After just five issues, the official World of Warcraft Magazine is closing up shop. First announced back in 2009, the publication was plagued by delays and shifting deadlines, not to mention on-going dramas with staffing and writers.
Current subscribers have been given two options – claim a refund for the issues that will never be printed, or pick up a voucher for six in-game World of Warcraft pets. Publisher Future US has also suggested that gamers who still feel attached to print media subscribe instead to PC Gamer.
The magazine itself was a thing of beauty – a glossy magazine untarnished by advertising (if you could ignore, of course, the detail that the entire publication was promoting a single product), with lush illustrations, great writing and often, very solid coverage on the game and some behind-the-scenes glimpses of Blizzard at work.
But – while the decision to axe the mag is disappointing, it’s not necessarily a surprise. Inaugural editor-in-chief Dan Amrich left his position well before the first issue belatedly hit the stands, and has recently spoken publicly about his less-than-pleasant experience working with Blizzard. (He’s now working for Activision as company blogger One of Swords, if you’d like to keep up with him.)
Then of course there’s a couple of simple facts. Firstly, video game fans (or most people of a certain generation) will generally prefer digital media to analogue. Something that can be read on a computer, e-reader or mobile phone may have had a greater audience share.
Secondly, WoW players already have one subscription to pay per month. Even the dedicated ones aren’t necessarily interested enough to fork out for another, even for something as pretty as this magazine.
…that said, neither Future or Blizzard have outright explained just why the mag has folded. The obvious assumption is low sales numbers, but we could be on completely the wrong track, as the reasons behind the decision remain a mystery.