) then stopped maybe 2005. The only magazine I buy anymore is Retro Gamer and occasionaly DWM (Dr Who Magazine). News is quicker via the net and frankly the point of difference (feature articles) typically dont stand up to what is freely available. Does anyone here still read Hyper? Is it worth my while?

    • The photo captions were the funniest of any magazine I ever read. At some point they became less funny – maybe the writer’s changed – but for a while there, they were the best.

      I remember seeing Cam Shea on IGN (I think he was editor of Hyper when I last stopped reading them) and thinking “Hey, there’s the Hyper guy”.

      Good old Hyper!

    • Pretty much in the same boat, I’ve got a stack of about 3-4 years of Hyper magazines without missing an issue in a box somewhere, but the few times I’ve bought game mags in the last 5 years I’ve already known every single bit of information I read in them, and reviews are so homogenized these days that there’s really just no way for me to justify the purchases, hell the last time I read something gaming industry on a plane I was actually correcting information. I’m glad people still enjoy magazines, and I don’t think print is dead, but I do think it needs to be in a different place than what it used to.

      Mind you I just bought my partner a Real Living Magazine subscription, perhaps more tech oriented people are just a tougher crowd with their internet information sucking association, makes it hard for PC/Games magazines though surely. Hope Hyper sticks around for years to come even if it’s not for me anymore.

    • Stopped reading when Eliot Fish left, and Cam Shea took over. The magazine went really stupid for a while but when Wilks became editor, he did a really great job.

  • Fantastic news, very happy to see Hyper is still thriving.
    I’ve been following them since issue 92 (with Quake 2 on the cover), they’ve always been a good lot.

  • I kind of regret that I fell out of the habit of reading Hyper. I kind of got a couple of issues behind back in 09, then never read the new ones because I still intended on going through the old ones. Think I had a subscription for another year or two before deciding not to renew 😛

    Glad it’s still going though. It’d have to be one of the oldest surviving game mags now, wouldn’t it? Especially now Nintendo Power’s gone.

  • Amiga Power was the best gaming mag ever. They once ran an advert for the movie Batman Forever but wanted to warn their readers it was a crap film. So they added “stamping on a human face” in between ‘Batman’ and ‘Forever’. That’s sheer class that is,

  • I was always a PC PowerPlay kid myself. That an the Offical Playstation magazines. I forget what they were called. That and car magazines. In fact, the whole reason why I started collecting car magazines when I was about 8 years old was because the first one I bought had a tiny tiny picture in the bottom right of a naked stripper. And that’s how I got into cars!

    • PC power play ftw man, I still have a subscription and read it every month. However I do have a subscription to game informer as well and If you have a look at the iPad version, you will see just how much is lifted from the us

  • I was subbed to hyper back in 2000 or so. – I stopped when I discovered the internet though.

    Game Informer is my current subscription, I love it.

  • I had a Hyper subscription when I was a kid, but then another mag (I think it was PC Power Play) started running an ad featuring ‘gaming sex symbols, then and now’ on the back cover. After seeing it for two or three months in a row my Dad wouldn’t let me renew the subscription, ’cause he didn’t think it was appropriate. So I’m not a fan of PCPP.

    • They struggled with ads. I remember they used to run those mobile phone adds to download wall papers and polyphonic ring tones that cost an arm and a leg, everyone hated them.

  • I wonder what the demographics for these magazines are? Are older folk (like myself) still getting mags because that’s all we could do 20-ish years ago, or are young’uns getting into the print media, even though they virtually have the world at their fingertips?

  • There is just a difference in quailty of the journalism between print and web. Web journos are rushed to get the articles out straight away.

  • People have been predicting the death of print since at least the 80s, and I wouldn’t mind betting it goes back to the birth of radio, or cinema or even further.

    It’s not going anywhere. It’ll struggle and diminish in a crowded market, but it will survive.

  • I used to be an avid reader of PC Powerplay. It is a great magazine, but in the last few years, sites such as this one have been my go to source. Powerplay was the place to get the best PC info, I am surprised they can still survive. all of the latest news gets broken online these days where the mags are usually a few weeks behind. Great still for exclusive previews and well balanced reviews. Maybe I should renew my subscription.

  • I started buying gaming magazines to read at work now, myself. They’re great to have since you can’t read books at my workplace. And they keep it interesting. They got rid of one of the authors from Hyper iirc, I miss him. He had a sense of humour, a really good one too.

  • Nothing better then reading an issue of Game Informer on the way to work each morning 🙂

  • Back in the day I used to be an avid N.M.S. reader. (That’s “Nintendo Magazine System,” for those of you born post-1995) Looking back at my collection now (I own every single issue) it’s blatantly Nintendo-based propaganda, but I still loved it. After N.M.S. folded I moved on to Hyper, which I’d casually courted during the N.M.S. years anyway. I subscribed for years, and I’ve got an entire shelf of my cupboard full of the mags. The reason I let my subscription lapse a few years back was more my waning interest in the gaming world in general.

    Whenever I’m on holidays and have time to read, I love picking up a Hyper at the newsagent (even if it is TEN BUCKS now… unbelievable…) and reliving the joy of discovering the contents of a printed magazine. Nothing on the web beats that.

    • NMS was awesome! Thought it was distinctly less awesome after about issue 60 or so when they stopped giving bad reviews to games that deserved it. I keep an eye out for the first thirty – forty issues whenever I go to markets or op shops just in the hopes I can read the ones I missed.

      I did get a letter printed in the last issue though.

  • I used to get Hyper magazine religiously, I got every single issue, every month, for at least 6-7 years, still got them around somewhere. I loved that magazine. I only stopped buying it when I felt they got a little too biased towards Nintendo stuff around the time the Gamecube came out, but I still love Hyper even though I haven’t bought a gaming magazine for years.

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