Author Topic: RETRO: The Multi-Format, Throw-Back Video Game Magazine  (Read 18827 times)

Offline triverse

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Re: RETRO: The Multi-Format, Throw-Back Video Game Magazine
« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2013, 21:52:27 PM »
I can't go into details as to who is making what (or how I know) but it is substantial money per article.  That concerns me.  Knowing their print options, cheap paper (daily newspaper quality) and how many issues they will have to purchase to get low enough to turn at least a $1 per issue profit.  Not counting the discount they are giving for subscriptions, which I presume includes shipping at about $2 per issue, they will have to print each issue for a maximum of $2 to turn a $1 profit.

That puts them at having to push 50,000+ issues every two months just to maintain their finances and to keep them from having to go back to Kickstarter for future issues. 

I don't be mean to be a naysayer but I simply don't see 50,000+ issues sold.  EGM is having trouble pushing a slightly higher number than that and they have a "name" to work with.  Gamefan when it was revived was only able to afford printing about 65,000 copies per issue and till they got in with Hastings and a couple of other book stores, they had trouble pushing all of those issues through retail (when they had their online store open, they had over 10,000 total issues carried over the span of six issues- the store was closed before issue 7 shipped).

These are magazines with a name, they have clout with distribution channels, they have the "inside track" with developers, they have/had striving websites bringing readers in on a daily basis and they still had trouble selling through their issues.

In a recent interview on The Retro League, Mike Kennedy discussed "Retro" for about 20 minutes.  He mentioned a few gaming stores they are getting the magazine on the shelves of.  Best of luck to them.  That does not mean they will succeed though.  I was going to work with many of those same stores back in 2011 when I was originally going to launch RGM.  They are part of the reason it failed to launch- I tried too hard to find ways to get down to the price point they wanted to sell the mag at, then they would pay "half that" and split the profits 30/70 in their favor.  Remember the beginning with the price per issue I mentioned?  To be in these stores will require them to be at that price or even lower per issue.  Cutting into potential profits even more.

I do wish them the best of luck but their business model is flawed.  Severely.

For Retro Gaming Magazine, we are going with Magcloud for print.  We will be offering severely discounted prices through our website though thanks to publisher discounts on volume purchases.  Magcloud is not cheap but we are not making a cheap throw away magazine either.  We are working on making each issue a collectible, it will certainly have collectible pricing.  The print will be for people that want their magazine in their hands and to have something that will look just as good in 20 years as it does today.  Don't believe me?  Grab a "near mint" Gamefan off of Ebay.  They used 80 pound paper stock in the original (pre- 1996) issues and they hold amazingly well.

Using Magcloud also keeps us from having to have more than a minimal amount of issues on hand to fulfill orders at the discounted prices, which equals less risk and we are able to continue the mag longer than if we went with a traditional publishing option that required we purchase upwards of 20,000 copies at a time (to get a sub $4 price per issue on a lower grade paper).

Don't get me wrong, I want them to succeed but I don't see them making it long with their business model.  Shipping isn't free, apparently they will be receiving the bulk order (shipping charge) then manually sorting, addressing then mailing out those issues (another shipping charge and lost time doing a lot of work) to people that bought them.

It simply is not a sustainable business model based on what is available on their Kickstarter page.

Offline Greyfox

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Re: RETRO: The Multi-Format, Throw-Back Video Game Magazine
« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2013, 22:56:26 PM »
Upon reading your statements, I have to say I agree 100%, I knew this self, basing foreseeable pricing and profits based on hopes of meeting that quota, was a very poor judgement and hindsight its will be more than lightly their demise, I think they've litterly taken the meaning Retro for far gone conclusion that, that applies to printing and shipping terms that existed in the 80's.

The dynamic for today's market is to hold interest as attention spans these days are so short, they've moved onto something else within minutes, digital distribution has helped this along also, making publication near disposable to the reader, which is of course a bad thing, and raising cost of printing, shipping, and taxes, as Triverse has said, huge numbers just to turn a buck profit, I think the people behind "Retro" have real passion for what they are creating here, it just be far fetched in the notion that people are going to buy this in huge numbers, based I reckon from there research into the Retro gaming community on how much money is spend on retro gaming is not what it's going to be in reality which is sad, but again, I hope they enjoy the ride doing it, as I have 3 times before ;)

Offline triverse

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Re: RETRO: The Multi-Format, Throw-Back Video Game Magazine
« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2013, 23:22:49 PM »
I know a lot of people will take my comments the wrong way but they stand as truth as I see it from many angles. 

