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The Media Games

GamePro Shutting Down After 22 Years 91

Posted by Soulskill
from the is-this-the-new-gamepro-killer dept.
redletterdave writes "Popular gaming magazine GamePro has shut down its U.S. operations after 22 years of publications by its parent company IDG. GamePro's website, which has been online for about 13 years, will be converted to a gaming channel and incorporated into PCWorld on Dec. 5. Sources within the magazine say GamePro's employees, including its executives, received phone calls this morning with the news. The news comes as a relative surprise, as GamePro experienced its highest traffic ever last week. The company also released its first quarterly magazine earlier this month after deciding monthly print issues were too costly to maintain."
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GamePro Shutting Down After 22 Years

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  • by SharkLaser (2495316) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @06:49PM (#38220926) Journal
    That is the sad news. They didn't gain enough visitors. If you look at their traffics and compare to other sites:

    Gamepro [alexa.com]: Alexa rank 6489

    and competitors
    IGN [alexa.com]: Alexa rank 306
    Gamespot [alexa.com]: 412

    They just didn't have a change. Personally, I've never heard about them either. If I had and they gave good content, I probably would.. but I never got there via any means. For the other internet age publications, I found Kotaku and RockPaperShotgun and they serve me gaming news just fine. As for TF2, Reddit does great job.

    So, was there anything special Gamespy offered that the others didn't?
    • +1 for having never heard of them. To me the internet is the same tomorrow as it was yesterday.

      What good are they to me if I've never been to their site or even know the name?

    • by exomondo (1725132) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @07:10PM (#38221066)

      So, was there anything special Gamespy offered that the others didn't?

      You mean Gamepro?

    • I found Kotaku and RockPaperShotgun and they serve me gaming news just fine. As for TF2, Reddit does great job.

      I don't understand. TF2 news? You need gaming news for a specific online FPS? One that has it's own humorous blog with tons of information on every small detail about the game [teamfortress.com]? One that sends you messages when you log on and that you must be online to really play?

      • by Hadlock (143607)

        TF2 has a lot of user generated content that isn't officially supported by Valve. Something like 10 worthwhile user made maps come out each month, in addition to whatever spin offs people come up with. For a single game it probably produces as much content as a bigger game like WoW or similar.

      • News, but also all the fun pictures and videos. Team Fortress 2 has great comedic gameplay value to it. TF2 also has item trading in the game and you understand the prices and what everything is worth if you read about it a lot.

        I used to play TF2 when it came out, but then forgot about it only until trying it again shortly before it went free to play. It had changed and improved dramatically over the years, and whole time I kept getting special items I got when pre-ordering other games like Left4Dead. Lon
    • That is the sad news. They didn't gain enough visitors.

      they were really Gamenoob

    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      If its like the rest of the gaming mags lately where EVERY game gets a "happy ending" review of 80% plus? Good riddance to bad rubbish. Frankly the game mags have gotten so damned bought off that I only trust the MOR reviews in Amazon anymore. The top reviews you have to watch for the astroturf but the ones in the middle of the pack are usually just normal Joes.

      Frankly I gave up on the mags when they started handing out glowing reviews for even the bottom of the barrel dreck like Turning Point: Fall of Libe

    • by twocows (1216842)
      Pretty much every service you've named as popular or positive is one that I've had vastly negative experiences with (exception being RPS, who have always been pretty cool in my book). GamePro wasn't anything great either, but I did have a lot of good memories of their magazine. It's a bit sad to see them go.
    • by dskzero (960168)
      ... do you really read Kotaku?
  • by Tufriast (824996) * on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @06:54PM (#38220970)
    Hello! Don't shut down the site, just shut down the print and go to iOS NewsStand! Was this even considered? This was the first gaming magazine I ever read. I have issue #1 in my attic some place, and yeah, I thought it was grand. Now, the market has changed, and they give up? What the hell, is it that American companies just LACK agility in any shape or form these days? I can think of maybe 5 off the top of my head that will come against a big change and go "ok we can handle this" instead of doing like GamePro and caving. Ok I'm done ranting, but seriously, what is with the print industry? Sure, print is done, but DON'T kill the horse. Start a games site. See Destructoid or some other successful indie gaming news outlet. They started indie and made it big. GamePro would have had the advantage of starting big and STAYING BIG.
    • by Synerg1y (2169962)

      I totally agree, I loved gamepro back in the day, the day I'd get it in the mail was a good day. I don't need it in the mail nowadays because I go online google the game and come up with a ton of reviews, I've come across some gamepro reviews, but they've been dropping away. One thing I did notice though is compared to the old magazines, the reviews I found online from gamepro often left me unsatisfied and unsure on my decision of whether to buy, or sometimes even whether I should pursue the game at all.

