Two U.S. print video game magazines appear to be on the verge of closure today, with both IDG's GameStar and Ziff Davis publication GMR apparently in the process of stopping production, according to industry website Video-Fenky.
Publisher IDG is reportedly letting go all of GameStar’s staff, as well as some staff from sister publication GamePro. The magazine was launched at E3 this year, with the remit of "focusing on the adult gamer and his entertainment interests". It is not clear whether the magazine was an obvious sales failure, or whether IDG merely lost confidence in the concept.
Conversely, GMR is not a traditional news-stand publication, being produced by Ziff Davis Media exclusively for EB Games retail stores. The February 2005 issue will reportedly be the last for the magazine, with the status of the magazine’s staff currently unknown.
The magazine was initially distributed to customers when they bought EB Games’ customer incentives card, but this deal was dropped a few months ago, with GMR subscriptions being sold separately, a system that has presumably not proved profitable enough for EB Games.
The U.S. games magazine market has traditionally been quite different to that of Europe and Japan, favoring subscriptions at inexpensive prices over magazine sales in stores. It might also be argued that the increasing popularity of online magazines, the largest of which are all U.S. in origin, can be seen as one reason for the gaming print magazine market’s recent shakiness.
[UPDATE - 8.40pm PST, December 13 - Since this story has been posted, it's been confirmed that Ziff Davis' unofficial Xbox magazine, XBN, is also scheduled to stop production immediately, and a total of more than ten Ziff Davis employees have been laid off as part of this restructuring.]