Gaming magazines used to be a big deal: the discs included with each issue were the only way we could get new videos and demos for our consoles. It was the same story with PC magazines before cheap, high-speed Internet was the norm; people would get their demos and shareware via pack-in discs and (gasp!) floppies. Now almost every gamer has a broadband or cable connection, and the next-gen consoles are shipping with hard drives and network connections. Are magazines starting to feel the pinch? It looks that way, as the Official Playstation Magazine is set to shut its doors with January 2007 being their last issue. From its announcements:
We are focused on delivering content via the PlayStation Network and PlayStation.com website, not discs…While we have enjoyed a very good run with the printed version of Official US PlayStation Magazine, we feel it is important to shift assets online to meet the needs of today's PlayStation consumer. This is a natural evolution of our content delivery strategy.
This makes sense in any number of ways. If we can download all our videos and demos directly to our systems,why would we pay premium prices for a magazine with a packed-in disc? The information in the magazine is generally out of date by the time it gets in our hands anyway. When I write something you read it in a few minutes, while magazines have lead-times that are be measured in days and weeks. The way we get information is changing, and certain magazine genres are finding it hard to adapt.
I will say that I enjoy this new direction in console gaming. There is nothing better than being able to download my demos and high-definition trailers directly to my console. Hell, many Xbox 360 owners in their homes had better access to Microsoft content than I did at E3. They didn't have to wait in line to see content, it was right there waiting for them. Welcome to the world of tomorrow.