The specialist press has been fighting its corner after a mixed bag of ABC results.
Nintendo, PlayStation and PC magazines all posted year-on-year readership declines – although Imagine and Uncooked’s 360 publications were both up. Edge saw a fractional increase, while multi-formats GamesMaster and GamesTM dropped as well.
Despite the downward trend, publishers were optimistic given the difficult economic climate – and Future, Imagine and Uncooked alike argued that they were beating market trends.
“2009 was a tough year for games – many of us thought games were recession resilient, and I’m not the only MCV reader that thought that,” said Future’s publishing director James Binns.
“If you compare us to the men’s lifestyle markets we have outperformed the Zoos and FHMs of the world.
“We have been resilient – no one can defy gravity but the numbers we saw last week we are really proud of.”
Imagine’s MD Damian Butt added: “We are very pleased with the latest ABC results because it confirms what we already knew – that Play is the country’s bestselling independent PlayStation mag and X360 is the UK’s leading independent 360 magazine.
“Both are core to Imagine’s successful gaming portfolio. Together with the 22 per cent period-on-period rise for 360 magazine, Imagine now sells over 34,000 Xbox publications a month. And unlike some, our performance doesn’t seem to be affected by the snow.”
Uncooked’s single 360 mag may have been up, but the firm told MCV that it wants to further invest in distribution to boost the circulation of 360 Gamer and its new PlayStation mag, Play*Gamer.
“360 Gamer’s ABC result is a new high for the three-weeker,” said Uncooked sales director Tarik Alozdi.
“Play*Gamer wants to perform better and luckily we’ve had good support early on. This has meant investment in distribution recently. We hope to see the result of that during the coming months.
“We’ve been pushing forward with developing our distribution this past 12 months. You should find the Gamer magazines everywhere you expect to see them, as well as some places you wouldn’t.”
Click here to read our in-depth Games Media Focus.