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Retro Gaming Magazine on Kickstarter

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Anyone that has ever started a business knows that it is quite a financial undertaking and sometimes can be mind blowingly tough, though extremely rewarding at the same time. We have hit a road block with Retro Gaming Magazine and bringing it to life.

 

Asking for help is humbling and hard to do, especially with a project like this. There is quite a bit of interest in Retro Gaming Magazine and we are dedicated to making it happen. We humbly ask anyone that is even slightly interested in seeing the mag happen to please check out the project page and if possible, chip in something to help.

 

We have a solid team running the magazine including:

 

Martin Alessi who was Art Director for Electronic Gaming Monthly in the early 90's and helped shape the magazine early in it's life. Martin has taken up art duties for Retro Gaming Magazine. Compare his cover (and when we can release them, his layouts for issue #1) to the preview pages I created and it is like a night and day improvement.

 

Several staff members have worked with Gamefan Magazine in reviving the magazine with issue #6 (released around the summer of last year). These include:

 

Nick Abrams, well known to The Retro League community as one of the co-hosts of the show (we stole him away to work on the mag that he is co-owner of). Nick was one of the new writers to provide retro content that debuted that section in Gamefan Magazine.

 

Michael Crisman, our resident retro scribe (dude can throw words like no one's business), while he worked on Gamefan #6, he still resides at Video Game Cowboys under the moniker, Modern Zorker.

 

Carl Williams (the guy writing this), known to many as TriVerse and generally a loudmouth and co-owner. I am currently the guy that will get yelled at a lot for the mag not being it's best.

 

 

If anyone can help promote the project page, that would be great. The more people that see it, the more likely it will be funded and we can realize the dream in it's full range.

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I'm not trying to rain on your parade you don't mention what the $5K (the kickstarter amount) is going to be spent on.

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The game magazine business model is dead. If I did have the yarbles to start a retro mag I'd start with a website and try to get a few advertising dollars. Maybe use a self publishing company when it came time for real print versions. You'd end up only paying for printing when you get paid (per magazine or subscription). Sure, using a third party for publishing and shipping would be more expensive, but this is a boutique market.

 

The last death knell for printed magazine truly is the tablet. I hardly ever dredge out my old EGM mags now that I have an iPad.

Edited by theloon

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I'm not trying to rain on your parade you don't mention what the $5K (the kickstarter amount) is going to be spent on.

 

I am working on this with the team as to how much to make public. There are many costs associated with these types of projects such as having a professional Art Director handling things (can't get much better than the man that shaped EGM) and costs such as the site, legal requirements (legal paperwork, business licenses, etc).

 

The game magazine business model is dead. If I did have the yarbles to start a retro mag I'd start with a website and try to get a few advertising dollars. Maybe use a self publishing company when it came time for real print versions. You'd end up only paying for printing when you get paid (per magazine or subscription). Sure, using a third party for publishing and shipping would be more expensive, but this is a boutique market.

 

The last death knell for printed magazine truly is the tablet. I hardly ever dredge out my old EGM mags now that I have an iPad.

 

We are on the same page here, loon, Retro Gaming Magazine is not going to be a printed publication. Sure, there are offers of printed editions for backers of the project but those are going to be extremely limited and will be the ONLY way to acquire a printed edition of RGM. We will not be going to physical print with this magazine at this time. If demand, later, was high enough then we would pursue physical print by whatever means was best for the continued longevity of the magazine.

 

We have researched this quite a bit before coming to the conclusion of PDF only. We checked out Magcloud, have print proofs in hand (awesome work by that company by the way) but the cost would be simply too high to make MC a viable option for RGM. 40+ pages per issue would be around $8+ BEFORE you add in shipping fees to get the mag to the buyer ($1.25 and up depending on location).

 

The conclusion was come to that readers would simply not support a publication at that price. Print houses would allow us to get the price down to about $2.50 an issue for up to about 80 pages but that would require a pre-purchase of over 4,000 copies. From our tests and focus groups, there simply would not be that type of demand early on for the magazine and would be a severe financial loss for the company to take on so quickly.

 

We entertained the thought of doing print with pre-orders (so not what we want to do) but that would end up either giving the magazine a black eye if pre-orders weren't meeting the minimum to pay for printing of the publication through normal means and then necessitated going to someone like Magcloud and incurring a possibly large financial loss (possibly even dooming the magazine).

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Since its a free download why isn't everybody on the team working for nothing and just the kudos of being attached to the project? It doesn't sound like a sound business venture to me unless you are raking money in from advertising space.

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The PDF will be free. Yes, advertising purchases will be used to pay writers and staff. Advertisers want to see traffic numbers for the publication and if the publication is crap, then no one will download it so it is a cycle of sorts.

 

The Kickstarter project is to help get the magazine to the point of self sufficiency (about two or three issues) at which point it will be running on advertising revenue as most magazines have done for most of the time that magazines have been available.

 

The problem with running with a completely volunteer staff is quality control. While there are major gaming publications that are doing just that right now, they have a high turn over in staff and it eventually hurts the publication's credibility with the fans. I am trying to take steps to avoid that vicious cycle with RGM.

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LOL - boy getting a mag in print sure is easy, huh?

 

The first issue of Retrocade Magazine was 108 pages and the second 182 pages. Punch those numbers in MagCloud and see what you get. Who's going to pay that much for a print edition? (MagCloud's prices are competitive with quotes I've gotten locally). That's where advertising comes in.

 

The overhead in producing PDFs of Retrocade Magazine essentially comes down to annual web hosting costs and the percentage StoneAgeGamer gets for selling it. Plus, the beauty of PDF is I can put out 108 pages in one issue, 182 in the second and 300 pages in the next - the costs are equal.

 

As far as staff: yes, you have to have people on board that are not only talented but are willing to do it for the love of the hobby and a few peanuts. Nobody is going to get rich on this stuff.

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I feel your pain. Video Game Trader magazine has been running at a loss since 2008. We are almost at the point of breaking even. And this next issue is the first issue I am actually paying for contributions. Good luck on your venture.

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Yeah, Tom, I know you have been publishing for years, it must be really great to see your mag doing so well. I know a lot of people that read it.

 

I just updated the information on the Kickstarter page for what the money will be used for when funding is successful, for those interested in checking it out.

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Thank you, Moya (and Tom and everyone else that has wished us luck that I may have missed). It is going to be interesting but we are in this for the long haul and I have a few marketing tricks up my sleeve still.

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I can safely say this is going to be the Table of Contents (not in any particular order) for the first issue of RGM-

 

Bill Kunkel tribute (still accepting comments from anyone that knew him and would like to offer support)

Zelda feature (meat of the issue covering Zelda from NES to Wii)

A contest co-sponsored by our friends at Rolenta Press (http://www.rolentapress.com)

Tribute to Gary Garcia (still trying to gather assets if anyone can help, he co-wrote Pac-Man Fever)

Atari 5200 Feature (more meat of the issue)

First Issues of Popular Gaming Mags Values article by Martin Alessi

Day of the Tentacle article

Wonder Boy for Genesis article

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Well into the last 48 hours of funding for the Kickstarter project. Got a couple of cool backers recently. Just want to thank everyone for their support.

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