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Retailers have "lost faith" in PC games sector

Imagine Publishing considering future of Total PC Gaming due to shrinking market

Retailers have "lost faith entirely" with the PC games sector, with the shrinking market affecting sales of related games magazines, according to Imagine Publishing.

The company has told GamesIndustry.biz that it is currently considering the future of its PC gaming magazine Total PC Gaming, although managing director Damian Butt labelled recent internet gossip of a full closure of the title as "mischief" by a former employee.

"I'm looking at Total PC Gaming at the moment, because although it's a profitable magazine for Imagine, it's future potential is limited because retailers and magazine stockists have lost faith with the PC games sector entirely," admitted Butt.

"We have had fantastic support from our advertisers on Total PC Gaming, and outperformed our expectations, but I would much rather have a talented team working on a magazine where there is a greater future upside, such as our new launch How it Works, because it takes as much effort to make a magazine that generates a good profit as one that makes very little."

Imagine isn't the only media outlet publishing magazines for a shrinking market ABC results from Future Publishing last week showed that monthly sales for PC Gamer and PC Zone were down dramatically during 2009.

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Latest comments (13)

Andrew Clayton QA Weapons Tester, Electronic Arts7 years ago
When PC gamers are hard-pressed for cash which would they rather buy, a magazine with information on the games they want to buy or the games themselves? If it were me, I'd pick the games and just try to find the information on sites like this or IGN.
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Chris Hayward7 years ago
About time, the PC market lost faith in retailers years ago

Gaming magazines are often contain information as old as 6 weeks which anyone could find on the internet within 30 seconds, which coupled with reviews of inevitable beta versions of games makes them largely irrelevant in the modern gaming industry
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George Williams Owner 7 years ago
The PC market isnt shrinking. The space on the shelves at Retail certainly is. PC Gaming has moved into the digital space now and so has the way PC gamers gather their information - online.
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Dave Turner Director, PRM London7 years ago
Its a little more complex than just "Retailers have lost faith in the PC market" and more symptomatic of the PC gamer deciding that only certain genre's of game were what they wanted to play.

We saw the rise of the RPG, FPS and the Sim categories and outside of these nothing really makes an impact. RPG evolved into MMO a purely online affair where users initially purchased in store but then subscribe directly to the publisher, these games eat up so much time and are so involving that does the player need to consume any other games? what's the point in buying more, he doesn't have any time to play them.

PC free to play is starting to make a strong move in the west after proving hugely popular in places like Korea, FIFA online, NFS online & Battlefield heroes (ok so all EA there) but all this reinforces that the player should shop more in cyberspace than retail space and now not pay anything at all for some games. With this kind of situation is it any wonder that ales of PC box product have fallen continually for retailers and that in response they have shrunk space in store, reduced chart ranges and only stocked the Crysis / WOW's and Simms of this world in any decent number?

Its a vicious circle,

less sales at retail = developers and publishers look to go online = less space at retail.

So finally we come back to the above, if people aren't even buying games in store and with a myriad of information online for free, why would PC gamers buy into PC magazines? Im not doubting the quality of the editorial or the production of the mags themselves but in a world were PC gamers are less involved with the physical, physical magazines will of course be less and less appealing.

just my opinion

DST
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Matej Gause CEO, Mobilgamer7 years ago
It's lmore complicated. Magazines won't vanish unless they change their strategies. There are plenty of "know-how" theories how to save magazines recently. They definetely should prepare for digital platforms. Content should be more exclusive and up-to-date. You know, most of the internet media world copy their thoughts and information from the others. Many of the magazines also have the same content both on the internet and in the magazine. It's also a wrong stance. On the other hand, for example new iPad from Apple will offer many possibilities how to interact with magazines in eletronic form, so that there is still hope.
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Andrew Burnes Games & Technology Editor, NVIDIA7 years ago
The magazines are ridiculously expensive when you consider the quality of the paper, the content, the amount of adverts, and so on and so forth. For the price of 3 mags you could buy something like Dawn Of War 2 Chaos Rising from Play, which will give you hours and hours of enjoyment.
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Victor Perez CEO, Games GI7 years ago
I can analyses this post like I assume there are people rejecting the evidence, why something that is a fact since three years ago, now is showing like new. Amazing how what it was successful on the past still conditioning our mind now that is over. In the moment the 1 Mg bandwidth was popular then PC packed game was over, now we need to discuss about if PC gaming will decrease the audience or will transfer that audience to online gamming. Do you have useful data?
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Matej Gause CEO, Mobilgamer7 years ago
But which of these games are really "must have" franchises? Real games are more expensive and you should also consider other people, who like to read reviews in their hands instead of sitting at computer. If I am capable to buy blockbuster game I can also buy a subscription of game magazine. Money don't play any role in this case, only the value of the information.
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Pier Castonguay Programmer 7 years ago
I understand gaming market turned to console in the past years with consoles as good as pc were, easier to use and with less piracy. But since we won't be seeing new consoles for a few years, PC gaming popularity will get back up, don't lose hope.
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Aidan Fitzpatrick Artist 7 years ago
As far as PC shelf space at retailers goes, to the best of my knowledge, no retailer currently offers any Pre-Owned PC stock. For many obvious reasons (install limits, DRM etc).
Considering how aggressively some retailers push their 2nd hand games it's not too surprising to see tiny PC sections in the shops.
The last time I was in Gamestop it actually took me a bit of time to find their non pre-owned games.

Add this to the amazing periodic deals people are getting on services like Steam... I think it's the PC market who have moved away from retail, rather than a neglect of that market by the stores.
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James Finlan Studying Information Systems, University of Manchester7 years ago
Andrew Burnes eh? They will let anyone on here these days, next thing we know Jube and Apache will be posting and we don't want to go there, nuh-uh! ;)

As for magazines, a dying format if ever there was one. The information is so much more readily available online with a myriad more features and for little if any cost to the consumer. The retail space for PC gaming and it's magazines is shrinking fast for a number of reasons but I honestly don't believe the core audience is shrinking at all. They are just playing different types of games, buying software online instead of on the high street and are generally 5 years ahead of the curve of where the consoles are headed. Yes PC game development is shrinking somewhat, that is as much to do with huge budgets lowering the number of games in development on all formats though and of course the ease of access to pirated software for the more casual PC user.


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Ignatius Fernandes Studying Computer Science, Kingston University7 years ago
This is age old crying from the internets and the nay sayers. Although I would admit retailers have lost faith in PC games. My local Game shop has removed its PC games stalls completely.
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Barla Von Designer 7 years ago
PC games now are mostly Digital Downloads. The PC gaming sector doesn't need brick n' mortar outlets anymore.

Unlike PSN & XBL, there is competition in the Digital Downloads market on PC with Steam, Direct 2 Drive, Play Green House, Impulse, GOG, Gamersgate, EA Store, plus countless developer stores all competing for customers. It's a healthy situation for the PC gaming sector to be in.

Personally, i can't remember the last time i bought a boxed game for my PC. Seriously.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Barla Von on 18th February 2010 2:47pm

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