Beyond the Edge: The Future of Gaming Magazines

It doesn’t take a whole lot of knowledge about business to understand that the vast majority of marketing and consumer purchases are now happening online. The ways we access information is profoundly different than it was just a couple decades ago. The rise of the internet has changed the way we all live our lives. 

Within the realm of video gaming, these losses have been most notably felt with the closure of many video gaming magazines over the years. Popular publications in the field have been shuttered. It makes many magazine enthusiasts wonder if there is any hope on the horizon. 

Fortunately, there just may be. Video gaming magazine producers are striving to innovate and hold onto an audience in a highly competitive marketplace. With the right marketing tactics and a small degree of luck, they may just find a dedicated and profitable following.



The Loss of the Magazine

Gaming Magazines - HeadStuff.org
Commander Shepard despairs at the fate of print media. Source.

Video gaming magazines first became popular as a means for enthusiasts to keep up on the latest trends and games emerging from a rapidly growing marketplace. The magazine provided a unique bundle of articles that contributed to the overall quality of each issue. In depth interviews with big names were commonplace and made the reader feel as though they were in the know about their favorite games. 

Unfortunately, the rise of the internet encourages many readers to opt for online articles that focus specifically on what they were interested in. One by one, gaming magazines have been forced to shut their doors. Some examples are:

  • The last issues of UK-based magazines Xbox World and PSM3 were released in 2012.
  • Computer and Video Games ceased publication 2014 after a 33 year lifespan. It’s last ten issues were only published online.
  • Two other publications — Games™  and Game Master — saw their last issues released in 2018, when the company determined they were no longer profitable aspects of the overall business.

The video gaming magazine may not be the only offline video gaming business to close shop. Many malls and strip malls across America are saying goodbye to the long-time store, GameStop, as many locations shutter their doors for good. The company reported a decrease in fourth quarter sales by approximately 7.1% in 2018. 

Out of Print?

All of these closures and statistics may lead one to believe that print is well on its way out and that any print magazine must be hanging on by a thread. It can be easy to speculate that those surviving are likely to become relics within the next decade. However, this may not necessarily be the case. 

Some marketers are realizing that, with the right strategies in place, there may actually still be a real market for print. Surprisingly, it may not even lie with the traditional baby boomer and Gen X audience — it could be supported primarily by millennials. It turns out that a significant number of millennials actually love their printed media

One way marketers are finding to be successful is through a new approach to direct mail marketing. This new approach incorporates targeted information that is likely to appeal directly to the spending habits and interests of the recipient of the direct mail campaign. Direct mail has the benefit of being more memorable, which increases the likelihood of a purchase down the road. 

The Future Gaming Magazine

Given this information, there may still be a marketplace for gaming magazines going into the future. These magazines may not be exactly like your grandparents’ magazines, but they get a similar point across. For example, rather than sending out blanket mail to a wide area, magazines may use direct mailing to target those that are most likely to buy and maintain a magazine subscription. 

Furthermore, many magazines are likely to capitalize on other modern marketing strategies to build their customer base and loyalty. One example of this is through the use of social media marketing, which has been noted as one of the premier ways to market your business. Others include placing specific ads in magazines that are likely to boost business. 

Some gaming magazines may have already adapted to the new marketplace by going to an online print only. Many single-print articles may succeed or fail on their own, while releasing a full magazine online can increase the likelihood of the whole set of articles succeeding together. 

The rise of technology has upended the traditional magazine market and has caused the closure of many popular video game magazines. Although it can seem like the idea of a magazine is completely on its way out, many millennials really do enjoy printed media and are likely to respond positively to the right type of advertising. This offers some hope for the future of video game magazines going forward.


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