As someone who started their career in magazines and still loves magazines very much, the latest Audit Bureau of Circulations figures makes for grim reading. Sales are down, almost universally across the board, and video game magazines aren't exempt from the impact.
Magazine pic from Shutterstock
In relative terms, Tech Life was the worst hit, dropping from 14,894 to 11,116 — a 25.4% drop. Game Informer, a massive success story locally, also took a big hit dropping from 40,004 to 32,611. That makes for a 22.1% audience loss. PC & Tech Authority dropped 19% from 13,843 to 11,221. APC fell 8.8% from 18,461 to 16,837.
|Title||Jul-Dec 2014||Jan-Jun 2014||Jul-Dec 2013||Jan-Jun 2013||Jul-Dec 2012||Jan-June 2012||Jul-Dec 2011|
|PC & Tech Authority||11,211||12,290||13,843||15,175||16,633||17,207||20,030|
The numbers are starting to get quite low. From the table above we can see that magazine circulation has been dropping fairly consistently over the past few years, with the exception of Game Informer, which had a fairly stratospheric rise and is now feeling the crunch. Many other game magazines — like Hyper, and the Official PlayStation and Xbox magazines — didn't pay to be part of the audit, so it's difficult to get a broad view of where the market is, but the outlook isn't pretty.
However, the issue isn't exclusive to game and tech magazines — the drop is almost unilateral across all titles. Only a handful of magazines reported growth in circulation over the past six months. The vast, vast majority reported drops in circulation. Dolly suffered the biggest hit with a massive 42.2 drop in circulation. Even Frankie — one of Australia's most consistent high performers — suffered its first circulation drop ever, losing 3.5% of its audience.
The truth of it is, less and less people are reading magazines. That much is clear. Obviously video game magazines are going to be hit as part of that trend. That's a shame. Some of Australia's best game journalists are still employed in print, and I'd like to see more people read their work.
Thanks to Angus Kidman for the above table