PC press feels the pinch

Closure of two titles leads to claims of a market in crisis.Start-up Imagine ready for launch.
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TWO MAGAZINE titles aimed at PC
gamers have closed within a month of
each other.

Live Publishing?s PC
Extreme and Highbury?s GigaHz have
both published their last issue amid
concerns of stagnation in the PC
gaming market.

Live Publishing editorial director
Wayne Williams cited poor advertising
and overseas sales as factors in the
decision to cease publication of the
specialist modding and games title.

?PC Extreme is very much a niche
title and was not pulling in the
revenue it was a few years ago,? said
Williams in an interview with leading
games trade mag MCV. ?Undoubtedly
the PC market is nowhere near what it
was; PCs aren?t as popular as they
once were. I think most people would
rather have a console to play games.?

Inevitable comments from a
publisher presiding over the failure of
a PC gaming magazine, but ominous
nonetheless. Seven staff are to be laid
off following the closure of the
magazine, which was launched in
December 2002.

GigaHz was only launched a year
ago and was a brave move considering
the presence of incumbents Custom PC
and PC Extreme. ?The PC magazine
market has been slowing for over two
years,? Highbury publishing director
Dave Taylor told MCV. ?The market is
changing, and we need to find the
right type of magazine to cater for
changing tastes.?

Despite the closure of GigaHz,
Taylor remains optimistic for the
future: ?We?ve got to take what
worked and build on those elements
for future publications. The launch of
Windows Vista will help the market
out. If anything, the niche has opened
up rather than closed down.?

When pushed on whether Highbury
will be replacing the title, Taylor added:
?It?s fair to say that we?ll be revisiting
the PC market in a different form.?

It?s not all doom and gloom in the
technology publishing world, however,
as new kid on the block, Imagine
Publishing, announces its first two
titles.

360 is dedicated to the upcoming
Microsoft Xbox 360 console,
while Mac Creative is a high-end
Apple Macintosh title aimed at
advanced users.

Imagine, which is based in
Bournemouth, has been formed by the
former directors of Paragon Publishing,
which was sold to Highbury House in
2003 for ?32m.

Further magazine
launches are expected over the next
three months as Imagine gears up.

As the latest ABC figures show,
Dennis is setting the standard for PC
magazines with the two highest
circulation titles, well ahead of rivals
VNU and Future.

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