RIP Nintendo Power Magazine: 1988-2012

on August 21 2012 3:11 PM

One of the longest-running printed video game magazines in the U.S. in Canada, Nintendo Power magazine will finally close its doors after a 24-year run. Future plc, the company responsible for distributing the magazine, opted to not renew its contract or take part in digital incentives to keep the magazine running, and decided to halt publication entirely.

Sources from Future plc said Nintendo was always "difficult to work with," and the company didn't "seem interested in taking over direct control of the magazine again," sources told Ars Technica.

Future plc did not say how many more issues of Nintendo Power are planned to be published, or how it plans to compensate current subscribers for shuttering the publication. According to the company's press materials, Nintendo Power enjoys roughly 475,000 monthly readers; the company just released its 281st issue in August.

Nintendo Power was one of the original gaming magazines aimed at young players, giving readers stories, sneak peeks and reviews of all the games coming to the various Nintendo systems, including the Nintendo, Super Nintendo, and Game Boy handhelds. The publication originally spawned as an off-shoot to Nintendo's monthly Nintendo Fun Club newsletter.

After Nintendo Power launched in summer 1998, the magazine was produced and distributed bi-monthly by Nintendo of America; that changed in September 2007, when Nintendo announced that Nintendo Power would be taken over by Future US, the San Francisco-based magazine publisher owned by Future plc, which also publishes other videogame magazines like PC Gamer, TechRadar, MacLife, and the official magazines for Playstation and Xbox.

After 2007, Nintendo Power - like most magazines - began to struggle keeping circulation numbers up. Due to new management, the magazine had also become much more independent from Nintendo, and as a result, readership fell.

With the advent of the 24/7 news cycle, Nintendo Power has been unable to keep up with other rival magazines, most of which have moved online. Nintendo Power's circulation fell 10 percent in the first six months of 2012; that was likely enough for Future plc to cut its losses. That is, after all, what most parent companies seem to be doing with their printed publications.

Most recently in November, Nintendo Power rival GamePro was shut down by its parent company after 22 years of publications. Hopefully, Nintendo Power will suffer the same fate as GamePro, in that the company's entire portfolio won't be eradicated, but rather moved online for easier access. Most other magazines - especially about videogames - have largely moved online, but one of the few exceptions to the rule is Game Informer, which has become the third-most popular magazine in the country in 2012 thanks to its mega-relationship with games retailer GameStop.

Many young adults will always remember Nintendo Power's buyer's guides, its annual Nintendo Power Awards, the mailbag letters, the comics, and the free game posters that would sometimes come with the magazines. But above all, readers will always have the nostalgia of getting a new Nintendo Power in the mail, flipping open the pages to look at all of the new games coming on the horizon, and using the latest tips and tricks to get past really difficult levels in a game. Nintendo Power was responsible for many great memories, particularly within the Smith household, and for that, we thank you.

Nintendo Power is dead. Long live Nintendo Power.