Rising Tides Sink Islands

It’s getting awful lonely out here. With the demise of Games For Windows magazine and the uncertain question of how their editorial voice will hold a beachhead against the churning swells of click counters and ad mongers, there aren’t many safe harbors left for our freelancers. As Gamers With Jobs plugs along, Julian Murdoch and Lara Crigger have both seen the passing of three magazines that featured a lot of their best work. Great articles - the kind of writing that didn’t join the water striders skimming across the surface, but dove deep and wrestled giant squids.

Over and over, industry publishers are passing along the same message. Your time has come, the sea levels are rising and your little island has little left to offer passing ships. We hear Cat Fancy is hiring.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to reconcile the growth of the gaming industry at large with the decline of gaming magazines. Obviously the Internet plays a big role in gobbling up exclusives and providing timely content, but recognizing that and reacting to it doesn’t seem to be paying off. Games For Windows in particular responded to the call after the untimely end of Computer Games Magazine by beefing up their editorial content and shooting for broader themes rather than rote previews and reviews. Their reward was the sudden, screeching end to an institution that started in 1981.

“Gut shot” was how Julian Murdoch described the feeling upon learning that Games For Windows magazine was done. Not just because it’s one less platform to peddle his literary wares, but that it may be the last one. Wired, Edge and Game Informer are some of the few left that might take an interest in the kind of articles he writes. That’s a small pond to swim in and there are dozens of good writers vying for those coveted spots. Why are they so prized when it’s much easier to write online? Because they pay more, and dammit, print is print. People still settle down and read those things, don’t they?

The assumption that the online audience wants fundamentally different things from their magazine reading compatriots is flawed. If they aren’t buying the magazines that take the time to dig deep, I can assure you they aren’t flocking in droves to fill the need on the Internet either. As much success as we’ve had here at Gamers With Jobs, it pales in comparison even to the most rudimentary gaming news and commentary blog. The difference between us and most media publishers is that we’re not really all that worried about making money. We count our success in audience participation rather than page views. A whopping 60% of our traffic comes from Google searches, after all. I doubt many of the people looking for “Lara Croft Yak Boobs” stick around long enough to see what else we have to offer.

For every Best Buy Bodhisattva we have dozens of excellent pieces that barely register as more than a blip on the radar. I’m not going to fault the readers; it would be disingenuous to suggest that the hard bitten Halo fan really cares about our thoughts on the social dynamics of online gaming groups. In fact, there’s no blame to be laid at all. We can’t turn those baseball caps forward and smooth down those polo shirt collars. People are who they are and like it or not, most of them are just fine with playing games with their friends and making buying decisions based on TV commercials. Even gamers who do join message boards and look at pictures of Mario cakes shouldn’t be expected to sip tea and read about how gaming is similar to meditation.

There’s still a healthy number of potential readers out there who want more from their gaming coverage. The problem right now is that publishers, the people who pay writers real money and put food on their tables, aren’t making the publishing platforms for them. Stardock’s Brad Wardell said it best when he talked about why his company makes games for customers, not pirates or mythical user bases. “When you develop for a market, you don't go by the user base. You go by the potential customer base. That's what most software companies do. They base what they want to create on the size of the market they're developing for.” In other words, you deliver what your target customers want, not what you think everybody wants.

We’re getting good content, but the budgets are still weighed down under the load of paying for fluff reviews, news and previews before we get to the good stuff. If you’re going to differentiate and try for more than the status quo, the expectation for audience size and budget needs to be adjusted. The problem isn’t that PC gaming is dying or that blogs rule the world - most publishers are just stuck screaming at a massive, uncaring reader base. Less bloat and a laser focus on who you’re writing for would be a good start.

Gamers With Jobs was formed because we wanted more content written for us. Its continued success is largely thanks to sticking to our guns and taking the time to go above and beyond what even the most professional of commercial sites do for quality control. By design, we’re not in a position to bring this special sauce to the masses. Well established retail channels need to be used to leverage something like what we do onto the market. This isn’t just because we’re selfish and we want more of what we like. There’s also a real danger of brain drain if there isn’t enough money in the system to support the kind of writers that elevate the discussion of the medium. What a shame it would be if the Lara Crigger’s of the world were forced to write for Washing Machines Weekly because we couldn’t change course and see what’s right under our noses.

