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Games Entertainment

The Duel Between Gaming Magazines and Websites 84

Posted by Zonk
from the don't-bring-a-magazine-to-a-web-fight dept.
The New York Times has up a piece looking at the ongoing battle between websites and magazines in the world of games journalism. With magazine subscriptions falling every year and a non-stop churn of news online, the article examines the ways that mags try to stay competitive, and the views of the gamers that read them. "The circulation for PC Gamer, a leading magazine from Future US, shrank to 210,369 this year from 300,271 in 2003, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Magazine publishers say that readers want longer features and in-depth articles as a counterpoint to the short, bloglike pieces they find online. But Kyle Orland, a freelance journalist who writes a media coverage column for Gamedaily.com, wondered if that strategy was working, saying that when a large feature is published, it doesn't get read. 'Attention spans are just getting so small that readers don't know what they want,' Mr. Orland said."
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The Duel Between Gaming Magazines and Websites

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  • Nonsense (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cy Sperling (960158) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @02:03PM (#21338771)

    Magazine publishers say that readers want longer features and in-depth articles as a counterpoint to the short, bloglike pieces they find online. But Kyle Orland, a freelance journalist who writes a media coverage column for Gamedaily.com, wondered if that strategy was working, saying that when a large feature is published, it doesn't get read. 'Attention spans are just getting so small that readers don't know what they want,' Mr. Orland said."

    That is just plain ridiculous. If I am eagerly anticipating game X, and a magazine has an in-depth 8 page preview- of course I am going to read it. Are we all such twitchy ADD zombies that nobody can maintain their attention for more than a page? I call bullshit on that...

  • by Pojut (1027544) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @02:05PM (#21338805) Homepage
    I still have active subscriptions to Game Informer and PC Gamer because they make for great reading while on the toilet...yesyesyes, I know I could just bring my laptop in there, but...well...I'd rather not melt the plastic, if you know what I'm saying...

    Plus, while this happens rarely, there are times when I get a gaming mag in the mail and there is an article on a game that I haven't heard of from checking the normal sources online...again, doesn't happen often, but it does happen.
  • Re:Nonsense (Score:4, Insightful)

    by edwdig (47888) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @02:12PM (#21338909)
    That is just plain ridiculous. If I am eagerly anticipating game X, and a magazine has an in-depth 8 page preview- of course I am going to read it. Are we all such twitchy ADD zombies that nobody can maintain their attention for more than a page? I call bullshit on that...

    If it's an 8 page preview because it has 1 paragraph and 15 ads per page, then it's not going to keep many people's attention.
  • by Ang31us (1132361) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @02:20PM (#21339033) Homepage
    As far as I am concerned, the day of the video game magazine died when Next Generation Magazine died. They simply covered the industry very well from many angles. After its parent company cancelled the publication, I no longer had any reason to read video game magazines, because I could obtain the content online. Sure, I picked up Electronic Gaming Monthly from time to time when they covered a game that I was very interested in, but Next-Gen magazine was the gold standard as far as I was concerned. I'm glad that some of the editors got back together and formed the www.next-gen.biz website.
  • by Cy Sperling (960158) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @02:48PM (#21339487)

    Plus, while this happens rarely, there are times when I get a gaming mag in the mail and there is an article on a game that I haven't heard of from checking the normal sources online...again, doesn't happen often, but it does happen.

    That is a very good point. Magazines are great for stumbling across a game that you might not click-through to on a gaming blog. If your only exposure to a game is through the banner ads that most of us disable, or the single sentence link on a game-sites front page; you might be overlooking something.

  • by Amigori (177092) <eefranklin718@yah o o .com> on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @03:48PM (#21340381) Homepage
    Magazines are declining for the same reasons as newspapers, readers are going online daily, hourly, etc. Quality articles and objective reviews have been replaced by lots of pictures, advertisements (well, more than ever), and "non-objective" reviews. Some will argue that last point, but seriously...aside from the games you know will be lousy, everything else is usually in the 6.5-8.0 range. Statistical Bell Curve..yeah yeah, kinda defeats the purpose of a 10-point scale.

    Remember Next Generation? I had a subscription for a very long time, quality articles, in-depth reviews along with caption reviews, interviews with developers and company execs, extensive trade show coverage. Thankfully, its back as www.next-gen.biz . Even PC Gamer was pretty good back in the day. I still have a few 3.5" floppies around with demos on them and a stack of demo CDs (including one with the Halo E3 video, ah...what could have been). I stopped that subscription when the discs started containing fewer demos on them, everything got a 80% or better rating, % of ad-content rose, my 56k connection went broadband (thus eliminating the reason I needed the demo CDs), and the net sites improved.

    Additionally, many of us older gamers who bought subscriptions to GamePro, EGM, PCGamer, etc. were still young when we had 'unlimited' free time to spend playing games for hours at a time, memorizing articles and cheat codes, highlight the games we wanted in the Funcoland ad, and dream about winning those "Ultimate Gaming Rig, 52"TV, D-VHS, Stereo Sound, big speakers, 4 Systems, 100+ Games, etc." advertisement contests where you just needed to solve successively more difficult puzzles. We've grown up and have higher priorities which take time, so we just look for concise reviews, user opinions, and aggregators like gamerankings.com, assuming we're still playing games. Newer gamers can always remember IGN.com, 1Up.com, Gamespot.com, [insert your fav game site here], etc., but give a cursory glance through the magazines in the store, thinking "I read this X months ago." or "I have the full strategy guide at home."

    Is there a fix for gaming mags? No. People will always buy magazines from newstands, especially at the airport/subway terminals, the publishers will just need to adjust their circulation accordingly. Game websites will continue to grow and be purchased by conglomerates, for better or worse.

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