I recently discovered a thread on the new Edge forum which asked as to why people read Edge. Here are my opinions as to why I DON’T read Edge. Please note: these are my opinions, and do not in any way represent the views and opinions of gamers everywhere.
I started reading Edge magazine around issue #6 (or was it #9? Either way, I guess I’m a “lifer”). But I gave up on it a few years ago, because as much as I wanted to stick with the magazine (out of some sheer mis-placed sense of loyalty), its arrogance in continuing to promote “videogame culture” just took the fun out of it for me. Also, towards the end, I just found the magazine’s feature articles and columns to be really boring. Even Steven Poole couldn’t reignite my interest when he returned as a column writer.
Thank God for Games TM, a multiformat magazine that does a better job of conveying the enthusiasm one should feel toward the medium. Its features are always informative (much like the Edge of yore), and are always really fun to read.
Reading Edge in comparison is like watching a really old couple who’ve decided to stick together, even thought the passion that they once had for each other died a long time ago. For me, Edge now represents a creatively stifled brand that has little meaning and significance within an increasingly fragmented marketplace (even though Tony Mott et al continue to peddle it as being the one-size-fits-all “videogame bible” – which in itself is the height of misguided arrogance).
Edge’s recent redesign is also testament to an editorial philosophy that harks back to a time when the internet didn’t exist. And in an age when the web offers a two-way dialogue, so that a news article eventually comes to represent an ever-changing organism that is constantly evolving, Edge continues to stand by its firm stance in only purporting to offer a one-way stream of dialogue.
Judging by what Rllmukforum gets up to, I get the impression that most gamers are lazy, incredibly stupid and have nothing meaningful to say… and although I honestly believe that each and everyone of us has the ability to carve out a successful name for ourselves in the gaming industry, not everyone of us has the desire. It’s for this reason that I understand (yet lament) Edge’s insistence in taking away the “Online/Offline” component in its magazine. To some people, there just seems to be no reason as to why anyone would wish to interact with the magazine now, especially as one isn’t going to be rewarded for their efforts.
But even when the “Online/Offline” section was included in the magazine, this slice of editorial was hardly renowned for highlighting intelligent gaming discussion amongst Edge’s forum users. Many of their printed comments were throwaway and childish, and didn’t give any impression at all of any industrious long-form articles or intelligent gaming discussions materializing from the forum. In this regard therefore, Edge can certainly be accused of not only dumbing down its intended audience, but also for promoting a culture which comes to view videogames as anything other than a mature pursuit.
There used to be a time when Edge’s ability to meet the needs and demands of the “mature” gamer was such that its lofty status within the industry was fully deserved. The magazine was the unequivocal bastion and leader in the videogames magazine market for a long time and fulfilled this crucial service with much aplomb and public fanfare. Compare its authoritative heyday to where it now resides, and one realizes that Edge has replaced its assured confidence for misplaced arrogance. The magazine and brand is so out of touch with “mature” gaming interests now, and seems far more interested in pleasing the demands of corporate shareholders.
Even today, Edge continues to argue that its editorial tone is unmarred by financial and economic pressures, and yet its senior editorial team resigned (mass exodus) in 2003, followed by its online editorial staff walking out in 2009. To me, that doesn’t spell confidence in a magazine that continues to perpetually straddle the fine line between creative and commercial interests – and let’s not even talk about the £5 cover price.
With Gamepro (a longstanding American gaming magazine) having recently ceased operations, its only a matter of time before Edge has to also make the decision of where it wants to go next. Its redesign smacks of a desire for the magazine to recapture former glories, but the redesign also reeks of Edge’s nostalgic nod towards its former status, when gaming magazines enjoyed a far more mainstream place within the industry. Bob Dylon once sang “the times, they are a changin”, and I don’t think Edge has done enough in recent times to evolve with the changing needs of the marketplace. And with everyone now going online to consume their media content, it baffles me as to why the Edge website continues to look like a glorified blog.
With websites (like Eurogamer) having stolen much of Edge’s thunder in recent years, I do wonder as to when it’ll be before Edge wakes up to its own predicament and embraces the myriad of exciting opportunities as presented via the internet. And if everyone is going online, how long will it be before the “videogame bible” follows suit and joins the rest of us who left the print world (in its present incarnation) long ago…
Only time will tell. But one thing I can tell you though is “The future is almost here”.