      I

    • by angry tapir (1463043) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @07:01PM (#38221018) Homepage
      Well they would already have had online revenue from the website, and I doubt this was a snap decision. Trust me, at the moment publishing is a really hard industry to be in, and really hard to be profitable in. It's not just as easy as saying "Whoo! Digital revenue instead of deadtree revenue!"

      (Kind of disclaimer: I actually work for IDG's Australian subsidiary -- shameless plug: http://www.techworld.com.au/ [techworld.com.au] -- but I don't know the ins and outs of this decision. It's pretty sad though, given the Gamepro brand is pretty venerable in its particular niche.)

    • by theArtificial (613980) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @09:28PM (#38222288)
      Greetings. Speaking as someone who is involved in the print industry, our company works/ed with many large and small papers across the US as well as in several countries over the last 40 years supplying software for advertisement accounts receivable and circulation management.

      This was the first gaming magazine I ever read. I have issue #1 in my attic some place, and yeah, I thought it was grand. Now, the market has changed, and they give up? What the hell, is it that American companies just LACK agility in any shape or form these days?

      I noticed you didn't say "I have their latest magazine on my desk". I think you may be able to answer your own question: How many people 35 and under in your circle regularly purchase magazines or maintain active subscriptions, even to papers? Heck, I hardly purchase them any more opting for online sources which don't require a subscription ("free" isn't my only metric, my habits have changed from 15 years ago). Typically I make a few magazine/news paper purchases a year and using this year as an example I recall purchasing 2600 and maybe a neat specialty bookazine (200 pages of CG stuff from the UK) throughout the year. Many of my friends do not even do that, but they do make book and misc. purchases from Amazon throughout the year. How much competition is there in the video game segment?

      Where and how people get information has changed significantly. In addition to that, what people are willing to pay for has changed as well. Another example from that past is to look at how news groups used to be THE way to get information online. Now forums have replaced news groups for the most part, see stackexchange.

      I can think of maybe 5 off the top of my head that will come against a big change and go "ok we can handle this" instead of doing like GamePro and caving.

      And how many have folded in that same period? Shrinking pie [printinthemix.com].

      Ok I'm done ranting, but seriously, what is with the print industry? Sure, print is done, but DON'T kill the horse. Start a games site. See Destructoid or some other successful indie gaming news outlet. They started indie and made it big. GamePro would have had the advantage of starting big and STAYING BIG.

      I don't think you're aware of print margins either but maybe their business isn't viable without the print. How much overhead is there (take someone's salary and double that for a rule of thumb business costs)? See how much effort is involved in maintaining a sales force, steady income via subscriptions and/or advertisers, distribution, creative (writers, designers), legal etc. It's a lot of work and to say "you just give up when the market changes?" is hilarious. In the software world buyouts happen all the time - look at Google (Picasa!), Microsoft (Security Essentials), Apple etc. Look at the phone industry. I digress. Since there is now one less player, and you're confident in the demand for the services this publication provided now is your chance to shine, who knows, you might be able to scratch an itch.

      • by Dogtanian (588974)

        How many people 35 and under in your circle regularly purchase magazines or maintain active subscriptions, even to papers?

        I'm just outside your target range, and I haven't bought a magazine for around 2 1/2 years. And I remember *that* because it was the first time I'd bought a magazine in a while.

        OTOH, I still read and buy newspapers, despite the fact that the news is often (annoyingly) out of date by the time I read them properly. The analysis often makes up for this, and I just prefer reading papers for longer articles.

        • I tend to buy things for other reasons such as layout ideas and trends or even because something interesting caught my eye. I purchase magazines and papers on a whim and only a handful of times throughout the year. I have more of a "Do I really need this?" moment with electronic purchases for under $10. (I do this for larger purchases too, but I seem to really burn mental cycles over it for the "small" purchases.

