CGW No More... Kinda

Ziff Davis Announces Online and Print Media Alliance with Microsoft

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 2 – Ziff Davis, the prominent gaming magazine and online publisher, today announced an integrated media collaboration with Microsoft. Ziff Davis will serve as the independent editorial voice for Microsoft’s Games for Windows initiative. As part of the strategic relationship, Ziff Davis is launching a new magazine called Games for Windows: The Official Magazine and a companion website on the 1UP Network. Microsoft will drive traffic and readership to the magazine and to the 1UP Network, and will promote the Games for Windows magazine as part of their Games for Windows marketing efforts. The magazine and integrated online components will launch in Fall 2006.

Ziff Davis’ online integration will include a Games for Windows website on the 1UP network. The website will host editorial features, social networking, and blogs, as well as game demos, patches, downloads, trailers and original video content from and In addition, Ziff Davis will collaborate with Microsoft in the area of online and interactive content for Games for Windows. Microsoft’s website,, will also link to the 1UP Network for users who want additional content.

“We believe Ziff Davis Game Group is the ideal industry partner for Microsoft as we advance the Windows platform and Games for Windows initiative,” said Rich Wickham, director of Games for Windows at Microsoft. “We value Ziff Davis’ innovation in integrating diverse media together and wanted that creative force driving the official Games for Windows magazine and website on the 1UP Network.”

The collaboration with Ziff Davis Game Group represents a significant step in Microsoft’s larger marketing push for the Games for Windows brand: the magazine shares the same “Games for Windows” branding that will appear on game packaging and in leading retailers throughout the U.S. beginning this Fall.

“We share Microsoft’s passion for expanding the Windows gaming market,” said Scott McCarthy, President of Ziff Davis Game Group. “This alliance will enable us to reach a wider audience than ever before, both in print and online, and it affirms Microsoft’s commitment to gaming on the Windows platform. We’re looking forward to working with Microsoft.”

To ensure clear market leadership position, Ziff Davis will transfer Computer Gaming World’s veteran editorial staff and mission to Games for Windows: The Official Magazine. The new magazine and web initiative will carry on the editorial, production and art staff of Computer Gaming World, incorporating CGW’s best-of-class style and tone while broadening the outlet’s reach, influence and editorial content to complement the coming renaissance in Windows gaming.

As they say, yowza.

So other than the rebranding of the magazine and some interesting behind-the-scenes business partnerships, will this really change the focus of the magazine?

I mean, it sounds like CGW, a computer games magazine primarily dedicated to Windows games, will just become… a computer games magazine solely dedicated to Windows games.

Or is there more here I’m missing?

it sounds like it is now The Official Windows Gaming Magazine, like Ziff has the Official Playstation Magazine and Future has Official XBox Magazine.

It’s certainly a better indication that Microsoft really means it’s serious about this “Games for Windows” thing. I only say that because they’ve been saying their serious for years, but their actions have pretty much said the opposite.

It probably doesn’t change the magazine, but it may change its perception somewhat. Do people perceive a difference between “official” console magazines and others?

The focus of the magazine will not change, nor will the staff, nor will the articles. (Our pals Tom and Bruce will still write their monthly Tom Vs Bruce article, for example…). It’s a branding thing…yes.

I’m at a biz conference right now and can’t write too much at present, but will be back for what I assume will be the inevitable questions/backlash/hate.

But once you get over the initial shock…it’s a good thing. Except for Linux gamers, I suppose.

The partnership with Microsoft is new, even if it is an independent voice.

But it also means the end of the longest continuing title in electronic gaming. Glad that the editorial staff will move over, but I wonder what this will mean for the editorial direction they were taking CGW in - a direction that I found very interesting.

So it’s not the focus that will change, but the package will.



The good news is that our “new direction” was one of, if not the primary attraction to Microsoft. So we are getting the full-on “proceed as normal” word from them. They don’t want us to change our focus at all, and of course have promised us full editorial independence. The big plus for the-mag-that-was-CGW is a huge increase in newsstand and retail presence.

(okay, i have to pay attention in this conference room now…will be back l8er…)

Does this mean ratings on reviews will come back? Please, take this as a sign from god, that he and bill gates demand little stars next to reviews.

That’s great news, Jeff. As a reader, I’m still not sold on all the changes, but I’m glad you’re taking the chances and someone is noticing.

The demise of the CGW name does sadden me.


You talk as though they’re two separate people.

First question: Will Microsoft try to control editorial content/reviews and/or push previews of Microsoft published games?

I know it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but Microsoft is a AAA games publisher, and a prolific one. Imagine if EA bought CGW.

I’d be a bit worried about objectivity to Microsoft games.

(Edit: Looks like Jeff has had assurances about editorial content . . . but we all know Microsoft’s draconian reputation)

That’s okay… I think the mass of QT3 forumers can take em. Both at the same time, even.

Well, part of the reason it was hard to take Microsoft’s “Game for Windows” PR too seriously is that they were saying, “We support Windows!” while releasing 1-4 games per year. They aren’t a prolific Windows publisher any more, which I think has helped fuel the perception that Windows gaming was in such decline.

I’d be a bit worried about objectivity to Microsoft games.

There are truly independent alternatives, heh.

Also, might it be worth selling old copies of CGW, of which I have a ton, on EBay in a few years?

What’s the Deal With?
Arena reviews!
The New King’s Quest!

Has this or will this actually change?

It’s hard to say. Obviously this is a rather serious move in the direction of “We are taking Games for Windows seriously.” At least they are from an OS/PR perspective; it remains to be seen what they’ll do as a publisher.

But I bet I know where I’ll read about it first!

My blog? Or maybe HRose?

Bruce Shelley is probably sad. He kept talking about CGW while I was at Ensemble for CGM. Now he’s going to have to spend three extra syllables and a colon-representing-pause to get out “GfW:TOM”.

The only legitimate worry would be if MS exerted pressure for positive reviews of Microsoft games. I doubt that will happen, but that would be my concern as a consumer. Oh, I guess another potential area of concern might be Windows games that are ports of Xbox games – if the Windows version is superior, is Microsoft going to be happy to have that comparison made?

Otherwise, it’s in Microsoft’s interest to have poor games receive poor ratings and good games get good ratings so consumers steer clear of bad gaming experiences.

This does also seem to indicate that Microsoft is more serious about promoting PC gaming. That’s a good thing.