Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Is This A RPG Magazine Renaissance?

One day, you wake up, and Dragon Magazine is no longer in print (at least not in its traditional form). You wake up again, and there seems to be a proliferation of gaming magazines.

Not only do we have Pathfinder doing their periodical style-Pathfinder monthly, but we have Troll Lords' The Crusader going monthly. There's Polymancer (which has been around a couple of years now), and of course Kobold Quarterly, which by all accounts has been doing quite well.

There's also Fight On!, which is one of my absolute favorite things to happen in the hobby. Alarums & Excursions is still out there. And of course, old standbys The Rifter and Knights of the Dinner Table are still going strong. There's Dragon Roots, and the upcoming old-school Knockspell (which I am quite looking forward to).

So we have this mix of old and new gaming periodical ventures, with some relatively new entrants on the scene, including several taking advantage of pdf and print-on-demand publishing. Perhaps this is the reason for this apparent surge we've seen lately, but perhaps its just that there's still a market for periodical gaming products, and folks are finding new ways to make it happen.

I'm curious, how many folks out there still follow Dragon via D&D Insider? How many subscribe or check out other gaming magazines now and then such as Fight On! or Kobold Quarterly? Will we see more magazines for gaming out there, and will they be a success? Would you like to see anything new or different for a gaming periodical?

10 comments:

thanuir said...

The only rpg magazine I pay for is the Finnish print magazine Roolipelaaja (http://www.roolipelaaja.fi/), and that one is mostly to support the local roleplaying culture. The articles are occasionally useful, often interesting.

Alex Schroeder said...

I also saw ads for WereDragon magazine. I haven't looked at it, though.

There's the German language Abenteuer. ("Adventures. Full Stop.")

Personally, I'm subscribed to Kobold Quarterly (recently switched from PDF to print), Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Modules, and I bought all the issues of Fight On.

By now I think we have enough magazines. I can't buy much more!

(This is what we call "positive problems" at work...)

Jonathan said...

The question that immediately jumps into my mind is "Who will remain standing?" I mean... all these gaming mags have seemed to spring up in the vacuum created by Dragon and Dungeons consolidation into an entirely online venue. But, is there really enough of an audience of readers to support a dozen different PRINT magazines? OK, PDF publishers sure... their costs are MUCH lower overall, but print subscriptions (which I prefer)... i wonder how long they will last.

In any case, its another sign of the times I think. Things are changing. The RPG gaming industry seems to be getting a healthy dose of grassroots-style (read:oldschool) inventiveness. In another year or so, it should be an interesting to see who is still standing once the dust settles.

John Fiala said...

I pick up the Rifter and the Knights of the Dinner Table when it catches my eye, but Palladium's coverage in Denver is generally poor, and KotDT I only see if I show up on the right week at my comic shop.

I don't subscribe to the new Dungeon/Dragon DDI thing - I downloaded the issues when they were free, but I can't say I ever read an issue. It's just too cumbersome to read.

Jonathan said...

@ John Fiala: hitting the nail on the head! I mean... we all spend enough time reading blogs and spending most of our work days looking at a computer screens - sometimes people forget there's something good about being able to sit on your couch, coffee in one hand, and a news mag or gaming mag in the other. This is what I like about print media - OK, sure... some troll might say "oh, i can do that with my laptop!" or worse "with my iPhone!" ... but come on! there's no substitute for the tactile feel of the printed page.

Donny_the_Dm said...

Aint that the truth!

The subscription model is a dead end. Too many people cherry-pick their issues, so getting an accurate count is nigh impossible.

POD is a great option, but the third party publishers seem to moonlight as rapists as often as not (see LuLu).

We, as a community are too scattered for our relatively small numbers to maintain. Add this economic disaster we have going on at the moment, and it is just toxic lately.

Well said Jon, I agree - only the strongest will survive.

Zachary The First said...

I bet there is a certain segment of the hobby, however, that looks at $30 for 6-12 issues of something vs. $30 for one gaming product, and decides it'd be nice to get something regularly for an initial outlay. What that segment's size is, I don't know. Perhaps we'll have a better idea when we see who's standing in a year.

Olman Feelyus said...

It's fun having a magazine delivered monthly to your door. I had a subscription to KoDT but I let it run out when I moved. I still pick it up regularly at the LGS. Gives me an excuse to drop in there.

Kayla Silverhand said...

There are indeed a lot of electronic and otherwise gaming periodicals now. I, as part of 2 of them (WereDragon and Phoenix Lore), do hope to be still standing in a year. I started WereDragon after the loss of Dungeon. I hope to fill a void I thought needed filling and hopefully do it well. I miss my Dungeon in print form and hope to get WereDragon into print eventually to do just that.

Jason said...

We in Sheffield (http://irregularmagazine.com)have been running a PDF free magazine since 2009, published quarterly and we now have an average readership of 4,500 + per issue. Now currently working on issue 7, with an average page count of between 80-100 pages of content and no advertising per issue.

I think there is room for a number of magazine and e-zines, and its healthy for the hobby for them to be around. I read several which include, Encounter, Signs and Portents, along with several others.