As one of the few platforms left standing on the island, I hope someone sends a raft soon. It’s cold. It’s lonely and I don’t like the hungry gleam in Julian’s eye. No sir, I don’t like it one bit.

- Shawn Andrich

Comments

Ouch, this hurts.
Read in the Diablo II narrator voice
I was a fan of CGW and only CGW during the Sipe/Wilson early days, and subscribed for at least 8 great years. I looked forward to every issue with excitement, I devoured every single page of the magazine, and I told all my compatriots about the ethics I percieved. Their reviews sold games with my dollars. Then came the black age, a time period when they lost me, during the days between the loss of Wilson, and the ascension of Green to the editor's desk. They implemented a STAR SYSTEM, and 'quick looks' and other fluff to which I objected greatly. I abandoned them -- as they had already abandoned me. I picked up the odd magazine for a few years, and saw the spark return with Jeff Green's cumulation of power. While it never returned to the revered status it had earned earlier, the reviews became pithier, and they shied not from criticism. Uhh... something something, the end.
End voice

Alright, that looks stupider than I originally though. Clearly I am a reader and not a writer.
I think the article that won me back was Jeff's "Hey who want's to kill some orcs?" Circa--2002?
CGW - you will be missed, and I will not ever toss the golden age magazines I have.
And Scorpia is still out there.

Botswanna wrote:

Wouldn't such a magazine have to compete with the on-line Escapist?

Is there really any advantage to print media at all anymore?

It would be in direct competition with The Escapist. The Escapist is a great publication. I have a really hard time reading it. I find it hard to commit the kind of time necessary to sit in front of a monitor and take it in. For all it's pluses, I don't think the internet is conducive to long reading sessions. I have a hard time giving a entire website more than 10 minutes of my time, let alone a single article. Maybe that is just a personal preference? Do you guys read The Escapist front to back in one sitting?

I read a lot of magazines. I like the portability. I like to read them in the bathroom. I like to read a few articles in bed before I go to sleep. I like holding them in my hands. I like thumbing through them in the doctor's office. Until the technology gets to the point that it allows online publications to replace those gaps for me, I think that print media still has a place. How far off is that day? I don't know. But I am not lugging my laptop into the bathroom.

I haven't bought a gaming magazine in many years, probably since, hmm... I'd guess it was around 2000 that I realized that game magazines sucked. My primary reason for reading them was to get suggestions on new games, and discovered that I absolutely, postively couldn't trust these guys to give me truthful previews. I think my disgust peaked right around the time that Gamespot was shocked, shocked to find that readers wanted to know what previewers actually saw, not a fictional account of what the game might someday become.

After reading about that, and realizing that the Gamespot editors really believed that they were doing us a service by lying to us about what they were seeing in previews, I gave up on computer journalism entirely. I didn't just stop buying magazines, I almost entirely stopped visiting the commercial gaming sites. I still had some trust for reviews (up until Gerstmanngate, anyway), but I wildly don't trust previews, and previews were the biggest reason I cared about gaming magazines.

Instead, what I used for a long time was the forums at Gone Gold. Gamers With Jobs has replaced that for me. I listen now to the consensus voice of a lot of different people, rather than particular reviewers.

And magazines, if you'll notice, don't get much thought time on GWJ. I hadn't heard anything about any of them, from either the editorial staff or the other goodgers. None of these magazines were in my mind-space at all. In fact, this is the very first time I've even heard of Games for Windows. So of course they didn't sell me any magazines; I didn't even know they existed!

Personally, I also tend to find most game writing rather pretentious, constantly trying to find deep themes where there are very few to be found. There are some games that have enough material to support an article or two (Bioshock, Baldur's Gate, Longest Journey), and there are global trends that make for interesting articles, but overall... it's just a very, very thin soil from which to draw writing ideas. There's lots of breadth, but very little depth. It's like trying to support a journalistic career discussing comic books. I'm sure there's room for a few writers, but there just isn't the depth there to support a 'ecosystem' of gaming journalism.

In fact, I'd consider gaming journalism sort of a combination of movie and sports journalism. It's either a review of the game (movie), or talking about the players and what they're doing with it(sports). Neither form strikes me as having much lasting value, with a few notable exceptions... rabbit spotted something genuinely new in Bodhisattva. But, in the big scheme of things, if IMDB, ESPN, and Gamespot all were to disappear tomorrow, along with everything they'd ever created, the world would be only marginally poorer.

