I have been a subscriber to PC Gamer magazine for six or seven years now. I have enjoyed the magazine: its humour, the generally well thought out reviews of computer games, and most especially the regular columns by people like Andy Mahood and Desslock (Stefan Janicki). I could rely on these industry observers to give me something enjoyable to read whenever the games being reviewed failed to interest me… which was more often than not. Each of these writers focused on genres: RPGs, Simulations, First Person Shooters, and so on: I could get reasonably intelligent snapshots of entire industry segments from these folks.
In the April issue of PC Gamer, the new “Editor in Chief”, Gary Steinman, announced the end of the “back of the magazine” columnists. In a failed attempt to be humorous, Mr. Steinman described those who enjoyed these sections as expressing some sort of defect, reading the “wrong” parts of the magazine instead of the stuff he deems “interesting”. Any marginally competent editor would have actually surveyed some readers to see what they actually, oh, I don’t know, enjoyed about the magazine? That might have been wise, but Mr. Steinman didn’t do this.
I have to assume that Gary Steinman isn’t totally incompetent, and that there was really some other reason for the butchery. My best guess would be that the change was made because Mr. Steinman has been assigned the role of “hatchet man”, sent in to brutally hack off the limbs from PC Gamer and reduce costs. The whole thing will now be rubber-stamp written by largely personality-free drones from the British division of Future Media, the company that owns the publication. This will undoubtedly reduce costs. I know these kinds of things happen and, although I wish the new hatchetman…er, editor, could have been more honest, I don’t wish ill upon those who remain.
The problem I have here is that the magazine is now basically a hollow shell. It is nothing more than a bunch of miscellaneous reviews that I could get online for free without having to wade through dozens of pages of stuff I don’t care about. Months ago they actually started reprinting content from the GamesRadar.com website: yes, a print magazine reprinting web content. It would be different, I suppose, if the reprinted content was actually *good*: but instead it is insipidly written “top 10/top x” lists, barely worth reading on a website and a total waste in a print magazine. And let’s not forget the massive “cell phone games” reprints from their sister publications they keep bombarding me with: if I wanted coverage of cell phone games, I’d go buy a cell phone game magazine. With no genre focus areas and no regular personality columnists there really isn’t much left for me to pay for.
I have no plans now to renew when my subscription runs out. I wish Norm, Andy, Desslock, and the other regular columnists who got canned the best of luck. As for PC Gamer and the new editor in chief… I’m sure you just had a job to do, and did what you were told. Good luck pretending it was an improvement.