The latest ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulations) six-monthly sales figures for video game magazines in the UK have shown a continued general decline for the industry.
Traditionally one of the most vibrant video games magazine markets in the world, the most popular title during the new six month period, ended December 31st, was Future Publishing's Official PlayStation 2 Magazine. Once one of the top five most successful magazines in the whole of the UK, the title saw its circulation fall from 100,117 to 76,351 - not helped by the delayed launch of the PlayStation 3.
PlayStation World (aka PSW) was Future's best-selling unofficial magazine, although it saw circulation fall from 34,500 to 26,003. PSM3 also fell from 35,993 to just 26,584, making the best selling unofficial PlayStation magazine Play from rival Imagine Publishing. Despite this victory, Play saw a significant circulation drop from an average of 53,102 copies per month in 2005 (official ABC figures were not released for most Imagine titles last year
) to just 29,086 in the new ABC figures. Imagine's Powerstation was down from around 19,946 to 15,171.
Future's Official Xbox 360 Magazine fared better than its PlayStation equivalent, with a circulation up from 42,680 to 56,057. Future's Xbox World 360 remained largely unchanged over the six months at 23,202. This meant that again Future's unofficial magazines were beaten by Imagine Publishing, in this case X360, which was up from an official ABC figure last year of 21,876 to 28,006 in the last six months. Sister title 360 was down from 13,098 to 11,369. 360 Gamer, the sole title from independent publisher Uncooked Media saw sales rise from 9,133 to 10,632.
Future's Official Nintendo Magazine saw its circulation rise from 35,569 to an average of 42,960 copies sold per month. Figures for Imagine's new unofficial rival nRevolution will not be available until the next six month audit.
In terms of PC game magazines, Future's only rival is itself, with PC Gamer falling slightly from 45,295 to 43,620 issues per month, while its acquisition PC Zone fell from 30,022 to 27,002.
Future's multiformat magazine GamesMaster was virtually unchanged at 53,904, while its upmarket sister title Edge saw another record high, with a small increase to 35,145. Imagine's multiformat rival Games TM fell slightly from 21,671 to 20,370 copies per month.