I think it would be smarter, at least for now, to think of gaming magazines as similar to RC hobbyist's magazines. It's fun to a limited audience, but it doesn't pay well, and is unlikely to support many careers. Do it because you love doing it, not because it pays the bills. As gaming grows up, that may change, but right now ... it's very niche, and it's going to stay that way for the foreseeable future.

When gaming was new, there was a lot to talk about, but it's not new anymore, and it's not changing very much.

I would subscribe to a gaming magazine that brought the same quality and level of intelligence as, say, American Record Guide brings to writing about Classical Music.

ARG takes very little advertising yet publishes 300 or 400 pages of record reviews every couple of months.

Of course, there are many more records to write about than video games. So it's probably hard to duplicate this kind of model.

Also of course, Classical Music brings with it a certain snooty pretention that doesn't fit the video game world. But the reviews just seem, for lack of a better word, deeper, than what you get in game publications. I often wish that more video game reviews didn't read like a checklist of bullet points that you put on a box. I wish there was more perspective, deeper understanding, the capacity to compare and contrast styles and genres. But that doesn't happen enough in game writing.

None of these magazines were in my mind-space at all. In fact, this is the very first time I've even heard of Games for Windows.

I would think you'd have to actually make a conscious effort to avoid their mention on this site, considering three of our writers wrote for them.

Now, you'll pardon me while I go back to my pretensions and self-delusion.

Certis wrote:
Blame the consoles.

We had literate, intelligent print media when we had literate, intelligent gamers playing literate, intelligent games.

Those games still exist and so do the players. I dismiss out of hand any suggestion that consoles, which have existed since the PC got started, have anything to do with this. Games For Windows is the latest, but this article isn't about PC gaming.

My premise is as follows:

With the explosion in console popularity and game development budgets, the shift in gaming has been towards ever-broadening market appeal.

From this I conclude:

The resulting trend in gamer demographics has had wide-ranging consequences including, inevitably, the nature and availablitly of gaming magazines.

The premise is self-evident and the conclusion follows naturally from it. It is your right to "dismiss out of hand" whatever you like, but that doesn't change the fiscal realities you are grappling with. The market is not what it once was, and the surge in console ownership is what has changed it. Fair-minded console gamers are usually more than willing to admit this.

I realize you don't want another console vs. PC fight on your hands and, believe it or not, I'm not interested in starting one. Then again, I'm not interested in tap dancing around the central issue simply to avoid stepping on toes, either.

For the record, I have owned all of Nintendo's consoles (except the Wii, although I plan to get one at some point) and, despite my beliefs concerning the culpability of consoles in the present state of gaming, am by no means a PC-only snob.

With the explosion in console popularity and game development budgets, the shift in gaming has been towards ever-broadening market appeal.

From this I conclude:

The resulting trend in gamer demographics has had wide-ranging consequences including, inevitably, the nature and availablitly of gaming magazines.

The premise is self-evident and the conclusion follows naturally from it. It is your right to "dismiss out of hand" whatever you like, but that doesn't change the fiscal realities you are grappling with. The market is not what it once was, and the surge in console ownership is what has changed it. Fair-minded console gamers are usually more than willing to admit this.

The funny thing is that the sales in PC gaming, the gamers you seem to be pegging as the intelligent crowd, have remained pretty consistent over the years. What's changed are sales expectations based on the kind of numbers console games do. In the same vein, the audience for intelligent content is still there. Just because the user base is growing, it doesn't mean you have to widen your content stream and try to splash everybody. My point is that you can manage the budget expectations, target your audience more specifically and still do good business if you're not going in expecting those millions of console/disinterested gamers to buy in.

The concept of big console sales = reduction in readers who want more depth is far from self-evident. I just don't think the growth of readers who want more depth has kept up with the growth of the industry as a whole. That's what the shrinking island is.

As others have pointed out, print is in decline. Even newspapers. So, it should be no surprise that we're losing the gaming magazines.

And yeah, it's the internet. Some websites are already figuring out how to make it all work, but it's a fluid market right now. We can't expect it to be as mature as the last fifty years of magazines have been.

So, I'm not really all that worried. The good writers will find a place for their work, even if it means starting up a new website. The sky's the limit right now.

