He Said There’s A Storm Coming

By Alec Meer on April 8th, 2008 at 9:11 pm.

Fin.

We’d heard a few reports that Games For Windows magazine wasn’t doing so well since its… puzzling 2006 rebrand to a Microsoft-sponsored title. Who knows whether or not ditching the Computer Gaming World name it’d carried since 1981 truly did harm sales, but the whispers that publisher Ziff Davis was worried about bankruptcy were a surer sign that unhappy change might be coming.

Still, the news that one of the eldest gaming mags is dead is a shocker. Well, dead-ish.

While my few encounters with it (mostly whilst idling at US airports) hadn’t placed it terribly high up on my list of required reading, it’s nonetheless sad to see the old dear’s life support unplugged. And, if you’re a guy who makes most of his meagre income penning words for print mags, it’s more than a little scary too. I pray it’s not a sign o’the times. At least not until we’ve got our hands on some of that lovely internet money.

The writing staff and most of the content are moving online and into the soon-to-be-embiggened PC channel of 1Up.com, the Ziff Davis webb-networky-thingy. The mag’s art team weren’t so lucky, sadly.

“In some ways, this change will both liberate and, uh, empower (sorry, I was trying to avoid that word) us to drill down into certain key aspects of PC gaming in the 21st century–modding, patches, MMO updates–that were always challenging for us in print,” says Editor Jeff Green in his extensive obituary for the mag/roadmap for the future. Great. More competition. We can take ‘em, right? Right?

Farewell then, CGW. 27 years. Man!

(Thanks to the various folks who mentioned this to us).

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32 Comments »

  1. Larington says:

    Thats a shame and a worry, Microsoft are starting to turn the things it touches to dust, instead of gold. Not that I like the company that much (Largely due to Games for Windows Live (Err, dead?) and their apparent determination to use DX10 as a way of forcing gamers to upgrade OS), but its never good to hear of people losing jobs.

  2. Optimaximal says:

    I love South Park…

  3. Jamie says:

    I listen to their awesome podcast so I’m sad to see their magazine go, but at least they’re gonna keep the podcast going.

  4. Graham says:

    Its a sad day but it appears to be the official beginning of the end for computer games journalism in print form.
    Increasngly advertising is pushing aside editorial and consequently pushing away readers/ subscribers. GFW has fantastic personalities and I hope they continue to podcast but this doesn’t save the jobs of the art team.

  5. Chris Evans says:

    Sad to see what was a classic mag fall from grace…just hope it isn’t a sign of the times and we get to keep classics..at least here in the UK!

  6. Kadayi says:

    Seems the real casualties are art team people by the sound of it (I’m sure they won’t have any problems getting new jobs mind). Good news that they are still doing the podcasting though as it’s a definite must have simply because it’s beyond surreal at times.

  7. sherwinpg says:

    Microsoft is in control for the majority of pc gaming and why would they bother with pc gaming at all since they have their shiny xbox 360 on the market? I think you’ll see Microsoft go even further away from gaming on the PC to strictly more business apps and make sure that their Xbox line is where people should be for gaming…They are in control and I think its on purpose they are steering gaming away from Windows or PC’s in general

  8. alphaxion says:

    damn… as old as I am. I’m too old!

  9. Pidesco says:

    I should say it’s a shame, but the last time I bought a CGW was over 5 years ago. It’s the internet’s fault, really, and the mag isn’t exactly cheap here in Portugal, anyway.

    Also, I discovered out about NOLF through it, so thanks.

  10. unclebulgaria says:

    YouTube link down in flames …

  11. Masked Dave says:

    Why is everyone blaming Microsoft? It’s was the publisher’s decision to change the name and their responsibility.

    Anyway, it’s also irrelevant.

    I’m finding myself very tempted to drop my PC Gamer subscription. I love the mag, and it’s not like it takes long to read, but, well, since they started putting pretty much everything online, I’m not really sure what I’m paying for.

  12. Chris Evans says:

    The ability to read it on the bog ;)

  13. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    Heh, I remember listening to their podcast just after their name change in which they admitted that none of them had Vista working despite them being the official Vista mag.

    This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Viacom International Inc.

    Those lawyers are fast.

  14. dartt says:

    @Chris Evans

    Wait, you can’t see your monitor from your toilet?

  15. Hexx says:

    Man, I loved this mag and the podcast. It’s the only magazine that I am a subscriber to. I loved their features.

  16. Mitch Small says:

    I love the magazine… Hopefully Tom Vs. Bruce makes the online leap.

    Podcast is great, primarily to hear Sean Elliot be awesome.

  17. terry says:

    I didn’t know of CGW becoming WTF because the last magazine I bought was Shareware Shopper, but this seems overly like a sign of the times – magazines can’t command as much advertising revenue anymore, or inform people any better than the internet.

  18. Ben says:

    Urgh. I’ve been reading this since 1986. What am I going to do?! I can’t go to one of those other print mags. It’s a sad day.

