It has been announced that the Computer & Video Games brand is going to be relaunched, four years after it was closed down. Yet another case of a Zombie brand. But where Atari failed and where I expect Commodore to fail, I can see this revival working.
- The brand has the USP of being the original video games magazine
- While the magazine was put to rest, the website continued successfully
- Limiting itself to specials can keep the nostalgia running for a longer period
- Future Publishing seem to know what they are doing
- And let’s face it, serious video gamers can be a geeky bunch and this is the sort of thing they will appreciate
However, I do retain one note of caution. I’m surprised that the publishers have chosen to go with the more modern/mainstream Grand Theft Auto with the launch issue. This obviously has the benefit of tying in with the forthcoming GTA IV, but the core audience will not necessarily be aware of the history of the publication. Personally, I would have gone with a Sim City or Doom – a title which reaches back to CVG’s heyday. The market may be smaller, but it would be more fanatical and there would be more appreciation for a high-quality retrospective. By going down this route, it appears that the nostalgic appeal of the print brand is secondary to the ongoing website cross-promotion. I’m sure Future have done their research, and they must have concluded that this was the more profitable direction.
Obviously, success or failure will not result purely from the masthead – there needs to be a decent magazine behind it. But Vanity Fair has shown that magazines with a strong heritage can be successful revived, and I don’t see why Computer & Video Games can’t follow a similar path.