JimmDogg wrote:

It would be in direct competition with The Escapist. The Escapist is a great publication. I have a really hard time reading it. I find it hard to commit the kind of time necessary to sit in front of a monitor and take it in. For all it's pluses, I don't think the internet is conducive to long reading sessions. I have a hard time giving a entire website more than 10 minutes of my time, let alone a single article. Maybe that is just a personal preference? Do you guys read The Escapist front to back in one sitting?

I read a lot of magazines. I like the portability. I like to read them in the bathroom. I like to read a few articles in bed before I go to sleep. I like holding them in my hands. I like thumbing through them in the doctor's office. Until the technology gets to the point that it allows online publications to replace those gaps for me, I think that print media still has a place. How far off is that day? I don't know. But I am not lugging my laptop into the bathroom.

This pretty sums me up to a tee. I never read a gaming magazine front to back in one sitting. I would read one story when it showed up. Thumb back to my favorite columns while I was in the bathroom. Read a few feature articles while in the bed winding down. I would earmark pages with stuff [i]I wanted to look at later on the internet. Magazines for me are a textural thing. I like their feel. I like their sound. I like their functionality. I get none of that from magazines on the internet.

As a side note, if GFW keeps the 1up.com style, I'm not certain I'll ever view it. I get headaches from trying to navigate that site.

question: How do I type a capital "i" without the italics function activating?!?! Very frustrating!

Blame the consoles.

We had literate, intelligent print media when we had literate, intelligent gamers playing literate, intelligent games.

Roberta Williams, is that you?

sheared wrote:

question: How do [/i]I type a capital "i" without the italics function activating?!?! Very frustrating!

I have this same problem. Very strange.

Anyway - it is hard for me to know how to feel about this. I love books and magazines. I love reading the real journalism that exists here and in GFW - but I, too, have a hard time reading The Escapist (even though I KNOW that I appreciate the content). I don't think a digital distribution magazine is the answer, but I also don't know how much longer print magazines will remain.

I want to think that some kind of nominal subscription system - call it personal digital delivery, or self-determined-reading or whatever - I could see that working if there was an intelligent and sexy distribution system, and a simple and elegant and intelligent way for me to 'take in' the information. Maybe that's a Kindle...maybe it is an e-mail, probably it is something I haven't thought of...

But I'm willing send someone a few bucks a month for an unlimited music subscription (such as last.fm) of music that I know I will like. I could definitely see sending Rabbit or Lobo or Lara a couple bucks a month to read some of their articles...There HAS to be a way to do that that is simple and sustainable and offers a service or product unique enough to compel people to pay for it.

We gotta figure out what's causing that italics thing, I wish I could re-create it myself.

I read and really enjoyed both Rabbit's article on FreeRice.com and Lara Crigger's article on game writing in the last issue of Games for Windows that I picked up. I'll be sad to see that magazine go.

Certis wrote:

We gotta figure out what's causing that italics thing, I wish I could re-create it myself.

It's likely that it's from the code that gives you the Ctrl+Shift+I (and B, Q, L) keyboard short cuts for the bbcode. If you check quick_reply.js you'll see that it tries to keep track of Shift and Ctrl by setting variables when the keyup and keydown events are fired. The problem with this is that there are situations where you can release a key and not get the keyup event. This leaves it in a state where it still thinks Ctrl is pressed after you've released it and anytime you press Shift-I will then be mistaken for Ctrl-Shift-I and give you the bbcode for italics. To fix this you can lose the variables and instead check the values for ctrlKey and shiftKey directly from the event. Comment out line 19-24 if you just want to disable they keyboard shortcuts completely.

Anyone getting stuck with it now can try pressing and releasing Ctrl which should get you unstuck.

Well, goddamn. I subscribed to GFW after Mr. Green joined in on your podcast, and I enjoyed finally finding another group of people who think that a 5/10 is an average mark.

I miss Amiga Power.

Certis wrote:

The funny thing is that the sales in PC gaming, the gamers you seem to be pegging as the intelligent crowd, have remained pretty consistent over the years. What's changed are sales expectations based on the kind of numbers console games do.

Agreed on the sales expectations: that's my entire point. Even if I stipulate for a minute that PC game sales weren't down (which I don't), no magazine publisher is going to waste tens of thousands putting together and distributing a print magazine no one wants to buy. Take a look at this. Last August, Madden 08 sold about 1.5 million on the consoles, compared to Bioshock which sold just under half a million. On the PC meanwhile it was the best-selling game by a wide margin, selling just under eighty thousand copies.

