Massive Mag Banks On Genre's Popularity

There are magazines about everything-- cigar smoking, thug life, unidentified flying objects--and now for one of the most popular genres in gaming, massively multiplayer online games.

Massive Magazine, a quarterly owned by TheGlobe.com (which also owns Computer Game Magazine, one of the more established pubs in the space), is set to put out its second issue in December. Focused on the social, cultural and technological issues surrounding MMOs, the magazine is targeting the same marketers as its sister publication.

Massive is following in the footsteps of a few other failed enterprises. Several other MMO-focused print magazines have debuted, printed a single issue, and folded, but Massive has a few major edges. It's backed by the editorial muscle of Computer Game Magazine, which gives it a built-in audience and writing staff, and it comes packaged with a demo disc--the major draw of most video game publications. The latest issue came with demos of several Sony Online Entertainment titles, including "Star Wars Galaxies," "Everquest" and "Everquest II," along with access to the beta of the upcoming "Gods and Heroes: Rome Rising."

Massive faces the same problems that other publications of the same genre face, however. Most players of MMOs aren't "MMO gamers" per se, they're fans--or addicts--of a specific game. Plus, the social and cultural issues of MMOs are interesting to the media set, but only a select fraction of MMO gamers are interested in reading about the economics of gold farming or the social dynamics of guild leadership; the rest are just players.

The magazine is rightly banking on the growing popularity of the genre--7 million subscribers to "World of Warcraft," the most popular MMO, with several other titles more or less tied for second. MMOs are becoming an integral part of millions of American's lives, with 2 million "WoW" players in the U.S., plus several other titles that boast hundreds of thousands of users. They are swiftly leaving the geek culture, and entering the popular culture.