Rumors of Ziff Davis's reorganization efforts have apparently not been exaggerated. If you managed to grab a copy of Official Playstation Magazine this month (for the demo disc of Guitar Hero II), hang onto it; it may become collectible.
Yesterday, just a few weeks after the arrival of Sony's brand (with a capital B) spanking new adverblog, Three Speech, Sony publicly announced that they will be shutting down the gravy train for the poor saps working hard over at Ziff Davis to bring print readers the latest and greatest Playstation-brand news and reviews every month. Ziff Davis announced the same news yesterday - in a surprise meeting with the employees of OPM.
According to Jeff Green, Editor-in-Chief of ZD's Games for Windows Magazine (which itself recently underwent a transformation) the announcement was "a shock. I had no clue and usually they loop the EICs in to the big stuff. ... I was trying to reassure [one of the editors] before they went into the meeting that 'it couldn't possibly be anything big.'"
I asked Jeff if the news makes him fearful for his own job as Editor of a similarly-branded print magazine. "Whenever anyone in the same company loses their job," he said, "no matter what your business, you're always thinking 's---, that could have been me.' But Microsoft is not Sony, and the extreme financial constraints they had were largely due to the demo disc, which we don't have."
From Sony's press release:
"A key element of the OPM magazine was the playable PlayStation disc packed in with every magazine. With the launch of the PLAYSTATION(R)3 (PS3(TM)) computer entertainment system and its full network and Web capabilities, we are focused on delivering content via the PlayStation Network and PlayStation.com website, not discs," said Peter Dille, senior vice president of marketing, SCEA. "While we have enjoyed a very good run with the printed version of Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine, we feel it is important to shift assets online."
Shifting print assets online? Join the club, Sony. Join the club.
How exactly this will impact the launch of the PS3 remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure, if you're publicly cutting losses before the product even ships, there has to be a whole lot more bloodletting going on behind closed doors. Maybe we'll be able to read about that at Three Speech, but somehow I doubt it.