Certis wrote:

In the same vein, the audience for intelligent content is still there. Just because the user base is growing, it doesn't mean you have to widen your content stream and try to splash everybody. My point is that you can manage the budget expectations, target your audience more specifically and still do good business if you're not going in expecting those millions of console/disinterested gamers to buy in.

Which brings me back to the fiscal realities I mentioned before. You are an entrepreneur interested in starting a new gaming magazine. You are doing this because you expect to make money in this endeavor, or, if you are a true artiste, your investors at least will. Anyone who can read a sales chart can tell you that the 1.5 million gamers who scuttled off to Best Buy to plunk down 50 bucks for a game that differs from its umpteen predecessors primarily in the names written on the back of the uniforms are about as apt to pick up a magazine for, say, Ken Levine's ruminations on Atlas Shrugged as they are to read through the collected essays of Gore Vidal. If they're buying any magazines at all, let's just say they're not buying them for the articles.

I am entirely sympathetic towards your lament, but I don't see things improving any time soon. There is a reason Games for Windows, with its estimable resources to draw upon, still managed to fail. It is as though you are clinging to print media as the arbiter of legitimacy in the world of opinion, but print is dead. Even a relatively successful print magazine reaches a fraction of the readers of a popular website. And when it comes to the sort of niche gaming outlets you long for, the odds are doubly stacked--on the one hand you have a product few want and on the other a market few buy from.

We don't need print. Focus your energies on the internet and let's all move on.

Certis wrote:

My point is that you can manage the budget expectations, target your audience more specifically and still do good business if you're not going in expecting those millions of console/disinterested gamers to buy in.

Amen. To that end, I'd love to see a Cinefex for gaming. A nice little tome that gets into serious details along with the eye candy. Something you don't feel stupid for hanging on to three months after it was printed. Come one, tell me that this page, http://www.cinefex.com/store/covers.html, isn't a roadmap for most of our lives for the last 28 years.

And in defense of print, there is something to submitting yourself to a a fixed format, with precise well determined layouts, that is strongly organized and driven by a core editorial staff, which will never change once it rolls off the press. It's an artifact, and artifacts are powerful things.

evildoc wrote:

And in defense of print, there is something to submitting yourself to a a fixed format, with precise well determined layouts, that is strongly organized and driven by a core editorial staff, which will never change once it rolls off the press. It's an artifact, and artifacts are powerful things.

There's something to the charm and romance of a Hansom cab ride, but I wouldn't go long on buggy whips if i were you.

Wow, ok. I'll be happy to give up on the written word as soon as you point me to the alternative overtaking it. Right, we're supposed to focus on the internet... crap, that's made of words too! What am I to do!?

Look, you don't like print. Fine, that's your kink. I'm happy to hang around to point out how there's no electronic information storage mechanism out there right now that can rival a printed page for preservation or robustness.

My point tho, is journals focusing on box art, PR blurbs, and 20 day cycles are the low point. And I agree that they are doomed. However, that doesn't mean there isn't an economically viable print vehicle for the discussion of gaming. Especially one that takes a longer view. The attendance numbers of PAX or the price of a GDC registration is enough to convince me a market exists.

I'm at the tail end of an all-night watch and must be on my way, but honestly, I think we all want the same thing. I remain unconvinced as to the viability of print as a vehicle, but, should time prove my misgivings groundless, it will find me quite cheerful at the prospect.

Anyway, it's been real.

I think there should be more gaming mags, not less, given the growth of video gaming as compared to other forms of entertainment in our increasingly technologically complex world.

I mean, the movie industry is stagnant and only increases year to year box office by raising ticket prices - better movies might help - and some think it's because young men are playing games. Well they probably are. It's better entertainment. So it would make sense that you would get more print coverage of the genre. Odd that that is not happening.

I realize that this has been said already. Just adding my voice, you'd think advertising execs somewhere would care about this sort of thing.

Clearly by the comments and responses it seems some of us can handle reading large amounts of text in a browser

Does anyone think there is a possibility of a second-genesis for print and games magazines? I remember when I was back in middle school I loved game magazines. They'd be the hot properties of the classroom with everyone wanting their turn to flip through the colorful pages and make comments on what was going to be great.