          When I buy papers and magazines it's simply because I find it relaxing to hold and read espec
  • by mrmeval (662166) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [lavemrm]> on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @07:03PM (#38221034) Journal

    Who? I'm baffled by this as...who is this?

    No really.

    22 years you say?

    I should KNOW them.

    Ah well.

    • Back when I was buying gaming magazines there wasn't much choice if you wanted something spanning multiple platforms. GamePro was one of the highest quality magazine during that era. I don't know how it performed over time as I stopped paying attention. They have had periods of much success over time including a show on TV at one time.
  • by ackthpt (218170) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @07:18PM (#38221106) Homepage Journal

    That's usually a pretty bad sign, right there. While magazines seem to be dying everywhere, I'm completely at a loss for the hige number of magazines in a local bookseller, which appear to cater to select readership. There must be something they do right.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      If I'm not mistaken, magazines work like the book industry; the unsold copies can be returned to the publisher for a refund. This means you can see books/magazines everywhere in physical stores, but if nobody is buying them, the bookseller will send those right back home to the publisher and collect their refunds. Or maybe they rip off the covers and send those back. Something like that.

      End result is that a publisher can't count their money until all the remainders are in.

      • by Tim C (15259)
        My parents used to own a newsagent's and you are correct - unsold magazines were returned to the distributor for a refund. This is going back about 7 years mind, but I'd be surprised if the situation had changed since.
  • by Daetrin (576516) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @07:29PM (#38221176)
    I'd just belatedly started listening to Kat Bailey's "new" Roleplayers' Realm podcast on GamePro, after she moved there from 1UP's "ATB" podcast. I guess there's still RPGFan's podcast to try and fill that niche, but i hope that she and everyone else at GamePro manage to land on their feet =/
  • by flimflammer (956759) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @07:29PM (#38221180)

    Haven't dealt with GamePro in ~14 years. I actually wasn't even aware they were still in business, which I guess was part of the problem. I still remember all the GamePro and Nintendo Power magazines I had in the late 80s/early 90s. I probably still have them somewhere...

    • by Digicrat (973598)

      Same here, though I kind of knew they were still around from a few random encounters with their website or magazine in the store (on average once every other year...).

      Anyone remember SwatPro, their spinoff magazine printing just game cheat codes? Short-lived, but memorable in the days before the net took over.

      I also recall at some point in the late 90s losing interest in GamePro when I realized that 3/4 of the magazine seemed to be nothing but ads...

    • I remember my first edition of Nintendo Power and the fold out guides to Zelda. Oh, and that section of codes. I've always cracked open to that section first. What kid didn't? :) But the best had to have been EGM (Electronic Gaming Monthly) back in the 16bit console war era. Each month was jammed packed with news, gaming gossips, reviews, and of course, Japanese console gear galore and imports you could order from at the back of each edition. Back then, gaming was much more elusive and mysterious than it is

      • by BTWR (540147)
        I agree 100%. In the mid 90s, EGM was 100% of all gaming news and tips for me. It was so popular that, for a time, they even had EGM^2, a second magazine each month with yet more information.

        I loved the reviews by Sushi X.
  • ... since the internet became popular roughly 12 years ago. It's a miracle they survived so long. Most people hit gamespot, gamefaqs or metacritic these days or the developers/game companies forums themselves.

    • by manwargi (1361031)
      It's not as easy to admit to it, being one of the sentimental types that fondly remembers the gaming magazines of the early 90s, but I have to agree with everything you said. Around the time the internet gathered enough momentum to get a sufficient number of gamer types the internet began to get the latest in news that much faster than the magazines. The big sign which ultimately lead to me allowing my EGM subscription to run out was the point when I was receiving the following month's issue early each mont
      • by Dogtanian (588974)

        The big sign which ultimately lead to me allowing my EGM subscription to run out was the point when I was receiving the following month's issue early each month (i.e. getting a May issue in early April, maybe even the end of March), and the content inside was still dated compared to everything I'd already read about online.

        Well, the fact that they put it out much earlier than the cover date (*) doesn't imply that the news is going to be any more up-do-date when you actually get it. It's just a line of text on the front cover after all, it's not like they can beat the Internet by putting a date six months ahead on it (maybe if they push that far enough they can predict things before they happen ;-))

        (*) This isn't new- I remember when I bought Amiga magazines in the early 90s, they often came out exactly as you describe, i.e.

