Recently I went back through some of my favourite gaming magazines in the 90’s. Mean Machines Magazine was without a doubt a publication that has stuck with me thoughout the years and remains the only series of issues I have in its entirety today. Thankfully, Damien McFerran from Nintendo Life has managed to digitally scan every issue which is freely available for viewing at the Mean Machines Archive. If you’re interested in the history of Mean Machines magazine check out Damien’s Eurogamer article here.

This raised the question – does print even have a future anymore?

I Command You To Rise From Your Grave

Magazine publications are in decline with the increase of digital consumption. It’s now easier than ever to digest news and information through a series of channels that range from social media right through to dedicated websites. and publishers are focused more than ever on user experience – vying for audience attention as digital gains traction.

Are the days of leafing through reviews and articles are at the penultimate stage of their extinction?

Whilst some outlets have started to migrate from print with success, others underestimated the decline and their copy-paste formulaic approach to digital wasn’t enough, early adopters used interactivity as an afterthought which wasn’t enough to engage and build an audience.

“Overall, the National Readership Survey 2016 demonstrates the consumption from mobile and online adds a further 107% audience reach to individual news brands and 68% for magazines.”

Anjana Varsani – Better Than Paper

The most positive thing digital can provide a publisher is information and analytical data from the readership, enabling optimised and refined content that is more targeted and relevant to the audience. We live in a connected world, we expect instant gratification and this is something print will struggle to deliver, digital offers creative opportunities that surpass print and the challenge is finding the strengths within that.


A New Hope

Print could find its strength within the niche market, something of a hook that works alongside digital publications. Greg Sullivan and Joe Diaz succeeded at such a thing during the recession in 2009, where they launched travel magazine ‘AFAR’.

“Print… is the preservation of all art”.  Iasiah Thomas

The 18-to-34-year-old millennial generation have embellished the nostalgia factor, seeing increased sales amongst vintage and retro items, such as Vinyl and video-games, and some publishers from various industries are opting for a quarterly release at $20 per issue, focusing on quality content, Josh Jackson – editor-in-chief of Paste. says: “I don’t see print ever being nearly as big as our online presence. But I hope we will be able to find more cool things to do with the magazine. It’s expensive, but we’re sparing no expense in the making of it.”

A rethinking of purpose for the medium could ensure its viability , understanding that value and content are different. Time sensitive information where an audience just wants to read such content works very well for digital, but where this is not the case, print will always have its place and niche print will always find an audience.

Is there a Future for Print Magazines? article by Ash RGB_RetroBlog

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