Tuesday, April 8

Hey, Did You See the Latest Issue of Games For Windows?

If you said yes, then you're a liar. While the most recent one would be the last issue printed, the actual current issue will NOT be coming to print. In fact, Games For Windows will never be coming to print again (Ok...maybe in a few years, but right now, no). GFW has become yet another internet-only based gaming information site.

The reason? The money lies in the internet, a business strategy. Remember however, not all is lost. You can still find the original, great editors online at their site, 1Up.

After running in print for 27 years, which is a long freaking time mind you, they've finally moved on with the digital era. Sadly, I really enjoyed reading their magazine every month, especially editor-in-chief Jeff Green's articles.

You can read GameDaily's interview with Ziff Davis after the break, hit up 1Up's post, or go straight to Jeff Green's blog and read about it.

Following the announcement that GFW would be moving from print to online-exclusive, Next-Gen had a chance to chat with Cox over the phone.

He revealed that news of the closure of the magazine came as much of a surprise to the GFW staff as it did to the gaming public. Cox explained that because of GFW's partnership with Microsoft, Ziff Davis had to keep news of the magazine's canning quiet; the staff didn't know it had already released its last print edition until this morning.

He said that the fact that the editorial staff (Ziff Davis had to let go of two GFW artists) was staying at 1Up in an online capacity lessened the blow, but when a magazine that's been around for 27 years is discontinued, it cuts deep for staff and for fans of the magazine.

"There's a lot of sadness for the demise of a 27-year-old storied publication," Cox said. "On the other hand, people are excited about what these guys can do when we let them loose online."

Cox elaborated upon the factors that contributed Ziff Davis' decision to stop printing GFW.

"The newsstand was a very challenging space for us. It was a tough place to be," he said. "And then you have the marketers who want to advertise in print, but they don't put the budgets behind it that they used to, and they tend to be moving towards online. Wrap those things up, and it's not a pretty picture from a business perspective."

GFW's situation is not unique. Print publications are looking for ways to flourish in a market where the Internet is becoming the prime destination for readers.

"It's a challenge for all of us moving forward, how to keep print relevant," Cox said. With GFW, Ziff Davis saw ad dollars "fly" to online at a rapid pace. With console-centric publications, the move of ad dollars to online is slower, but still occurring.

So what does this mean for Ziff Davis' Electronic Gaming Monthly, another "storied" games publication?

"The prognosis for [Electronic Gaming Monthly] is good, but ultimately, of course, that could change. We're all realists here. We all know that ultimately, online is probably going to be where most people are going to get their information. We're not at that point yet, and there is still a place for EGM until we get there."

Cox said that GFW's editorial staff, which is part of the 1Up Network, has already been thinking in terms of being online and print content creators, which should help the transition.

"I don't think it was as big of a shock as it could have been. I think that everyone had noticed that the ads weren't as great in GFW as they had been, and I think most of the staff knew that the newsstand was a challenge to the magazine."


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