The vast majority of that 'greatness' was based on screenshots and bullet lists of features. As a youth I'd skip through the non-game specific articles (if there were any) to get from the previews to the reviews. But over time games became less of "cool technology" and more of an important experience.

So perhaps those who were indoctrinated under Halo will eventually "come of age" and start to desire more than just a score and screenshots. I am not suggesting it is tied to a real numeric age but rather length of exposure to games, and it is obvious some people will never want to go so deep. But just a small percentage of the rather large influx of new game players over the past few years could certainly sustain a print publication. Or, by that time might outlets like The Escapist and GWJ's already filled the need?

I'd also be curious about your opinions on the flexible and now color ePaper. Would you be willing to subscribe to a magazine delivered on one sheet? Could it sort of merge the two desires? A magazine could produce daily news updates as well as a monthly "Issue" containing the more in depth articles. The content would be the bottom line for me but I'd bite initially to see if it was bathroom-approved.

And i was poking through the old CGW covers in memoriam and stumbled across this:
http://cgw.vintagegaming.org/galleries/images/184-01.jpg
Irony?

DrNash wrote:

But just a small percentage of the rather large influx of new game players over the past few years could certainly sustain a print publication. Or, by that time might outlets like The Escapist and GWJ's already filled the need?

I'd also be curious about your opinions on the flexible and now color ePaper. Would you be willing to subscribe to a magazine delivered on one sheet? Could it sort of merge the two desires?

In the short term, it doesn't seem like web fully displaces print. I'm thinking about Sports Illustrated, which manages to hold on to a 3 million subscriber base to its weekly printed edition, while claiming 7 million on their website. The demographics they throw around on their rate cards, that extra 4 million are international users so, its not about age, affluence or dedication to a particular sport.

SI's printed content is only something like 5% scores, the rest being a split between articles and photography. Flipping thru their Vault (which is pretty freaking amazing, and I hate sports), in one magazine I see articles about fly fishing next to government policy investigations next to broadcast spending analysis next to athlete profiles. That makes the average gamer mag seem down right homogenized. SI gets away with it because the have good photographers that bait readers, and writers that can make an article on fly fishing compelling to anyone. And I think the gaming industry has that kind of talent lurking about.

Game geeks aren't a multi-million subscriber market, but I think you're very right about the coming of age. And I think the SI dual-mode pattern could scale down to where gaming is. The irony being, of course, last years Escapist being spanked for being too "magazine-like".

I don't think ePaper will tip things to a new state. Reader systems have been warring for a decade and still they're screwed up. Different formats, platforms, usages, rights management, it's a mess. And that's now, before it starts serious adoption rates that causes serious money folk to try and take control of it. That with the hooha that is web browser development cycles makes me think there's a ten to twenty year stalemate where print can happily chug along as is. I'd easily subscribe to a single ePaper mag, but so much needs to happen before that's even an option.

I do think there is a (very) small market for even an well done print magazine in the style of, say, New Yorker about videogames, but it would be very difficult to start something like that up. Not impossible, of course, assuming the initial overhead is kept low and the writing inside is either brilliant or idiosyncratic enough to gain some sort of grassroots momentum, but very difficult nonetheless.

Perhaps the more logical approach is something more like a fanzine without the stigma associated with that particular phrase. Love it or hate it (a lot of people really do seem to hate it), a "magazine-zine" like http://gamersquarter.com The Gamer's Quarter[/a] strikes me as far more feasible than another mainstream magazine ever making much headway here in the States. There's a small group that still likes to read articles on games on paper: the layouts are usually more interesting than most website CSS, if nothing else.

Consoles absolutely have everything to do with the entire gaming industry being dumbed down little by little over time.

Back in the day when it was just Nintendo it wasn't a problem. The games they were producing were top notch creative games. That just isn't the case now. The fact that there might be a $400 million opening weekend for GTA4 just sickens me and it really drives home for me the damage the consoles are doing.

PC Gaming takes a little more work and a little more money and those two little requirements apparently are too much for many people. I guess it just saddens me to see PC Gaming take such a backseat. I know I am biased since I am an old school PC Gamer. It isn't right and I will never buy a game from these developers that have jumped ship from the platform that built them like EPIC.

