I never thought I'd see the day when Nintendo's in-house gaming magazine, Nintendo Power, called it quits. IGN has the rumor that Nintendo is about to cut the publication loose, ending its nearly nineteen-year history of providing reviews, tips, interviews, and an incentive for kids to improve their reading skills. I was a long-time Power reader, having subscribed to the magazine from 1989 up through 1997 and then again for a brief freebie subscription in 2005. As a child I loved raiding the mailbox around the middle of the month, eager to get my hands on the latest issue and consume the knowledge contained within. Some have suggested that the magazine could be reborn as a Wii channel, something that I know I'd check out if it were available.
Hot on the heels of the news last week that Nintendo of America was planning to move a significant chunk of its marketing and sales departments from Seattle to either San Francisco or New York, IGN has learned that the company may be planning to close or restructure its official Nintendo Power magazine. Sources close to the publication tell IGN that mass layoffs are underway and that employees are being told to look for new work by September of this year.
In this day and age of websites and instant information a lot of people are wondering if we still need gaming magazines since most all of the news and reviews contained in print has long been revealed, discussed, and digested on the Internet by the time the magazine reaches readers. If I were running the show at Nintendo Power I'd scrap anything that I knew my readers would consider old news and focus on material that I could provide that could be found no place else. I'd pack each issue with interviews from Nintendo's developers, feature a "retro corner" in which an old game due on the Virtual Console is discussed (along with comments from a developer), stories about game development, explore the rabid gaming fan base, and just generally celebrate Nintendo products. I haven't read the magazine in two years so maybe the publishers have already tried this approach (the last time I saw a new issue it did have a column devoted to the fans), but even though I'm no longer a subscriber, I'd hate to see this venerable old stalwart of the industry go down.