Noel Goodman subscribes to three video game magazines, but he wants information faster than the magazines can reach his mailbox.
"I can find out on the Internet information that won't be in magazines for another month," said Mr. Goodman, a 30-year-old electrician in Newport News, Va., who took Halloween off to play video games. The magazines, he said, are "always going to lose when it comes down to content. I can get everything online."
While video game magazine publishers beg to differ, that is precisely their challenge — retaining readers as the Internet grabs their audience and advertisers. Why wait for a monthly mailing when the Web has fresh game reviews, articles and tips on how to beat the games?
In the last few months, the two biggest publishers — Ziff Davis Media and Future US, which control most of the major game magazines in the United States — have been trying to tip the balance back in their favor. The two companies have been bulking up their online content, trying to develop a symbiotic relationship. Their magazines offer portability and visual power, and their Web sites provide interactive features and nonstop information flow.
"If information is all that we require, the Web wins. Game over," said Simon Cox, the vice president for content at Ziff Davis Media's game group, which includes Electronic Gaming Monthly, a print magazine, and the 1UP Network, an online gaming portal. "But people want content and perspective."
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