Sony Goes Digital, Closes Official PlayStation Magazine

Posted by jgaudiosi :: Digital Distribution

Ps3_16In a sign of the changing times, Sony has ended its relationship with Ziff Davis Game Group for the print Official PlayStation Magazine. The January issue will be a collector's item, as it will mark the end of the print era for Sony gaming. With its PlayStation Network, Sony will use the Internet and direct downloads of game trailers and content to PSP and PlayStation 3 to communicate directly to consumers. While print is not dead, it's cerainly waning with the rise of the instant Internet gaming sites. I won't be surprised if Microsoft, which has a deal with Future Media, doesn't go this route, as well, in the near future. Microsoft pioneered digital distribution and its Xbox.com Web site is filled with information on its games.

"A key element of the OPM magazine was the playable PlayStation disc packed in with every magazine.  With the launch of the PlayStation 3 and its full network and Web capabilities, we are focused on delivering content via the PlayStation Network and PlayStation.com Web site, not discs," said Peter Dille, senior vice president of marketing, SCEA.  "While we have enjoyed a very good run with the printed version of Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine, we feel it is important to shift assets online to meet the needs of today's PlayStation consumer.  This is a natural evolution of our content delivery strategy."

Entertainment content, such as high definition downloadable game trailers and demos previously found only on the DVD disc packed in with each OPM issue, will now be available to everyone on the PlayStation.com site and on the PlayStation Network, accessible only through the PS3.  SCEA will continue to work closely with the editorial staff at Ziff Davis, as well as other partners, in the development of content for the PlayStation Network and on news coverage, previews, reviews, game developer profiles and in-depth executive interviews for all Ziff Davis properties.

The days of picking up EGM to get new game info are just about over. Game Informer, which is owned by retailer Gamestop, has the market stranglehold when it comes to print. That won't likely change any time soon, as that magazine helps to sell product in stores.

The rise of the Internet and gaming sites like IGN, GameDaily and Gamespot have made print obsolete. From exclusive reviews to in-depth interviews, online is the best way to reach the broadest gaming audience out there today. Around the world, there are constantly closures of print gaming magazines and all of the ad dollars migrate to online.

Although it was a cash cow for Ziff Davis, OPM was regularly trounced by Future Media's unofficial PSM magazine in terms of circulation. Over recent years, many of the changes that were made to OPM attempted to cater to an older, more mainstream audience. A lot of these ideas came directly from a former magazine that I used to write for, incite Video Games, which Computec launched in the U.S. with a $15 million cash extravaganza only to close a year later. But in the end, OPM has gone the way of incite, and Sony has moved on to the future of entertainment--which is online and digital distribution.

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