So Nintendo Force? Here’s what I think about it
If you’ve been a regular visitor of various Nintendo news site recently, you may know that the staff of sites like GoNintendo, Nintendo Life and Nintendo World Report are working on a Nintendo news and article magazine that they hope will replace Nintendo Power now that the latter is gone for good. But while I wish them all the best here, I have to admit I’m skeptical of whether this whole idea will work out.
Above: Nintendo Force Magazine; successful or delusional?
For one thing, is the Nintendo news market even something that works in print any more? Because as I’ve said for many months now, gaming magazines are virtually irrelevant in this day and age, you can find the exact same information online for free months or weeks before it turns up in a magazine sold in shops. And while I do like GoNintendo and the other sites who seem to be helping with this, their real purpose is basically just a Nintendo RSS feed that reprints whatever Nintendo news is coming through the pipeline today. If that’s all this magazine consists of (and most magazines really do), then their websites have basically made their own magazine obsolete before it’s even started.
But even if it is all original articles, I’m not sure I’d subscribe or buy it. Why should I? If I want to read someone’s rants and opinions on games, you’ve got hundreds of different websites where you can get them for free. And quite a few of those are as well written as any magazine. Game design articles or other intelligent, more academic stuff? Gamasutra and Critical Gaming have you covered. General lists and rants about the five best or worst whatever? You then have to compete with Official Nintendo Magazine, Cracked, Games Radar, maybe 1UP and pretty much every gaming and general article site on the planet. Which again have the nice advantage of being free.
Above: I doubt any gaming magazine on the planet can analyse games better than that site.
Talking of Official Nintendo Magazine, am I the only one skeptical about how this Nintendo Force is going to be able to compete with them? Because in all practicality, they’re basically Nintendo Power’s direct equivalent and with most of the same content, yet happen to be web savvy and know how to market their stuff online (aka they actually put their editorials and reviews online for free and use social networking to the fullest degree), are under an actual license from Nintendo and additionally have real professional journalists working there. How is Nintendo Force going to compete with that? Oh yes, that’s not all. Remember NGamer? They’re now a fully free online publication too, complete with a paid editorial team and a pretty high standard of content.
Above: Because the UK equivalent of Nintendo Power is still running. And gives away its content online.
Let’s also not forget another problem with some like this: magazine scans and ‘piracy’. What’s to stop people just scanning the content and sticking it online for free anyway? It’s a pretty common issue for magazines, with certain forums having the whole magazine uploaded and available for free. It certainly happened to Nintendo Power before they stopped writing it, and I’m sure it’s probably common with Official Nintendo Magazine, N Gamer, Edge, etc. All it takes is one or two scans and your paid content is now free online for anyone to read.
Above: Magazine scans make your content unprofitable.
But yes, I wish them all the best of luck with the magazine (should be interesting to see whether it can compete with Pure Nintendo’s project), yet am sort of skeptical about the whole thing and whether gaming magazines even have a place in this age where all information is available for free online.