GamesMaster could be back on TV in time for Q4, with a new series on a terrestrial channel.
The brand is in the process of being re-invigorated, having been acquired by Future late last year. Previously the firm simply published a magazine under licence from Double Act Films (the company owned by GamesMaster's original producer, Jane Hewland) and was prevented from doing anything online or on-screen.
In the last few months, however, with the shackles off, Future has been talking to production companies, TV networks, publishers and even potential presenters. It is understood that one terrestrial channel has shown considerable interest and is already looking at an early evening slot.
The original GamesMaster was last on Channel 4 in February, 1998. There have been some half-hearted re-runs on Challenge TV, but with little publicity, relevance or, inevitably, viewers.
New GamesMaster would retain some of the elements of the original format, but will be a different proposition, focusing on big new releases, upping the production values, and benefiting from cross-promotion across the Future network.
In a neat dovetailing of skills and opportunity, GamesMaster looks like returning as Future unveils its own video reviewing capabilities as part of First Play (its interactive PSN-distributed show) and the plan is for that element of GamesMaster to be created in-house.
From a marketing point of view the industry is bound to be salivating. Don't be surprised to see the series sponsored by one of the biggest retailers, while publishers will be clamouring to have their products featured and as a targeted advertising slot it's a bullseye.
Future Publishing's James Binns told MCV:
GamesMaster was fun and inclusive. No games show before or since has come close to what it achieved. It'd be great to bring it back.”
The presenter slot is the subject of fevered discussion within Future (and elsewhere). MCV understands that a few approaches have been made, but a replacement for Dominik Diamond is yet to be appointed. If anyone's wondering, yes, Diamond himself has been ruled out.
Although he remains a more likely option than Dexter Fletcher.
GamesMaster magazine will relaunch in May. Future won't create a website for the brand as it doesn't wish to complicate a strategy that includes CVG, GamesRadar and Edge Online, but it will look at podcasts and utilising social networking sites.