The latest ABC figures have shown circulation dropping almost across the board for gaming magazines in the UK during the first six months of the year. Bucking the trend were Computec's PlayStation World (up by 25% to 79,080) and Future's Games Master (marginally up at 44,853), but otherwise it was all bad news. Future's Official PlayStation Magazine lost 38% of its readers (down to 133,168) as Sony's old warhorse came to the end of its life, while their new Official PlayStation 2 title gained just 1% (up to 82,109) compared to its first three months on sale. Other Sony magazines seeing a decline include Paragon's Play (down 5% to 62,805) and Future's "quirky" PSM2 (down 15% to 44,543).
Things were slightly more stable on the PC, but it was still a difficult time for the big magazine publishers as circulation and advertising alike began to fall off. PC Gamer stalled at 73,695, while PC Zone dropped 3% to 62,071 and last year's new boy PC GamePlay had picked up a mere 35,589 readers after its first full year on sale, having inherited all of the subscribers from the now defunct PC Gaming World. All format titles were also having a hard time of it, with Games Domain Offline dropping 28% to 56,500 (despite the fact that it's free), Edge falling 8% to 25,948 and C&VG plummeting 34% to 30,055.
Speaking to trade magazine CTW, Future's gaming director David Maher Roberts blamed a lack of major new game releases during the first half of the year and said he was confident things would pick up again over the next few months. Future certainly need it, with their share price languishing, jobs being shed left, right and center, and recent take-over talks being called off just hours after they had been announced.