Microsoft, the computer industry giant, and Ziff-Davis, the gaming-mag giant, just sent word that they've joined forces to rip the covers off all future issues of the seminal (and creatively titled) computer gaming mag, Computer Gaming World. In their place will be shiny, new Games for Windows: The Official Magazine covers. And here we were thinking CGW was a creative name! As part of their rebranding strategy, they'll also be renaming the cgw.1up.com site (we imagine to the much more memorable gfwtom.1up.com).
Don't worry about the mag's intrepid staff, they aren't being booted on their keisters (just yet), rather "the new magazine and web initiative will carry on the editorial, production and art staff of Computer Gaming World." So this is just branding; Microsoft's goal of marketing Windows Vista as a gaming console continues. Like any "official" magazine, we'll need to reconsider coverage of first-party (in this case, Microsoft Game Studios) properties but, otherwise, CGW already was a Windows-focused gaming mag. But when the oldest video game publication still in existence (founded in 1981) adds corporate sponsorship to their name, you know something's up in dead tree land.
[Update: Firing Squad spoke with CGW ... err, GfW:tOM's editor Jeff Green about the situation. They write, "Green also said that their contract with Microsoft states that Microsoft will not have any editorial influence on the new Games For Windows magazine and said that long time CGW readers should trust that will be the case." The last issue of CGW will be Oct. 06 and GfW:tOM will debut in Nov. or Dec. 06.]
Read the entire press release after the break.
Ziff Davis Announces Integrated Media Alliance with Microsoft
Includes New Games for Windows Magazine and Web Presence
SAN FRANCISCO, August 2, 2006 – Ziff Davis, the prominent gaming magazine and website publisher, today announced an integrated media collaboration with Microsoft. Ziff Davis will serve as the independent editorial voice for Microsoft's Games for Windows initiative. As part of the strategic relationship, Ziff Davis is launching a new magazine called Games for Windows: the Official Magazine and a companion website on the 1UP Network. Microsoft will drive traffic and readership to the magazine and to the 1UP Network, and will promote the Games for Windows magazine as part of their Games for Windows marketing efforts. The magazine and integrated online components will launch in Fall 2006.
Ziff Davis' online integration will include a Games for Windows website on the 1UP network. The website will host editorial features, social networking, and blogs, as well as game demos, patches, downloads, trailers and original video content from FileFront.com and GameVideos.com. In addition, Ziff Davis will collaborate with Microsoft in the area of online and interactive content for Games for Windows. Microsoft's website, GamesForWindows.com, will also link to the 1UP Network for users who want additional content.
"We believe Ziff Davis Game Group is the ideal industry partner for Microsoft as we advance the Windows platform and Games for Windows initiative," said Rich Wickham, director of Games for Windows at Microsoft. "We value Ziff Davis' innovation in integrating diverse media together and wanted that creative force driving the official Games for Windows magazine and website on the 1UP Network."
The collaboration with Ziff Davis Game Group represents a significant step in Microsoft's larger marketing push for the Games for Windows brand: the magazine shares the same "Games for Windows" branding that will appear on game packaging and in leading retailers throughout the U.S. beginning this Fall.
"We share Microsoft's passion for expanding the Windows gaming market," said Scott McCarthy, President of Ziff Davis Game Group. "This alliance will enable us to reach a wider audience than ever before, both in print and online, and it affirms Microsoft's commitment to gaming on the Windows platform. We're looking forward to working with Microsoft."
Games for Windows: the Official Magazine will incorporate much of Computer Gaming World's best-of-class editorial style and tone, while broadening its reach, influence and editorial content to complement the coming renaissance in gaming on Windows PCs. To ensure clear market leadership position, upon the launch of Games for Windows: the Official Magazine, Ziff Davis will no longer publish Computer Gaming World. The new magazine and web initiative will carry on the editorial, production and art staff of Computer Gaming World.