Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Gaming magazines: A thing of the past?

In this day and age, the internet dominates every form of media. Need music? Most likely you'll download it online from somewhere like iTunes. Need airplanes tickets? Chances are it's easiest through the World Wide Web. What I'm getting at here is the internet is the pinnacle of convenience. It'll offer a plethora of sites for even the strangest Google search. Sites such as Wikipedia, YouTube, and Google have made the internet miles ahead of plain useless; they make it almost a necessity.

Going along with this is the game industry. When it all started out, the only way to get your latest Nintendo and Sega news were either by word of mouth or a magazine such as Nintendo Power. Nowadays the number one source for game news, previews, and reviews is the internet. Why? Because it can be updated literally 24/7. This easily bests the monthly format of magazines. But does that necessarily mean magazines should be forgotten and left behind as relics of the 80's and 90's eras of video games? My answer: no.

Today gaming magazines may not be at the prime they once were due to the internet, but there's still quite a few gaming magazines to choose from. Some off the top of my head are Game Informer, Nintendo Power, Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro, Official Xbox Magazine, and Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine. Most of these are doing pretty dang well. Sure Nintendo Power's not as great as it was back in the day, due to the internet and the fact it's no long owned by Nintendo. But the magazine still offers exclusive interviews and game coverage. Not to mention the norm for game websites and magazines: previews and reviews.

Some may say the game magazine industry will die of sometime in the not to distant future. You know what I say? BS. First off, some of the big gaming magazines (particularly Game Informer and Nintendo Power) get all kinds of exclusive first looks at games. Generally, I've found GI gets Xbox 360 and PS3 exclusives, with the occasional PC feature, and Nintendo Power gets the big Nintendo system ones. Sure some sites like IGN get occasional exclusives, but not nearly in the numbers that print magazines do. While most of the tidbits in the news sections are old to anyone who follows the internet, the previews and reviews usually are as well-written and informative as those found on the web. Another smaller reason is that some magazines (particularly OXM) feature a demo disc with each issue, something free websites could never do. And one final point: game magazines are portable. So they're a lot easier accessed when on trips or to pass the time when away from the keyboard.

Sure, online gaming sources do plenty of things better. They can provide videos and keep you more up to date daily. Plus they can offer the view of both big, paid industry gamers (for a lack of better terminology) and smaller gamers who just game for fun. The average Joe's opinion can be expressed a lot easier through blogs and reader reviews than print magazines allow.

But with magazines, you really can't beat that feeling of getting a new issue in the mail. Then in the next week or so you'll find yourself reading it everywhere... on the toilet, curled up on the couch, or before bed. The large amount of reviews and articles all at once is a refreshing break from the constant trickle of editorials and reviews that gaming sites supply. So sure websites and blogs may be the quickest and easiest ways to obtain gaming info. But are they the best? Some would argue, yes. Others, no. I feel they both have their places, and print magazines are definitely not a thing of the past.

Comments or questions? Drop an email to kylehogg@gmail.com or leave a comment below...


  1. I get the Official Nintendo Magazine UK every month and I don't see myself stopping any time soon. The internet may take away a lot of their "exculsive" info, but internet sites lack the certain-something that comes with reading a printed magazine article.

    Plus, ONM still get exclusive UK reviews (Mario Galaxy, Animal Crossing, Brawl etc) and plenty of new screens to make each issue worth a purchase.

  2. @ spinachpuffs:

    funny, i feel the opposite now after a few years of reading ONM, and can't wait for my subscription to end.

    they constantly refer to games being addictive as cocacola or a bucket of kentucky fried cruelty. i'm definitely being talked down to. scan through a couple of issues and see how many times they try to be "down with the kids" by referring to particularly trashy culture. tastier than sunny delight. cheaper than tescos. the dumbed-down list goes on.

    btw, all but one of the above-named companies are on the Ethical Consumers boycott list. why am i reading about them in ONM?

  3. There's something really comforting about being able to actually hold a magazine. I know the news is a little late now in comparison to the internet, but there's still some things that you don't get a chance to see online.

    Besides, you can't lug your computer into the bathroom outside of a laptop, and even then, that's just not right.