Two More Gaming Magazines Are Ending

UK gaming magazines GamesTM and GameMaster will publish their final issues next month, owner Future Publishing announced today. This news hits close to home for me as someone who used to read GamesTM and has always loved the feel of a nicely weighted, glossy gaming mag.

"Despite the company's strong performance overall, unfortunately games™ and GamesMaster are no longer profitable parts of the business, which means that their next issues, on sale November 1, will be the final editions," Future told GamesIndustry.biz in a statement. The staff will apparently be "redeployed" across other parts of its business.

Over at GamesTM's Twitter page, the magazine's current staff wrote: "We're proud to say that gamesTM leaves as it entered; fiercely independent unrepentant, forthright, unwavering, driven, curious, passionate and above all else made by a small team of gamers who love that they get to do this for a living."

GamesMaster, with which I'm less familiar, began publishing 25 years ago, but GamesTM's history began more recently in 2002 — a bizarre and belated time period to start a brand new print publication, perhaps, but a welcome sight nonetheless.

While the print gaming landscape was hollowed out many years ago in the US, the UK's suite of gaming magazines, most of them owned by Future, continued on through the 2000s. As Official US PlayStation Magazine, Electronic Gaming Monthly, Game Pro, and Nintendo Power all started folding around that time, the likes of GamesTM and Edge provided welcome substitutes. (Game Pro and Nintendo Power made it the longest, ending in 2011 and 2012 respectively).

Issue 140 of GamesTM was published in October of 2013. (Screenshot: GamesTM)

For me, these magazines were more expensive and had to ship across thousands of kilometres, but they offered all of the idiosyncrasies of reading about games in print: beautiful layouts, interviews with big names, and more in-depth reports on larger trends that didn't always fit in with what games writing on the internet was doing in the 2000s and early 2010s.

I wasn't and never did become a regular subscriber, but I remember occasionally walking into a Barnes and Noble or Borders, back when those still existed, and picking up one of the large, shiny booklets on impulse. For several years, my brother would buy me the latest GameTM issue for Christmas. I still have the 140th issue with Link from The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker plastered on top of a gold cover sitting on the shelf in my room.

The physical medium has other advantages too. It bundles stuff behind a subscription in a seemingly more organic way than online media, for which paywalls have always felt like an awkward fit. On the internet, each piece of content lives and dies predominately on its own. In a magazine, stories are bound together and their value can be reflected in the quality and curatorial strength of the overall package. 

Edge continues to exist in print form, at least for the time being, as do other game-related magazines in Future's portfolio, like PC Gamer and Retro Gamer. Given how fraught the media industry continues to be, though, their days seem numbered as well. In the US, there's still Game Informer, a magazine owned and published by Gamestop; the store includes a subscription to the print magazine as part of its loyalty program.

Three years ago, the magazine was redesigned to be slightly smaller with lighter paper. At this point, it's begun to feel like a relic from another era, along with Gamestop itself, as it continues down an uncertain path filled with the increase of digital game sales and hedge funds circling like vultures overhead.

Fortunately, print doesn't just disappear when it gets closed down. Even if we won't be getting any future issues of GamesTM and GameMaster, there will always been the physical remnants for people to read, exchange, and preserve. Guess I'll have to buy a nice frame for my Windwaker issue.


Comments

    As an avid reader of both these magazines at various times (I can remember when Games Master *started* as a companion mag to a TV show of the same name), I'm a little sad to see them both go.

    Also I seem to recall that GamesTM was the first magazine to print the work of noted Kotaku contributor Tim Rogers.

    No! Not Games Master! That has been around since I was in Primary School!
    Matt Berry, the comedic/musical genius (you'd know him as the 2nd boss from IT Crowd) used to be on the show (he got fired for crude humour). And that gian head thing.
    Future Publishing used to also do a bunch of Commodore 64 mags that were great.
    The gaming lanscape has evolved so much in the past decade and a half.
    I'm not really sure people can even identify as "gamers" the same way we used to since iPhone games and so forth.

      Did not know this about Matt Berry, bahaha sounds about right with his humour, love his work.It is kinda sad as we get older these things passing by the wayside. I still have some Zzap 64 mags in the shed.

    Sad to see them go!

    I was an avid reader of Games TM for a long time! Then I had to cut back on spending and finally last year I had to declutter and so I sent all my Games TM and Edge magazines to a local secondhand shop. (The library system said they only wanted 'new and exciting' things. Magazines older than 3 months weren't new and exciting enough.)

    It was hard to let them go. "They're mainly old news," I told myself. "Full of hype and reviews for things that died out long ago." If I knew then that Games TM would be folding in a year, perhaps I would have hung onto them.

    It seems that soon the only games magazines that'll be left are Game Informer, Retro Gamer, and the occasional Hyper special.

    Does Hyper magazine still exist? I haven't seen one in my local news agency since the GCN days.

      Apparently it's a Quarterly, now. I heard some news around it just recently, but can't remember what it was. Rights-transfer or something.

    Games was pretty cool but was second to me after PLAY magazine (not to confuse with the Playstation "Play" magazine), which died a good 5 or 6 years ago. That was the end of print gaming journalism to me. I believe I first adopted Kotaku because Mark Serrels reminded me in writing style to the editor of that magazine, whose editorials and game reviews I always enjoyed. Too bad Serrels doesn't do that much writing nowadays!

    Nintendo Magazine System and N64 Gamer were the ones my brothers and I loved back in the day. e3 editions were the best thing ever. By the time the GameCube came around, I went online for everything.

    I hope for the sake of fans and archivists they make back-issues available.

    After doing a bit of a clean-up of some old boxes in storage, I've been on a nostalgia kick, getting ahold of old copies of Nintendo Magazine System, PC Gamer, and PC Powerplay. There's a few decent archive sites out there, but a lot of them are membership-only clubs making some issues very difficult to come by, and not much is collected/sorted for as much ease of reading as I'd like.

    I sometimes miss the magazines of the mid-90s, before The Internet took over everything with so much output that it all turned into so much white noise. I'm actually considering ordering a few of the existing labels (PC Powerplay, PC Gamer) just to see how they're keeping up.

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