Gaming And Tech Magazines Take A Hit In Circulation And Readership (But It’s Not All Bad)

Gaming And Tech Magazines Take A Hit In Circulation And Readership (But It’s Not All Bad)

In the last couple of years the story was a positive one for games magazines in Australia — almost across the board readership and circulation numbers rose steadily. But today, the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) released numbers that reversed that trend. The numbers, it seems, are starting to decrease.

For games and tech magazines, the ABC circulation numbers made for depressing reading.

Game Informer has typically been a strong performer in terms of circulation, partly as a result of its business model, and has risen steadily since launch. This is its first circulation drop since launch.

The more vague ‘readership’ numbers, put together by Roy Morgan, tell a similar story, but there are positives to be garnered from those numbers. Roy Morgan readership numbers are a little less… ‘reliable’ might not be the correct word — but it’s all based on estimates on precisely how many people are reading or have access to the magazine, as opposed to hard sales numbers. ‘Official’ magazines, for example, tend to come out a little stronger than, say, Hyper because people tend to recognise the magazine’s masthead, purely because they are aware of the Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo brands.

The Roy Morgan readership numbers still showed a small drop for Game Informer, but markedly less than the circulation numbers — a more reasonable 5.8% loss, not too shabby considering the magazine was coming off a 35.7% increase last time these numbers were released.

Hyper dropped a more significant amount, 24.7%. But it’s worth noting that Hyper made a ridiculous 84.1% increase last time round. These numbers may represent somewhat of a correction.

The Official Xbox Magazine continued its rise, with a 12.3% rise in readership, as did the Official PlayStation Mag with a 5.1% increase and PC Powerplay with a 4.4% increase.

So the news is not all bad, and the news that is bad, isn’t necessarily terrible. Almost all games magazines were coming off a serious amount of growth, it makes sense there would be some amount of tapering.


  • My PC PowerPlay subscription is up for renewal, and I’m hard pressed to come up with sufficient reasons to keep paying for them.

    • I bought heaps of Powerplay a few years ago, but pretty much since I have found Kotaku, I have not bought anymore. I find it hard to see what I cannot get, daily, from here that I wouldn’t get monthly from Powerplay. I still have all of my old issues, and it is cool to look back and see some of the old games that were in the pages that I still play. The reviews are pretty much the only thing that would get me back into it, they had a great tone and were fully committed to giving a proper review, from a PC Gaming perspective. It was THE place a few years ago to get your news and upcoming title fix, now with the internet, it is everywhere. Great writers and mag, it is just hard to justify the cost nowadays.

  • Not to make you feel guilty but Kotaku is the reason I stopped buying Hyper. By the time the magazine was in print most of the content was old news.

    • Agreed – between Kotaku, NEOGaf and VG24/7 (and all the links they post) I have no reason to waste money on Hyper – especially since their hipster review vibe took over

    • Boo!

      You don’t buy games magazines for news. There’s no other publication I trust for reviews and articles than HYPER

  • I wonder if these figures account for digital magazines such as Apple’s Newsstand and Zinio? I get all my magazines this way. Much cheaper ($20.99 for a year of Game Informer) and you have multimedia content embedded into the magazine as well.

  • My reason for getting PCPP, GI or any other mag, gaming or otherwise is pretty much for something to read on my daily tram ride to and from the city. I generally don’t buy Hyper because GI covers the same material and if I’m buying that, I have no need to double up on the same subject matter. I never buy the UK gaming mags because they’re really low grade toilet paper. I only mentioned them as there seems to be a huge representation of them at the newsagents I frequent.

  • Even I’ve stopped buying Hyper and I’ve been there since issue 1. I just wasn’t reading it anymore.

  • Pretty sure the only reason GameInformer sold in the first place was because EB Games upgraded your reward card level if you bought a subscription. After 12 monthly issues of sub-par game reporting and weeks-old news in every issue, one could guess that’s why sales dipped.

  • I’ve been buying HYPER for years and apart from a pretty bad period a few years ago I see no reason to stop. Kotaku et. al. are great for news but there’s nothing better than print for quality articles and reviews, that extra time really makes reviews more wholesome.

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