  • I'm old... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @07:40PM (#38221266)
    Wow, I remember seeing the first issue of this magazine on the shelf and thinking to myself "HOLY CRAP A MAGAZINE ABOUT VIDEOGAMES?!?!" I still have the issue. Found a pic here: http://gamesnet.vo.llnwd.net/o1/gnet/117181_6.jpg

    At the time there wasn't anything else, at least where I lived. There was no internet. Basically you got a game and guessed the best that you could. All those awesome Easter eggs that gave you unlimited lives and such? No one knew really... and if you got stuck in one spot in a game? You were truely screwed. Nothing you could do but give up. Then along game Gamepro and a couple of other magazines like it and BAM! Full maps! Tips! Strategy! Hell, I'd read guides to games I didn't even have and then decide to beg my parents for some money.

    I don't know how relevant they are now... or any print material for that matter. But they were revolutionary in 1989, RIP Gamepro.
    • by xtracto (837672)

      I remember paying a high price for the GamePro magazine each month about 20 years ago (I lived in Mexico and imported magazines were expensive). But I really loved the content and the reviews (IIRC each time a game was reviewed, 3 persons gave their own score. After some time, you saw that the score of one of them agreed more with you and you could /trust/ the score, mini-review).

      Additionally, in the magazines of before, you had this really good tactics guides. I remember a Mexican Magazine (Club Nintendo)

  • by DeadboltX (751907)
    Although I have not as much as glanced at GamePro in years, I have many fond memories of their magazine. They were the go-to source for game reviews, tips, and moves during the snes/sega era. I still remember sitting in class, reading over the moves lists for the original Mortal Kombat.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I loved Game Pro. It was the little guy that could never cut it against EGM and Die Hard Game Fan for scoops, but it had well written reviews, nice artwork and layouts, and was really good about reprinting tips and codes.

    Sadly, the gaming magazine landscaped changed in the late 90s and early 2000s, when editors started ripping off FAQs and strategy guides that gamers had put online. I don't know to what extent Game Pro did this, but other groups such as the EGM publishers, Sony Playstation Magazine, and Zif

  • by cdecoro (882384) on Wednesday November 30, 2011 @08:05PM (#38221518)

    I hate to say it, especially thinking of all the people that will be losing their jobs in this hard economy, but GamePro's demise is long overdue, and no great loss. I haven't been into video games much for the last 10 years, but as a high-schooler in the 90's, I was quite a devoted reader of the video game press. Compared to Electronic Gaming Monthly, perhaps its major competitor for most of that time, GamePro was essentially a purveyor of hype and marketing buzz, rather than a serious commentator on the state of the field (assuming that a magazine about games can ever be serious). Nearly every (well-marketed/buzzworthy) game had an almost perfect rating on the scale that they used -- one could never rely on GamePro to give any sort of critical view. Many games had absolutely perfect scores.

    By contrast, EGM had a scale of 1-10, through for the first year or so I thought it was a 1-9 scale because I never saw any 10's (I want to say it was Final Fantasy III that got the first 10 that I saw, but I'm not sure). I remember that EGM prided themselves for many years on never having rated a game 10 by all four reviewers. Moreover, unlike EGM (or earlier-90's Nintendo Power), GamePro had a saccarine, plastic, slick, manufactured feel (I apologize for my lack of a better term), and lacked any real sense of personality or character. Kind of like cheap candy -- yeah, it has an overwhelming sweetness, but has so little else that it ends up feeling as if it tasted bland. I've kept all the Nintendo Power issues from when it started in 1988, until I stopped subscribing around 2000. Most of the EGMs from that time period as well. GamePro, if I ever somehow ended up with an issue, went straight to the trash.

    • That was my reaction to the news exactly. While I am sorry to see them go, its mostly out of nostalgia for an institution of a bygone youth. EGM (and others) were far better gaming magazines. Still, I probably still have a huge stack of GamePros back in my mom's storage room.
  • a new study came out that showed game enthusiasts read their iPad/Smart phone while visiting the throne room instead of a magazine or newspaper. This trend of ditching the traditional throne reading median has been gradual but appears to be all inclusive now.
  • Well this sucks, I just got into using their site more as it was actually nice to use. :(
  • Though I haven't even read the magazine once in the past two decades, I have a beach/bath towel with the GamePro logo on it, which I received as a giveaway at the June 1989 Consumer Electronics Show, which would make it right when the mag started. I was doing graphic design/advertising at my first job then, and there might be an ad I worked on in the very first issue.

