Games For Windows Magazine Ceases Print Publication
The end of an era is upon us, as Ziff Davis has announced that Games For Windows: The Official Magazine will no longer be published in print form.
In a blog post on 1Up, Ziff Davis Vice President Simon Cox said the closure "has nothing to do with the Chapter 11 stuff," but added, "Both the eyeballs of PC gamers, and the essential advertising dollars needed to sustain a PC gaming magazine are moving online at an alarming pace. Much faster, it seems, than in the console world. Fast enough that we realized - and Microsoft agreed - that it was time to put the GFW team's efforts where the most people could see the results: Online."
Cox said the current editorial staff at GFW Magazine will be retained and transitioned to PC coverage on the 1Up site, but the art team of Michael Jennings and Rosemary Pinkham "will be leaving us." Gamers who have a subscription to the magazine will be able to transfer it to either Electronic Gaming Monthly or PC Magazine.
Games For Windows Magazine was originally launched in 1981 as Computer Gaming World, a bi-monthly newsletter that often featured submissions by noteworthy game designers. The magazine grew into a full-scale monthly publication in 1988, adding columns and reviews by several well-known writers. Founder and publisher Russell Sipe sold the magazine to Ziff Davis in 1993, and the magazine's growth continued through the 90s, including a 500-page issue released for Christmas 1997. In August 2006, Ziff Davis and Microsoft announced the magazine would be relabeled as Games For Windows: The Official Magazine, in support of Microsoft's Games for Windows initiative.
I give EGM an optimistic six months to a year.
You know the cover image of that magazine in the picture right there? The one with The Sims in it? Yeah, that looks exactly like PC Gamer UK's cover from last month. Uncanny, surely?
Just thought I'd point it out.
The first issue of CGW I ever purchased (which I still have) was January 1993 and I was immediately hooked. I bought every issue that followed, with possibly one or two exceptions owing to the vagaries of a small town bookstore, up until mid-2000, when I finally quit. It's sad to see CGW/GFW call it quits, but for me the "real" CGW ended the day long-time editor-in-chief Johnny Wilson left in 1999.
There were other milestones in the magazines history, probably the most significant being when it adopted star-based ratings to bring itself in line with everyone else (and there was a bigger stink about that than you might imagine), but Wilson's departure was probably the biggest single blow the magazine ever suffered. George Jones' tenure as Wilson's replacement is described by Wiki as "undistinguished," which I think is charitable; Johnny Wilson's shoes were admittedly awfully big to fill, but Jones never showed himself to be anywhere near up to the task. Roughly a year after Wilson left, so did I.
CGW, in its "golden years," was truly a magazine to behold. Reviews were long and wordy, often multiple pages and in smaller fonts than you'll ever see these days, and in many cases were written by people who were not just gamers but experts in fields relevant to the game in question. Each month there were thoughtful and engaging columns focusing on a range of gaming genres from mainstream FPS and sports titles to wargames, simulators and adventures. Loyd Case wrote informative, authoritative hardware articles and reviews every month, and unlike hardware editors at certain other magazines who shall go unnamed (VEDERMAN) he did it without the smarmy bullshit and wisecracks.
CGW was doomed a decade ago, not because of the advent of the internet but simply because time had passed it by. It achieved greatness as a magazine to be read, but in an era in which most gamers just flip to the end of a review to find the number of stars, the literate qualities of the magazine slowly became a hindrance. And once CGW/GFW surrendered to trends and started doing what everyone else was doing, there was nothing left to distinguish it from its competition.
In its heyday, Computer Gaming World was the finest gaming magazine ever published, for any platform, period. Those glory days, and even the magazine title, are long gone, but the final passing of a once-great publication is still a sad moment. Thanks for everything, CGW. It was a lot of fun.
It achieved greatness as a magazine to be read, but in an era in which most gamers just flip to the end of a review to find the number of stars, the literate qualities of the magazine slowly became a hindrance. And once CGW/GFW surrendered to trends and started doing what everyone else was doing, there was nothing left to distinguish it from its competition.
Therein lies the solution. The printed videogame magazine is suffering because it is no longer relevant as a newsource, which was its primary function. That said, I think a new model can be supported. The CGW's and Next Generations can finally exist in the print space. Simply put videogame culture wasn't developed enough when these publications took their initial steps beyond being merely a news rag. However, as sites like The Escapist are proving, the public is ready for something else, and in fact they won't tolerate the old model any longer.