Captain Obvious Says: Gamers can read!

Image by Flickr user The Master Shake Signal
Image by Flickr user The Master Shake Signal

The other day while perusing the web, I stumbled (literally, using StumbleUpon) across Wikipedia’s ranking of the nation’s most popular circulating print magazines. Did you know that Game Informer, Gamestop’s magazine is number four on the list with nearly million subscribers?! The first three spots are taken up by AARP and Costco publications…but Game Informer is number 4, I reiterate with more question marks and exclamation points??!! Is this news only to me?? You can check out the list for yourself, but Game Informer with 7.6 million subscribers ranks well above the likes of Reader’s Digest, National Geographic, and Time.  The oldest magazine on the list, Ladies’ Home Journal (founded 1883), only has a piddly 3 million subscribers.

Um, yeah. So?

So everything! If you look at the source of the Wikipedia list, the Alliance for Audited Media, which doesn’t count the Costco magazines, Game Informer appears third on its list of the top 25 consumer magazines of the second half of 2013. Its subscriber based dipped a little between December 2012 and December 2013, but not as much as some of the magazines on the list (*ahem* Reader’s Digest *ahem*). Even so, this says to me that  gamers — the blighted, violent, basement-dwelling, convention-loving, antisocial, geeky, nerdy, outcasts of our society (as much of the general media would have us believe) — are helping a print magazine survive in this day and age. An age in which it has been prophesied we will see the end of print media! Libraries are in trouble, books are meaningless, and printed magazines subscriptions are reaching all-time lows!  Oh woe to the printed word in the twenty-first century! Unless those words cater to senior citizens, warehouse shoppers, or gamers, that is.  But the thing of it is, with the AARP and Costco, you have to become members of those organizations to receive their magazines. This isn’t true of Game Informer. Sure, you can join Gamestop’s rewards program and get the magazine at a discounted rate OR you can just subscribe to the magazine.

It’s also testament to Gamestop’s popularity, which, in my neck of the words, is the only functioning game store in town. And the folks there do a pretty good job of promoting Game Informer. Every time I purchase something from there, the Game Informer pitch comes with it. And apparently, it works to some degree. So thank you to the gaming community for keeping printed words about consoles and boss battles and XP and secret levels — y’know, all the stuff that matters — alive and kicking. It’s great to see that Game Informer has found such success in the extremely competitive and always changing magazine market.

Now, as great as Game Informer is doing, and as well as it is corporately-supported, I can’t end this piece without an Oscar-style nod to a few of the game magazines that have recently passed on. Please cue the slideshow and melancholy but hopeful music:

Nintendo Power (2012: US)
NPower (2012: UK)
PSM3 (2012: UK)
Xbox World (2012: UK)
Playstation: The Official Magazine (2012: US)
GamePro (2011: US)

[Moment of silence]

And now, a few more words… Are you a happy Game Informer subscriber? If so, what do you enjoy about the magazine? What defunct gaming magazines do you miss?


  1. Hatm0nster says:

    I really miss Electronic Gaming Monthly. It was my absolute favorite back when it was still in circulation. I loved the writing, the reviews very rarely led me astray, and the general style just made it a pleasure to look at!

    It really is sad to see printed publications dwindling they way they are today. It makes sense that they would given how easily accessible the internet is, but still. Even just from a designer’s perspective it’s a tragedy. Print media is nice and static, it allows for a carefully crafted and purely visual design. You can craft it knowing that it will always look the way you intended it to no matter what because once it’s printed, it’s going to stay that way. Unlike say web design, where you have to take into account literally EVERY screen size and browser (current and ancient). Very frustrating to say the least.

    …Maybe there’s a way for print media to be reborn on the web too…


    1. cary says:

      Though I never had an EGM subscription, it was the one gaming magazine that I’d often pick up on its own at the bookstore. It had great articles and tips! You’re right that it was a well-styled magazine.

      I really can’t imagine the nightmares of online publishing! Shoot, just managing images in a simple blog post can be difficult enough sometimes, I can’t quite fathom just how much work designers put into making it so that we can all view their e-zines. There may come a day when online publishing reaches some level of stability, but it’ll probably always need to be a little fluid to take into account the variables you mentioned. (Sad how easy it is to take the web for granted sometimes. We just click a link and *poof!* a page appears. We have no idea about the hundreds of hours that someone might have put in to make that page.)


  2. renxkyoko says:

    My brother used to subscribe.


    1. cary says:

      I had a subscription at one point as well. I have considered re-subscribing, but after clearing out years of magazine clutter from the house, it’s a hard thing to justify.


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