According to Bloomberg.com and a number of other sources, Ziff Davis Media Inc., publisher of the popular gaming magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly and website 1UP.com, has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy to relieve debt constraints. The article says that Davis had been carrying a debt of about $400 million.
This story is about much more than the financial struggles of a company. This is the harbinger of what could be a number of serious problems for print video game magazines.
With blogs able to report news at a much faster rate, the writing is on the wall for traditional print mags. When it comes to news, speed is key. Reporters look to be the first to break a story. With blogs, stories can be written mere hours after they break. Videos can be leaked, screen shots can be uploaded and first impressions can be expressed almost immediately. Gamers are a savvy and hungry group – we want our Smash Brothers news daily, if not more often. We aren’t going to wait a month to see what the newest game has to offer, especially when we don’t have to.
1UP.com is one of the most highly regarded sites amongst gamers I know. They have managed to toe the line between corporate and edgy better than most. Many swear by their podcasts and let’s hope those remain throughout all this.
Although I never subscribed to EGM, I remember reading a few issues here and there and think it still holds value in the world of blogs and online magazines. Would I pay to read it? Probably not, and I think a lot of gamers are in the same boat. This may not be the end of EGM, but it doesn’t look good.