In Today's Electronic Age.

One thing that's been happening more and more today is the formation of new on-line news outlets. N4G is just one of many sites dedicated to posting news stories on the games and culture that we love. Now, how does this affect the more traditional news sources that we still have today? Print news has to be taking a hit due this new emergence of user available content, and due to the way magazines operate, (i.e...with advertising dollars) if sponsors see a change in the current trend of news consumption we may be seeing (although I hope not) a change in how we read the articles on our favorite lifestyle.

The publishing industry is no stranger to change. Magazines change formats and even publication names on a fairly regular basis. Since I started reading PSM and the Official U.S. Playstation Magazine I have seen them reinvent their format several times each, and in the case of OPM, shut down the periodical entirely. It's unfortunate, but it's all about the money. The reason OPM gave for shutting it's doors was the cost of producing a magazine with a demo disk each month. With increased costs and decreased incomes in the form of advertising dollars, publishers have to create new ways of staying relevant and connect with their readers, or get out of the business.

The better magazines don't just publish the news. They publish the news with character. Would you buy a magazine from a group of people that just write the news and nothing but the news, or would you prefer spending money for the articles that Randy Nelson, Bill Donohue, Dan "shoe" Hsu, or Joe Rybicki write? Each of these people (and many, many more) do what the majority of writers try to do, but with mixed results. They make reading the latest on our games fun and exciting with an injection of personality for flavor. I get interested when the author is genuinely excited about he is writing about. I also get quickly disinterested when they obviously aren't. A good writer can be entertaining even if they are writing about something they hate. I read PSM every month, not because it's the better magazine, but because of what its creative group of individuals added to the culture. They weren't the most polished or professional but they added humor (Randy's ode to Solid Snake was pretty funny) and personality (I will never forget the 800 lbs gorilla), however bizarre they seem, to their writings. I'm also sad to see the passing of Major Mike, Vicious Sid, (and my personal past favorites, Air Hendrix, and Dan Electro) and the other avatars from the pages of GamePro, but like everything else, it's evolve or die.

We are seeing new and continuing life in monthly publications. PSM is now Playstation: The Official Magazine and GamePro has done a redesign of it's pages. I have also seen them embrace publishing articles on-line, to varying degrees of interaction. I personally hope that these publications are around for the long haul. I am also encouraged to see more and more gaming news in other typically mainstream and non-gaming magazines. I get enjoyment out of magazines such as Wired and Maxim, not just for their traditional content, but for their views on my gaming lifestyle.

I do believe that magazine publishers have a chance at surviving the digital age, but they need to keep the most important part of their business fresh and creative, the writers themselves. I love going to the news stand and seeing what magazines are there that I haven't read yet. It's all part of a monthly ritual that I will continue for as long as I can.


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