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Future reports growth in gaming magazines

Publisher's games-focused magazines see a growth in their circulations

Future Publishing has released details on the ABC audit of its print magazines, showing a strong growth in its gaming specific titles.

A total of 17 published products were included in the audit, nine of which were from its games magazine portfolio. The Official Nintendo Magazine saw a rise of 27.6 per cent year-on-year to sell 61,159 issues per month, the Official PlayStation Magazine also saw an increase of 12 per cent, period-on-period, to 51,533.

Xbox 360: The Official Magazine was up 2.2 per cent, selling 67,097 copies a month, while Future's PlayStation-focused PSM3 and PSW magazines were up 29.5 per cent and 33.7 per cent year-on-year, respectively. Nintendo magazine N-Gamer grew 19 per cent, selling 20,290 copies a month.

The print results were accompanied by a general figure for the GamesRadar Network of websites, with Future reporting 7.3 million unique users for the company's games websites and posting an increase of 35 per cent year-on-year, although it's not clear how those figures break down by region or website.

James Binns, publishing director of games, told that the magazines' growth - which goes against the wider trend of print's decline - is due to focusing on the readers' specific interests and playing up the strengths of print over online media.

"If you look in the men's market, pretty much all the men's lifestyle titles are down," Binns explained. "The men's mags that have done well are the ones that are very, very focused on an individual audience, like Men's Health, which is one of the only ones that has gone up."

"So in the same way that specialist media targeting other males has done fine, videogame mags have done fine as well. What people don't want is general interest stuff," he added.

Binns also credited the general success of the games industry as being a significant factor, saying "a rising tide lifts all ships", but said the effort of editorial teams who knew the strength of print as a medium was equally important.

"We're a dynamic market... we're meant to be able to go up, we're meant to be able to grow our numbers right now. What's nice is that we actually are, because there's nothing automatic about it because our audience is dead web savvy as well," Binns said.

"Websites are so good at first access content. You've really got to play to the strengths of the media... If you want to know about a great game first, probably, the web's the best place to go... [but] our readers have always said in surveys that the main reason they buy us for is for reviews - reading a review in print is still quite nice and print has such a legacy of respect which is one of the reasons we keep coming back."

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