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Future Shows UK Print Weakness, Online Plans

Future Publishing, the Bath, England-headquartered game magazine and website publisher that currently dominates game magazine publishing in the United Kingdom, has public...
Future Publishing, the Bath, England-headquartered game magazine and website publisher that currently dominates game magazine publishing in the United Kingdom, has publically released its latest officially audited ABC circulation for its print titles, showing somewhat disappointing results. Overall, Future's UK games magazines were down 6.8% year-on-year to 513,773 copies per month, and a particular weakness was in PlayStation-related magazines, including Official PlayStation 2 Magazine UK, which were overall down 18% year on year to 229,136 copies per month. However, niche 'hardcore' game magazine Edge posted a 13.2% year-on-year circulation increase to 31,078, and overall, Future now has 80% of the UK games magazine sector, including 83% of the PlayStation sub-sector and 80% of the Xbox, having recently been rebuffed in its attempts to buy its last significant competitor, Highbury Publishing, after interest from the Office of Fair Trading over a possible monopoly situation. In the U.S. consumer magazine market, where subsidiary Future Network USA is less dominant, Future's Official Xbox Magazine is arguably the strongest of its properties, which also include PSM and PC Gamer, but it also has competitive rivals Ziff Davis (Official PlayStation Magazine, EGM), IDG (GamePro), and retailer GameStop (the largest U.S. game magazine, Game Informer, with a circulation of over 2 million). However, online reports indicate that Future, which owns European website properties such as GamesRadar and the recently acquired Computer & Video Games, is making a much more sustained move into both the online market in general, and the U.S. game website business in particular. Having acquired cheat site CheatPlanet earlier this year for $8.5 million, and recently re-launched formerly defunct magazine Next Gen as a B2B-aimed game site, the company is now prominently advertising for staff for a U.S. version of its GamesRadar consumer game site, presumably intending to compete with game sites such as GameSpot, IGN, and Ziff Davis' 1UP.com. A launch date for the site has not yet been set. [UPDATE: Friday 8.12am PST - Representatives from Future Publishing have asked us to clarify that the European websites Games Radar and Computer & Video Games show "a combined revenue of over £1m a year for Future, making them extremely profitable."]

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