Ziff Davis has seen the circulation of its Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine rise 36 percent to 375,000 during the first six months of 2000, but it’s the next six months that may prove to be the most exciting for the San Francisco-based publication.
Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine this week unveiled its redesigned, reformatted July 2000 issue that will seek to widen the magazine’s coverage and begin the countdown to the much-anticipated October 26 launch of the Sony PlayStation2 console.
With an estimated 27 million Sony PlayStation consoles in the United States, OPM is expanding its editorial content in an effort to acknowledge the PlayStation’s impact beyond the hardcore gaming community and into on the mainstream culture.
“We want to tap into how the PlayStation is affecting people’s entertainment and its influence on pop culture and how those things and the games themselves are crossing over,” explained John Davison, OPM’s editor-in-chief. Today, popular bands are doing soundtracks for the games, while producers and scriptwriters are involved in developing the games, he noted. “So we’ve redesigned it to become an entertainment magazine that is focused on the PlayStation.”
Davison said the company studied how other publications that launched as specialty books, such as Spin and Premiere, have branched out to cover mainstream culture. In doing so, OPM determined that its core focus on gaming offered a strong opportunity to expand.
“With gaming, you have every genre to look at,” he said. PlayStation games cover nearly every sport, action-adventure, horror, military and children’s theme one can think of. The trick will be finding a way to tie the video games aspects to the real-world experience.
In the July 2000 issue, skateboarding legend Tony Hawk is featured on the cover. OPM selected him because the skateboarding video game with his name was one of the PlayStation’s biggest selling titles in 1999, selling 1 million copies within only a few months. Hawk is also a pop-culture icon in the skating/extreme sports world who OPM felt could best represent the convergence of the two worlds. Other areas of expanding or new coverage include sci-fi and movie reviews.