Gaming mag ad industry doing great

‘Even Ziff Davis Media, the once-mighty computer magazine publisher that is now shedding titles like a camel-hair coat in the summer – Yahoo Internet Life was shuttered Tuesday and Smart Business for the New Economy bit the dust last month – claims its game magazines are up 13 percent in ad pages and 34 percent in ad revenue in the first six months of this year.’

Yeah, they may be up, but they’re up from a very dismal 2001, which makes sense, cause the only place to go from that economic pit was up.

Ad revenues are still nowhere near what they were prior to the dot com implosion, but all signs point to a slow recovery.

I’d guess the up revenues are more in the video game side than PC games, though.

The real hurt for PC game magazines, and the reason you’re not seeing 400-page issues in the fall anymore, has nothing to do with the economy or the money people were spending on online ads before the crash. It’s due to the massive consolidation in the publishing biz. There used to be dozens of publishers doing PC games. Now there are just a few majors, a few mid-tier publishers, and some garage outfits. Even though there might be as many actual games as a few years back, with so many of them coming from Infogrames, Vivendi, EA, and a couple of others, there are way fewer ad campaigns going on. When you’re a small company doing three games, you definitely want to give each of them a good advertising campaign. When you’re doing 20 games a year, you’re only going to do a major push on maybe 5 or 6 of them.

Yep. When the game mag page count starts to hit 175+ pages routinely and 300 pages at Xmas, then you know the ad slump is over.

I also know that some publishers don’t think ads in game mags have as much value as they previously did. They’d like to reach the people who buy some games but don’t read the magazines, so they look for alternative advertising opportunities.


The sad thing is that many of these publishers think they don’t need to advertise in the magazines because the mag audiences are the types who will seek out the article coverage of the games.

Never mind that the mags may not be around to write the articles if everyone takes that attitude…

Yeah, they know this, but none of them want to subsidize the mags through ads.

The hardcore PC gaming crowd is tough to sway. You see some big advertising campaigns for some decent games that simply result in terrible sales. I can understand why some publishers have lost faith in the ability of ads in game magazines to propel their products to higher sales.

when games that are being developed nowadays get about a thousand interviews and screenshots and previews and chat sessions and such, who cares about advertising. if u dont know the game when it comes out then u dont care enough so the ad wont sell u anyhow.

Is this the stupidest thing I have ever read or just close to it? If I don’t know about a game, I’m not going to care about it if for some reason I should happen to find out about it? Because I don’t spend every second of my life paging through magazines or searching the web for new screenshots, I’m not going to be interested in a new game? That’s some crazy shit you’ve got in your head. I had never heard of Civilization until a friend of mine showed it to me. If I had seen an ad maybe I would have been looking for it myself. There are people who like games besides those who overdo it.

[quote="Anonymous If I had seen an ad maybe I would have been looking for it myself. There are people who like games besides those who overdo it.[/quote]

Well, I overdo it, but I do think ads have a role. Ads trumpeting the latest “blockbuster” that has already gotten (or is assured of getting) massive amounts of coverage don’t interest me, but I take a little closer look at those for games that I think I’ll like, but don’t get the same amount of press coverage.

It’s the same thing for those “b-list” titles that the big boys don’t waste their money publicizing anymore, maybe if you coughed up a little extra on ads your games would sell a little better.

Of course, I also think most ads are pretty dreadfully designed these days. I miss the old CGW days when they ran yearly polls for the best ads in the magazine. SSI used to put together some nice looking ads.


I read more than I should about upcoming games (my wife accuses me of enjoying previews more than actual games…she may be right!). Still, ads to help me get excited about the game. I like the art work and the hype. Plus, I sometimes see an ad for a game I just missed somehow. Now, that might not be enough for ad companies, but I (and many on this board) are the exception rather than the rule. I think ads do help most people figure out what games are out there. They are more eye catching than previews (which many people don’t read unless the title/pictures capture them immediately). They can even be more informative than a lot of previews (“This game looks hot! Check it out!” is not going to tell you much…you can get the same info in the quotes of ads, and hopefully get a features list from the ad itself). I except those previewers who post here, of course ;)

Give me some names…