I hope in the end that things will come full circle. The PC will be the platform of choice and Nintendo will be the only console worth owning. Nintendo is certainly trying very hard to do their part.

PC Gaming is the only true gaming out there. Consoles are something to play when you need a break from the PC.

Having said all that I will really miss this magazine, which will always be known as Computer Gaming World to me. I have been a subscriber since the early days. Truly sad. I look for PC Gamer to fold as well in the next few years. I know it's much more convenient to get your news online but I like getting a hard copy in my hands for some good bathroom reading. I was REALLY sad when Computer Games went under. That was the best PC Gaming rag around.

I feel so sad, so terribly sad.

You see, my iPod is dead. My favorite part of the GFW magazine was the podcast. If you give away the milk for free, it makes the cow hard to pay doesn't it?

But that's not the ultimate point. The tastes of our media consuming audience has changed. The NYTimes just bought Auttomatic, the makers of WordPress. They themselves have decided that if you can't beat them, join them. The Chicago Tribune has sold itself to a private investor.

Games media needs to reinvent itself in order to pay the bills.

Perhaps, and I hope fervently for this, perhaps there will be a death of the current media akin to what we saw with the Atari crash in the early eighties. Maybe there will be a games-media holocaust, fiery but short lived, that will lead to a new image born that is brighter and stronger than ever before.

I would pay twice as much for a condensed GFW+ portions of 3 other publications. Maybe three times as much to get it first and regularly. I hope I'm not alone.

Everything now is bad and getting worse. Everything used to be better. That's why I like good books and booze: They're the only things that seem to get better with age.

Duoae wrote:

Actually i'd quite like to read about how washing machines and increased automation in the home in general affected the 'second wave of feminism' (there probably was only one constant wave but it seems like two in my mind).

To use a particularly gendered phrase: Swing and a miss!

TheAnti wrote:

Back in the day when it was just Nintendo it wasn't a problem. The games they were producing were top notch creative games. That just isn't the case now. The fact that there might be a $400 million opening weekend for GTA4 just sickens me and it really drives home for me the damage the consoles are doing.

This thing about Nintendo is just false, though. I mean, I might buy it if you limit it to something like "Only First Party Titles" or "Only Powerhouse Dev houses (like Capcom)". But the NES library had its fair share of stinkers. I open up my old TV cabinet to find my NES games and I've got stuff like DINOWARZ next to Rescue Rangers. Even the games that were popular weren't free from fault. Try reading The Legend of Zelda's opening scrawl to see some pretty bad translation errors. Ditto for the Engrish in Metal Gear.

I will concede that it was no where near the level of shovelware that the Atari let through its gates, but lets not make it sound like the NES was some paragon of forward-thinking game design values. ALL the popular systems get their crapware, be it the NES or the PS2. It's just a consequence of their popularity and success.

Your second opinion there is a bit disheartening, and makes you sound elitist. "OH NO, one of the more influential modern franchises is releasing a highly-anticipated sequel. This is the first time they've addressed on-line multiplayer in their very popular game series, too". How dare people be excited about this! If only things were more like the 70s, where we didn't think about profit when making vectorgames. Really, it sounds like you're pissed that the market has expanded, and would prefer it to remain a dark-alley niche.

Also, "Back when it was just Nintendo"? Like '83-'86? Because the Master System and that last Atari system both came out around 86ish. They weren't as popular, but there were alternatives to the NES out there.

PC Gaming takes a little more work and a little more money and those two little requirements apparently are too much for many people. I guess it just saddens me to see PC Gaming take such a backseat. I know I am biased since I am an old school PC Gamer. It isn't right and I will never buy a game from these developers that have jumped ship from the platform that built them like EPIC.

It's entirely TOO MUCH to ask your audience to deal with intrusive copy protection schemes, buggy drivers, software conflicts, to keep up with the two-year GPU upgrade cycle, and then to tell them "oh, just deal with it" when complaints surface.

Consoles are just a break from the PC? What? That's just insanity.

People lament the perceived decline of the PC, and then spit statements like these out? You're slyly insulting the very audience you wish to capture.

Ok, enough ranting about that.

Something that just struck me this weekend was how shrewed GameInformer's distribution is. It gets packed in with a premium card thingy at a game shop and it's pretty much guaranteed a revenue stream. Makes me wonder how successful its been to them.