Staying Informed with Game Informer

During a (not-so) recent review of the contents of a couple old USB drives that I had forgotten that I stashed away, I found a handful of articles that I had written for a gaming site that went defunct. Since I hate for words to sit unread (even those in incoherent, rambly sentences), I decided I might as well share them here, and I think this is the last one of the bunch. It’s one that I wrote in February 2013 about Game Informer magazine, and the stats are surely out-of-date. The funny thing is that I’ve never actually personally received the magazine (GamePro was my jam.), but I’m pretty sure that the print version is still available for subscription. Imagine that.

Drinking game: drink every time you see an exclamation point. {Christ.}


The other day while perusing the web, I stumbled across Wikipedia’s ranking of the nation’s most popular circulating print magazines.  Did you know that Game Informer, Gamestop’s magazine is number four on the list with nearly million subscribers?! The first three spots are taken up by AARP and Costco publications…but Game Informer is number 4, I reiterate with more question marks and exclamation points??!! Is this news to no one but me?? You can check out the list for yourself, but Game Informer ranks well above the likes of Reader’s Digest, National Geographic, and Time.  The oldest magazine on the list, Ladies’ Home Journal (founded 1883), only has a piddly 3 million subscribers.

Um, yeah. So?

So everything! If you look at the source of the Wikipedia list, the Audit Bureau of Circulations, which doesn’t count the Costco magazines, Game Informer appears third on the list of the top 25 consumer magazines of the first half of 2012.  But there, just take a look at those stats! Game Informer is those only magazine with a double digit increase in subscribers (a whopping 37.2%) between June 2011 and June 2012!  This list confirms that gamers — the blighted, violent, basement-dwelling, convention-loving, antisocial, geeky, nerdy, outcasts of our society (as much of the general media would have us believe) — are helping a print magazine survive in this day and age. An age in which it has been prophesied we will see the end of print media! Libraries are in trouble, books are meaningless, and printed magazines subscriptions are reaching all-time lows!  Oh woe to the printed word in the 21st century! Unless those words cater to senior citizens, warehouse shoppers, or gamers, that is.  But the thing of it is, with the AARP and Costco, you have to become members of those organizations to receive their magazines. This isn’t true of Game Informer. Sure, you can join Gamestop’s rewards program and get the magazine at a discounted rate OR you can just subscribe o the magazine.

It’s also testament to Gamestop’s popularity. (Though apparently its stock has fallen recently because of rumors, rumors mind you, of the used game-blocking abilities of the new Xbox.) Still, Gamestop does a pretty good job of promoting its Game Informer. Every time I purchase something from there, the Game Informer pitch comes with it. And apparently, it works to some degree. So thank you to the gaming community for keeping printed words about consoles and boss battles and XP and secret levels — y’know, all the stuff that matters — alive and kicking. It’s great to see that Game Informer has found such success in the extremely competitive and always changing magazine market.

Now, as great as Game Informer is doing, and as well as it is corporately-supported, I can’t end this opinion without an Oscar-style nod to a few of the game magazines that have recently passed on. Please cue the slideshow and melancholy but hopeful music:

Nintendo Power (2012: US)
NPower (2012: UK)
PSM3 (2012: UK)
Xbox World (2012: UK)
Playstation: The Official Magazine (2012: US)
GamePro (2011: US)

[Moment of silence]

 

5 comments

  1. Weirdly, whenever I shop at GameStop, Game Informer is barely ever mentioned. Then again, I haven’t pre-ordered a game in quite some time, and I tend to get games through other means such as Amazon or digital downloads. Funnily enough, the last time I went there, it was an attempt to get rid of games I didn’t intend to play anymore, and I was offered $2 for one of them. I refused and eventually sold the game for $10 instead. So it turns out GameStop isn’t helpful for getting rid of dead weight either; I would only consider that option if the game had such little value to begin with (i.e. I bought it for a penny on Amazon).

    Anyway, in the brief time I had a subscription to it, I didn’t find Game Informer all that useful either. Like other mainstream publications, they’re a little too controlled by developers, and their assessments aren’t particularly compelling as a result. For example, I remember they gave Metal Gear Solid 4 a 10/10 and I feel it was less on the merits of it being that good (it isn’t) and more out of obligation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interestingly, it was only at one particular GameStop in my vicinity that the folks there tried to push Game Informer repeatedly. The last time I remember them doing so when I went to purchase something just a couple years ago. The store ended up closing not too long after. Huh.

      I’ve only read one issue of Game Informer, and it was the one with Fallout 3 on the cover. Seeing as how I pretty much *only* remember the cover, I guess the contents weren’t that memorable. It’s sad but not surprising to hear of your brief experience with it. Seems all-too true of big gaming review outlets, print or other, generally.

      Liked by 1 person

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