A Very Sad Month

We’ve been chatting in the fantastic Ready-Up forums of late about gaming magazines and with a wide spread of views. Such forum topics are commonplace with the prevailing view that despite there being great print magazines available they are dying a slow death manufactured by the lust for instant media combined with inherent funding problems. Such a view is unfortunately gaining legitimacy given the recent sad news coming from across the pond concerning one of the elders of gaming print, Electronic Gaming Monthly.

EGM, one of the most respected games magazines ever to have been published was closed recently as a result of the 1up Networks purchase by UGO. The magazine ran for twenty years and hosted some of the finest writers in the industry. Getting the balance between intelligent insight and basic readability is not easy but EGM achieved it with ease and was always worth a read.

What infuriates me about this fine magazine going under is that it had managed to modernise and show that gaming magazines could adapt to the challenges presented by the internet. The 1up Network under which EGM was published blurred the lines between website, community and print in a way I’ve not seen anyone else manage successfully in the gaming press. Articles and writers appeared on website and magazine both backed up by lively debate on the forums.

“The 1up Show” was a quirky video podcast which gave a semi-scripted look into the writing of the magazine along with chat about gaming, but nothing caught the public’s imagination quite like the podcasts. Five days a week there were themed podcasts each with a different cast chatting about their chosen fields. Everything from sports, MMOs, PC gaming to the console flagship of 1up Yours and being published on weekdays meant that the hosts’ personalities (that also wrote for the site/magazine) went with you through the working week. They kept you company on the commute, in boring lectures and when you were skiving from work whilst keeping you well informed with in depth, intelligent and witty chat.

Yet, despite doing so much right the cold hard realities of the industry remained. Magazines are funded on advertising and subscriptions. With advertising drying up and magazines waning in popularity the new bosses cut a swathe through the 1up Network. Along with EGM going down the pan, upwards of 40 people lost their jobs and most of the personalities which made 1up an internet phenomenon found themselves on that list.

The problem is that 1up did everything right and EGM was at the forefront of showing what a gaming magazine could be now that the internet is here and it still died. What hope have we, the consumer, if the people who get it right still lose? 2008 saw the death of Games for Windows magazine, another old girl of the industry who dared to innovate and paid the price. I fear sad days are ahead for the gaming press and for the consumer. The only hope is that people aren’t put off by EGM’s demise and continue to find a place for magazines alongside gaming websites instead of cutting their losses and cutting the magazines from circulation.







8 responses to “A Very Sad Month”

  1. arc14716 avatar

    The sad part about EGM folding is that it happened right when it was about to celebrate its 20th year. Also, there was no real warning, no real sign that this was going to happen, so there was no time for a proper farewell issue. The topper was that the next issue (Feb 2009) was gong to have a feature on Street Fighter IV.

    From what I read on one of the 1up blogs, that issue may one day show up on 1up.com. The cover story did show up, but the rest of the issue hasn’t yet.

    Still, EGM is going to be missed.

  2. Dave avatar

    Very sad indeed.

    I did my uni dissertation on the evolution of the gaming press and I did a whole section about the waning popularity of game magazines. The EGM example should make other publications sit up and take notice that there’s a sea change coming and it’s going to affect the entire industry – uncertain times indeed.

    As you said, EGM did everything right and still suffered, which makes it feel like more of an injustice 🙁

  3. Lorna avatar

    Wow, great post John and certainly a sobering read 🙁 Like others, I’m sure, gaming magazines have been part of my whole evolution when it comes to games. They are tightly woven into the fabric of my gaming past, present, and I hope – future. Sadly, I am behind the times when it comes to podcasts and have never viewed one…now it seems that I missed a fine chance from what has been sung of 1up’s virtues 🙁

    I continue to support the gaming press as much as I can and hope that it weathers the stormy seas. For all the welath of information and miinformation on the internet, I still prefer to get my news and views in print, I just hope that there will still be something there to read over the next few years…

  4. Jonny/IV DemonJ avatar
    Jonny/IV DemonJ

    Moving post. EGM has grown up with alot of gamers and i believe many magazines have had a lot of influence from EGM, and like you say, its a harrowing thought that the magazine that defined and inspired a genre, and its followers, has died a death… what hope have the rest?

  5. Ben avatar

    The lack of the 1up yours on my podcast will make for a lonely walk to Uni in the mornings.

    Many a time i’ve burst into laughter at a set of traffic lights much to the bemusement of those also waiting to cross the road.

    Do any of their magazines offer themselves in digital format yet? Not sure how popular that would be, but I’d imagine it would be quite nice to have my months news / reviews / previews all in one tasty .pdf file.

  6. Duncan Aird avatar
    Duncan Aird

    Rest In Print EGM. You were loved. 🙁

  7. John.B avatar

    “Many a time i’ve burst into laughter at a set of traffic lights much to the bemusement of those also waiting to cross the road.”

    God yeah, one time it was in a lift. I still remember the joke.

    “Yeah, the PS3 has cell phone numbers instead of Wii Friend Codes”

  8. Randy Shamak avatar
    Randy Shamak

    The content you have provided is pretty interesting and useful and I will surely take note of the point you have made in the blog.

    While I was browsing the Internet for ways to boost my website exposure, I read about how effective offline media is for getting additional exposure. Since online media advertising has become so competitive, I thought I will complement the online marketing efforts of my products with offline media advertising like newspaper and magazine advertising. This can be the best way to get a wider coverage for a website and draw additional traffic. I think it is a great marketing strategy to use both online and offline advertising to get more customers.

    I thought this information might be useful for anyone looking for solutions to get me-ore traffic to their website.

Leave a Reply