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Computer and Videogames, Edge Online, Official Xbox Magazine, Official PlayStation Magazine and the Official Nintendo Magazine are all proposed for closure under the Future publishing label. What does that mean? It means that these long-running, gaming enthusiast media outlets could be coming to a close a lot sooner than you think.
MCV UK is reporting that Future has published some unnerving details about the state of their financial predicament and they're shutting down more than 170 jobs over in the United Kingdom.
The article notes that...
“As revealed by MCV, Future is also proposing to close CVG, Edge Online and the websites for Official PlayStation, Official Xbox and Official Nintendo. It's also planning to move all games titles to its Bath office.”
It's a startling thing considering that sites and magazines like CVG and Edge Online are some of the most well-recognized publications in the business at the moment. In fact, they're about as recognizable as the Backstreet Boys in 1999.
However, with the slide in revenue in first half of 2014, the top-management don't seem to be concerned with trends or fluctuations in the market to stave off drastic measures (MCV also makes the very pertinent observation that there were more heavy hitting titles released in the early half of 2013 than 2014 to help drive said revenue) and so a lot of these popular gaming sites are now on the chopping block.
Zillah Byng-Maddick, CEO of Future commented about these measures that seem more desperate than Michael Keaton and Andy Garcia's 1998 action flick, saying...
Clearly, Future's print revenues have continued to decline, but our consumers are highly-engaged and new revenue streams are available," … "Our revised business model is based on the virtuous circle of engagement in two core content areas: reviews (when consumers are looking to make product purchase decisions and where we can derive ecommerce revenues) and 'how to' opportunities (when consumers want to learn more and are prepared to pay us to help them do so, through tutorials, events etc).”
So essentially they're going to pimp out reviews to Metacritic and provide walkthroughs for Google bait? Yep, that sounds like a winning strategy. No really, it does. If you're reading this in a sardonic tone, you're clearly mistaken. I'm not being facetious at all... nope, not by a long shot. Really. It's true. I promise... a little bit.
Anyway, Byng-Maddick's strategy is to focus-fire on basic hit-grabbing potentialities. I'm almost shocked he didn't say that they were going to start producing weekly top 5 lists for Minecraft and Grand Theft Auto. Just imagine: The Top 5 Hookers You Need To Meet in GTA 5. Or: 10 Ways To Troll Little Kids In Minecraft Who Are Up Way Past Their Bedtime.
Those are on the house.
Anyway, Byng-Maddick forfeits to express any details about the future of Future's printing press, but does go on to say that...
"The streamlining of our consumer strategy - with an increased focus on the consumer technology market and a clear channel-neutral approach - allows for a simplification and standardisation of our digital advertising platforms and opportunities. Where appropriate we will also look to rationalise brand activity online in areas where consumers are less interested in our brands but discover and value our content that reaches them through the strength of our search engine optimisation.”
The entire first half of that paragraph is so just so ridiculously overwrought with the kind of marketing jargon you would expect from Tony Robbins that it makes Dennis Miller's idioms look like Dr. Seuss rhymes. The second half basically boils down to: We'll do whatever we need to do to bring in the hits.
So where does this leave gamers? Fans of age-old and highly respectable websites like CVG and Edge Online? Well, they'll likely need to migrate to similar sites like Eurogamer, Game Informer or IGN. However, given IGNs increasingly shrinking written coverage in favor of video content, I don't know how well that will play with gamers on a bandwidth budget.
Nevertheless, it's a sad time in the world of gaming media, as it appears we're about to lose some long-time running publications.