    The towel is still in excellent condition - not a tear and little wear. I'll be sure to use it after this evening's shower.

  • This magazine was bound to fail... In the gaming world friends and word of mouth is what he or she relies on depending on, in his or hers genre of game . Having a gaming magazine that maybe (MAYBE) prone towards one game over another was not going to last, they had crappy cheats, good instructions (limited), or insight on how to think outside the box to beat a game. However with the internet storming along there were sites dedicated to games such as GTA (Grand Theft Auto for example out of hundreds) and Ga
  • Just look at Japan. The stores are either gone or half the size. Building games just sucks as a business, and like a failing movie industry, each studio loses life every time a game flops until they are either acquired or go kaputz. Bigger budgets. Fewer titles. Less players. Lack of interest. The end.

    • by BigSes (1623417)
      Perhaps you should spend more time in Akihabra, on your off days from trolling.
      • I can't end with a little sarcasm?

        Facts: Been going for 25 years. Last time I went, a lot of the stores I remembered were either gone, or their game section was half the size. Didn't see new stores replacing them either. The used game stores have all had a hard time and sell more DVDs and game cards now to make ends meet. Game sections of major electronic stores like Yodobashi and Bic Camera have all shrunk. Titles released for XBOX and PS are fewer and further between with more sequels and less publishers.

        • by Dutch Gun (899105)

          Hi from the game development industry. We're doing fine, thank you. Odd as it seems, the industry hasn't been been hurt all that badly by this extended recession like one might think. Apparently, people view videogames as a decent entertainment value, even during tough times.

          The industry has ALWAYS been extremely volatile, though, which is sort of the tradeoff game developers live with as a matter of course. I've had companies fold out from under me, been laid off due to large-scale cuts, etc, etc. Thi

          • Well, I'm mainly talking about the Japanese console gaming industry. Games will never go away, so if you're a competent dev house then there will always be work. But who is really making money and how?

            Sony bet biggest on online distribution with their PSP Go which was a catastrophe. So if console games aren't being distributed online, and the storefronts are shrinking, that is a sign of major turmoil. That's really all I am saying. And if you prefer the Wall Street perspective, an industry that isn't growin

            • by Dutch Gun (899105)

              The fact that most hits are sequels already proves that new innovation that leads to uncharted success is becoming rarer than ever before. And uncharted territory is where real growth is at.

              Innovation is overrated, IMO. Execution is everything. Anyone can have a fantastic idea, but very few people can carry it through successfully to completion. Besides which, what's wrong with sequels? That's just continued success of a once-original IP.

              Sony bet biggest on online distribution with their PSP Go which was a catastrophe. So if console games aren't being distributed online, and the storefronts are shrinking, that is a sign of major turmoil. That's really all I am saying. And if you prefer the Wall Street perspective, an industry that isn't growing is as good as dead.

              You can point to flops like the PSP Go, but that had to do with a expensive yet lackluster product that no one wanted. Sony tried to sell the same handheld device, only you had to buy all your games again? Who thought that would fly off the shelves? Mo

  • The games will never stop,
    The games will never stop.
    The games will never stop,
    The games will never stop.
    The gam--oh, wait. /Apologies. It was necessary [youtube.com].

  • But I'm still hurting inside since Diehard Gamefan disappeared.
    • by BigSes (1623417)
      Hell yeah, I loved that magazine. It was the unpolished, down and dirty, nuts and bolts kind of mag that I really enjoyed. There wasn't too much polish or pomp, it was honest reviews, interesting articles and good cheats. I still have all the issues from when I had a subscription, including the one that I actually got a cheat published in! It was cool to see my name in the magazine, but I never received my free game. Oh well.
  • Is this the same GamePro that used to have a TV show back around 20 years ago?
  • was what I bought when I wanted a game mag but already had that month's EGM.

  • Why do I need to know someone else's opinion about a game when I can play a demo myself or read a one-man-blog who reviews it? Or watch a preview video on Youtube?

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