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Mag publisher Future is so confident about its worth to “passionate” audiences, it’s launching a video magazine on PlayStation Network that will cost £0.99 an episode.
FirstPlay goes live in the UK March and following elsewhere in Europe with HD reviews, previews and downloadable content. It also comes in an £8.99, three-month-subscription bundle.
This is bold and interesting because, on the rival Xbox 360, such videos come free (although many people pay to access Xbox Live, while PSN remains free).
Also, Future is launching this in to a relative lull in the games industry – sales fell eight percent last year.
Though games is one of Future’s four core special-interest publishing areas, in which it publishing 14 magazines, it comprises half of all its advertising income – that means its Q4 income fell four percent last week, when Future acknowledged a “tough” and “particularly challenging games market”, which saw 40 percent fewer AAA or A rated games released.
It’s not that FirstPlay is eschewing advertising – it will have “just six premium video advertising slots per episode”.
Future seems as resilient as CEO Stevie Spring claims it is, not least because it has a string of official magazine licenses. Many magazine readers have fled in recent years, however, to get info from the web. Future’s bet, here, is that game-players will be happy to pay for the info on the very consoles on which they play.