About their pricing/expectations of the retro community, they should never have made these mistakes considering who is involved in the mag.  Let's take a look:

Mike Kennedy- owner of the only viable alternative to Ebay at the moment, Game Gavel.  He has tried for years to break the less than 200 active members on his site to no avail.  Just look at the completed auctions and see how many have actually sold- it is not many.  Mike is quick to push the "flash in the pan" item like complete Air Raid cartridges or Tengen Tetris review units, etc.  The problem is, those only bring in looky loos, not real/quality buyer/sellers.  People that come in on that stuff only care about seeing that one auction and what it sells for then they are done.

Michael Thomasson - owner of Homebrew Heaven/Good Deal Games.  This guy makes cartridge releases, re-releases, new games, etc for old consoles.  He has an EXTREMELY good placement on the pulse of the retro community and what it will bear.

Andy Eddy - former man behind many gaming magazines over the years, most notably, @Gamer and years ago, Video Games and Computer Entertainment.  He knows better than anyone on this team how hard it is to sell physical issues today.

Then there are the Internet people like Seanbaby.  If I was running "Retro" I would have a site up and capitalizing on the "celebrity" of these people, getting articles out on the news sites, building a fanbase for these people under the "Retro" banner.  That not happening means one thing to me, as an outsider- they are not doing anything till this thing is funded and they aren't doing anything without guaranteed pay.  What happens if this thing is not funded, how many of these people will stick around to get it launched?  Not many, I think.

It spells one thing about this magazine.  They are in it for the money, if they were in it for the fans, for the betterment of the scene as Mike has mentioned in that previously stated interview, then why aren't they building their brand now? Imagine if they had a site up, a regular readership of a few hundred thousand a month (not hard with the heavy hitters they have listed) and then had launched this Kickstarter?

Believe me, if I could have afforded some of these guys, I would have loved to grab them for Retro Gaming Magazine.  The problem is, I can't guarantee pay at the moment and they aren't interested in truly being on the ground floor of anything.  They have "Internet fame" so why would they volunteer for a short term in hope of making a big payoff later?

One thing that concerns me is, they have someone like [name omitted upon request] on staff but are not letting him layout the mag.  WHY!?!  The man has over 25 years of experience in art, layouts and related media.  I hired him to handle our covers for goodness sake!  If I could afford him, I would pay him to lay out Retro Gaming Magazine- that may happen later, depending on how things go.  The point is, when you have someone with that much experience on staff, why would you NOT use him?  You are already hitting Kickstarter for funds, just add whatever he needs to do the mag into the asking price and let it roll.

Second, where are the previews of this thing?  Why are they not showing any internal content other than just "retro ads"?  I plan on having quite a bit of free pages available before I even think of putting up purchase links and information for Retro Gaming Magazine.  I want readers to know exactly what they are getting for their money before they plunk down the cash.  Maybe I am doing it wrong.

We have a profit margin on the print of about $3 an issue right now.  That may seem like a lot but it is not when you figure in the costs of marketing, paying staff and getting content ready.  This stuff costs money, unlike making a website around Wordpress, each page has to be created nearly from scratch.  That $3 profit margin also allows us room to wiggle for sales, subscriptions and the like.  If we sell the ad space available in each issue, I plan on dropping the per issue cost to the bare minimum that it costs to print them.  The ad money will be more than enough to pay everyone a fair wage for their work that is above the average writer earning rate.  We are not expecting a ton of sales of the print, it would be suicide if we were.  We are expecting a lot of sales of the digital and hoping we can reach critical mass on the site where we sell banner space and the like.  Will we get rich on this?  Most likely not.  More likely, the people that start this journey won't be the same people that are there for issue #6 in a year.  I can assure everyone though, if you buy a subscription, you will get all of your issues if I have to write the whole mag, lay it out and mail it myself.

They are putting the cart before the horse on this unfortunately. 

Offline TL

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Re: RETRO: The Multi-Format, Throw-Back Video Game Magazine
« Reply #18 on: October 30, 2013, 01:36:56 AM »
Sean Baby would have to PAY ME to let him be involved in a retro gaming magazine.

Offline triverse

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Re: RETRO: The Multi-Format, Throw-Back Video Game Magazine
« Reply #19 on: October 30, 2013, 01:45:15 AM »
If you knew what they were paying him you probably would be sick.

Offline TL

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Re: RETRO: The Multi-Format, Throw-Back Video Game Magazine
« Reply #20 on: October 30, 2013, 01:48:05 AM »
Quote from: "triverse"
If you knew what they were paying him you probably would be sick.

I probably would be, especially when I am a retro gaming journalist myself. Without being even slightly big-headed I am a million times a better writer than Sean Baby ever is too. I have no idea how that guy ever got a job.

I don't think much of Pat The NES Punk either but that's much less of an issue.

Offline triverse

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Re: RETRO: The Multi-Format, Throw-Back Video Game Magazine
« Reply #21 on: October 30, 2013, 01:52:43 AM »
Let's just say, they are paying him more than my planned advertising budget just to get RGM up and running.  For comparison sake, I spent about $500 getting my other mag up and going, Gaming on Batteries Magazine - http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/433708.  I am planning on spending just a little more to get RGM going (focused FB ads, Adsense, Bing, etc).

