A couple of weeks ago, I went out to look for the latest issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly or EGM for short. It’s become somewhat of a tradition of mine and something I do without even thinking twice. However, lately, it’s become practically impossible to find it. Magazine stores don’t seem to carry in anymore. In fact, I don’t think the stores carry magazines about video games, anime, toys or the like anymore. Usually, they just carry magazines that cater to fashion, sports, guns, music, health and whatnot.
I blame the Internet for this really.
Not to sound like an old-fogey and nostalgic for a bygone era, but magazines were the best way to get all of your information about geeky hobbies before. You have to realize that a lot of geeky stuff were niche hobbies and pastimes just a few years ago. So, while you could get your celebrity news on TV or even in the newspaper, you couldn’t do the same for hobbies like video games or comics.
So, there were still a lot of fanatics for these nice things but no real mainstream way to get the latest news regarding them. The magazine industry took notice and started to publish magazines for the video game, anime, etc. lovers all over the world. For the most part they were extremely successful. This is when I started also collecting them, video game magazines in particular.
During its heydey, I purchased at least three specific magazines each month: the aforementioned EGM, GamePro and PlayStation Magazine (or PSM to loyal fans). This was considerably difficult, considering I had to budget my allowance in such a way to be able to get them all within the month. For the time, they were kind of expensive, especially for someone on a very tight budget. God only knows how I managed to accomplish this.
But now, all three magazines are now defunct and out of print. The problem is magazines only come out once a month. So, the information you got was, while fairly topical, already old news. This issue was only exacerbated with the advent of the Internet. With the ability to get news out as soon at it happens, gaming websites immediately took over as the primary means to get all of the latest buzz, pictures, interviews and the like.
Not only that, video game sites also had another advantage: they were free. Not only was it easy to learn about upcoming games and news, you could get your fix free of charge as well! Print magazines couldn’t do that… unless you wanted to get a free magazine that was 95% advertisements. Magazines also have to, you know, print out a magazine, which is an additional cost for the publisher.
So, pretty much, the video game magazine industry is dead. The last time I went to the magazine store, the only video game related magazines I could get were PC World and Official PlayStation Magazine UK. That’s it! It was easier for me to get a magazine if I were a car lover, fashion, celebrity gossip and guns! Heck, I even saw three different magazines about yatchs!
But, the question still stands: do we actually need video game magazines these days? Sadly, no. The Internet has done a much better job of letting the general public know about the latest gaming trends. We can now livestream the keynote addresses of Microsoft and Sony directly from E3. We can easily give our own opinions and comments regarding industry decisions without being censored by editors (most of the time).
Honestly, while I do miss video game magazines and I do mourn their passing, the Internet has given us a better platform for us to learn more about the industry. So, RIP video game magazines; you will be missed.
Do you think we still need video game magazines in the Internet age? Post your thoughts and comments in the section below!