  19. Ben Hazell says:

    They probably didn’t have subscribers covers… pretty sure thats why I still have a PCG subscription.
    No, that’s not true. I still buy the print mag because
    a)They take the money quarterly so I don’t notice, and it shows up early so I never have time to reconsider.
    b) As a printed object I read it all, everything about all the games. I read differently online, I filter more and thus fail to read about loads of games I might enjoy. Printed media expands my horizons, the web just lets me obsess over existing interests.

  20. Daniel says:

    How’s this for timing? I’ve subscribed to PCG (the US edition, the only one I can find around here in Canada) for a number of years, but when I was in a bookstore the other day, the cover of the Sims 3 edition of GFW (which I’d never really even paid attention to before) caught my eye so I bought it. As I’m reading it, I’m thinking “hmm… this is pretty interesting, maybe I should subscribe to this alongsise PCG”. And then I check RPS and it’s shutting down.

    For what it’s worth, although I quite preferred the PCG previews and reviews, their feature articles were quite interesting to read, and, for me, the best part of the magazine.

    It’s also kind of funny that their new “permanent” review scoring system will end up lasting a whole one issue.

  21. Vollgassen says:

    Funny I was thinking about cancelling my PCG subscription and getting GFW instead just this morning. PCG (US) has been trash for quite some time now.

  22. Kommissar Nicko says:

    I started reading CGW when I was ten, just before Age of Empires and Starcraft came out. From that time, I watched it thin from a nearly half-inch thick publication (and not just adverts, by the way) to one of the oversized, plasticine picturebooks we see today.

    I’m not sure when I stopped reading mags altogether, but there was a games-journalism void for several years until I found RPS.

  23. AbyssUK says:

    CGW had this coming… Games for windows.. seriously not even Robbie Williams sold out that much.

  24. teo says:

    I just cancelled my PCG UK subscription to get this one instead

    sucks
    PCG should try to get with the times and realize that people will already know most of what they’ve written because of the internet

    “CGW had this coming… Games for windows.. seriously not even Robbie Williams sold out that much.”

    They had more integrity than almost any other gaming publication out there. And I am unable to express myself without resorting to childish insults.

  25. Myros says:

    Sorry to see this classic go. Still had a huge collection of really old issues until a recent move from Florida to Scotland forced some tough choices. Ah well.

    Cant say they were of much interest to me recently though, partly due to the interent and great sites like this and partly to the whole microsoft thing.

    Sad to see it go, glad it makes no difference to me whatsover … long live RPS ;p

  26. Coleman says:

    If you don’t listen to it (or haven’t listened to the current episode), download the latest GFW podcast from 1UP. The guys talk a lot about what happened and their thoughts on the industry at large. And ways to make it a better place for the writers and the readers.

  27. Ginger Yellow says:

    I like the GFW podcast a lot (never read the mag), but I do wish they wouldn’t talk about Lost so much.

  28. Geoff says:

    I’m a subscriber. Yeah, the name change was dumb, though I remember chuckling and thinking “well, at least they’re honest. It’s not like CGW was covering lots of Mac or Linux options.”

    Biggest thing I’ll miss (as someone else mentions above) is Tom vs Bruce.

  29. Crispy says:

    Name was a sufficient putoff for me to never read this magazine. Suffice to say I was never aware of the CGW-to-GFW handover. I did buy a few issues of CGW about a decade ago.

    I don’t do mags any more because they are hideously expensive when I consider I can get all of this information from a selection of unbiased sources online (and if it’s an exclusive -from a scan somewhere, somehow). Add to this the fact that the readers’ comments will usually pick up on anything the reviewer had to leave out because of space constraints, and I have a system that works for me. RockPaperShotgun, Mod Database and EuroGamer, with a light sprinkling of MetaCritic, GameSpot, and the Gamasutra/GameSetWatch/GamePolitics RSS feeds, are more than enough to keep me informed and entertained.

  30. Paul Moloney says:

    I love [PC Gamer UK], and it’s not like it takes long to read, but, well, since they started putting pretty much everything online, I’m not really sure what I’m paying for.

    I started a subscription 2 months ago, and what’s even worse now is that I’ve gotten the last 2 issues 2 weeks later and 4 weeks late respectively, by which time I’d read much of the content on the website. Normally I buy the mag from the shops on the publication day, so avoiding most of the content on the site.

    After enquiring at the Future magazine support line about this, I got a callback yesterday from a guy suggesting that the reason for the delay was “it was being passed around the local houses”. No, I have no absolutely no idea what he meant, either. If the May issue is late, I’ll just cancel.

    P.

  31. Dean says:

    They’ve started putting old installments of Tom vs Bruce online. According to Green, TvB should make the transition, as long as everyone involved still wants to do it.

  32. Michael says:

    I have to say their podcast was one of my favourite (if not THE favourite) podcasts I listen(ed) to, I hope they keep it up under a different name, but with the same people.
    As for the magazine, I only saw the one or the other issue whilst in the US, can’t say much about it. For me it was really just the podcast.