Once again there are indications that the UK games magazine sector is in a continuing decline, as the latest ABC figures reveal that it's now the turn of the official mags to face a hefty drop in readership.
Back in Februrary, when the last ABC results were released, it appeared that the official magazines were holding steady as sales dropped off for other titles.
But the new figures show that Official PS2 Magazine's readership has fallen from around 132,000 to just over 100,000 - while Official Xbox takes another tumble from 64,400 to 40,500. Perhaps due to the success of the Nintendo DS, however, Official Nintendo has lost just 2000 readers, with monthly sales figures now standing at just over 35,500.
When it comes to the unofficial mags, some have faired better than others. Sales of PSW fell from around 43,700 to just under 34,500, while Games Master lost around 2000 readers, and is now selling just over 53,300 copies a month. PC Gamer's readership also fell from around 48,700 to 45,300, and PSM2 saw a drop of around 4500, with a circulation of 36,000. PC Zone lost more than 3000 readers, just topping 30,000.
However, sales of Edge magazine remained steady, hovering around the 33,600 mark, while Xbox World - now Xbox World 360 - saw its readership rise from 19,000 to more than 23,000. The first figures released so far for the Official Xbox 360 magazine show monthly sales of 42,680.
Future continues to dominate the games magazine market, with rival publisher Imagine declining to release new figures for Powerstation, Play and Games TM. Uncooked Media's 360 Gamer has a circulation of around 9,100.
It could be argued that a contributing factor to the fall in print magazine sales, along with the continuing console transition, is the increasing popularity of consumer gaming websites. Eurogamer.net, which is published by the same company as GamesIndustry.biz, saw its readership rise by more than 25 per cent between October 2005 and May of this year. More than 1.2 million readers visited the site during May, racking up 9.9 million page impressions.