Sad.  Just sad.  It is decisions like this that make me wonder how long these people will be with the mag.

Offline TrekMD

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Re: RETRO: The Multi-Format, Throw-Back Video Game Magazine
« Reply #22 on: October 30, 2013, 02:13:29 AM »
Thanks for your posts and perspective, triverse.  An interesting read that raises valid concerns about the viability of this magazine.  I just looked at the KS campaign and they still haven't met goal but there are 4 days left and they are close.  This may end up making it at the last minute. 

Going to the final frontier, gaming...

Offline TrekMD

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Re: RETRO: The Multi-Format, Throw-Back Video Game Magazine
« Reply #23 on: October 30, 2013, 22:29:04 PM »
I just checked and looks like this made it to goal.  Congrats to their team for getting to goal ahead of time!  Now, let's hope for the best.  :)

Going to the final frontier, gaming...

Offline Greyfox

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Re: RETRO: The Multi-Format, Throw-Back Video Game Magazine
« Reply #24 on: October 30, 2013, 23:40:16 PM »
Lets hope for the best, isn't that wishful thinking  :21:

Again I'll wait the arrival of the digital version and take it apart piece by piece on technical merit, I just hope I don't see the word Awesome being used allot in the magazine!

Offline triverse

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Re: RETRO: The Multi-Format, Throw-Back Video Game Magazine
« Reply #25 on: October 31, 2013, 01:01:35 AM »
Exclamation points may be something better to worry about seeing overused.

Offline zapiy

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Re: RETRO: The Multi-Format, Throw-Back Video Game Magazine
« Reply #26 on: October 31, 2013, 01:09:48 AM »
From my point of view everyone is entitled to a chance guys, alot of you are known in the scene and you know others but some of us like me are not and therefore i am open to giving someone that chance.. :113:
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Offline Greyfox

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Re: RETRO: The Multi-Format, Throw-Back Video Game Magazine
« Reply #27 on: October 31, 2013, 01:18:51 AM »
I totally agree Zap, but I'm not on the band wagon of hoping it will fail, my argument and concerns were over the funding for continual production of the product, Triverse added to this like with actual factual information, I of course actually wish them the best of luck and have no I'll feeling towards any who are involved, but I still my ground, the content may be great or rubbish, but to create this on a regular basis, there kick starter only cover 2-3 issues which I think they are hoping will turn enough revenue around to make more in the coming months , or it could be a one hit wonder which they are already aware off..

Who knows, but again, its another Retro mag for us to lay our hands on, and I myself can't get enough off :)

Offline triverse

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Re: RETRO: The Multi-Format, Throw-Back Video Game Magazine
« Reply #28 on: October 31, 2013, 01:29:57 AM »
I apologize if my comments come off as doom-sayer stuff for them.  My comments were meant as facts, though personal taste probably still got through.  I have been through Kickstarter before with my own magazine, and it failed, which was fine when I found out that right off the bat, all Kickstarter projects that are funded lose 20% to KS and then 5% to Paypal.  This is something I hope Retro planned for because at the moment, they are only getting about $38,000 or so.

I hope they make it, I hope they make plenty of issues and are more than just a one hit wonder (I have worked on those before- anyone remember GameGO! Magazine?).  It is tough to come back from that type of setback.  It can be avoided if you keep an eye on quality content and coming through for the fans that believe and of course, keeping a firm, tight, grip on the purse strings and a good bit of knowledge as to where the money is going.

It remains to be seen how they will fare.  No one knows.  Going by what Mike Kennedy has made available in interviews and various forums, FB posts, etc, they have not even started on the mag yet (they are waiting for the KS funds).  I hope that means they were waiting to see if the project was successful to begin and not that they are waiting for the funds to clear before starting.  If they wait for the funds to clear, they are going to be later than January.

I am good friends with [name omitted upon request], I can only wish him best of luck with this project.  The same for the rest of the team.  They have a nice collection of alumni, now let's see a magazine come of it.  The fans have spoken, they are interested in seeing this go through to at least one issue (or six depending on how you look at it as they are offering a subscription option in that KS).

Offline zapiy

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Re: RETRO: The Multi-Format, Throw-Back Video Game Magazine
« Reply #29 on: October 31, 2013, 01:40:06 AM »
I never thought that for a minute guys, all i meant was i guess i don't know these people so i guess i am seeing this from a totally different perspective than others.. :113:
Own: Jaguar, Lynx, Dreamcast, Saturn, MegaDrive, MegaCD, 32X, GameGear, PS3, PS, PSP, Wii, GameCube, N64, DS, GBA, GBC, GBP, GB,  Xbox, 3DO, CDi,  WonderSwan, WonderSwan Colour NGPC