Official PlayStation Magazine is changing its name and dropping the PlayStation license for good. Going forward, it will now be known simply as Play — and thankfully, it's keeping its writing staff.
You young'uns might not know that officially licensed video game magazines used to be all the rage back in the heydey of print media. While there were certainly independent, unaffiliated magazines such as Tips & Tricks and Electronic Gaming Monthly, there were also publications that had a license with specific companies such as Nintendo Power, Official Xbox Magazine, and Official PlayStation Magazine.
As time went on, more and more of these magazines — not just the platform-specific licensed publications — went the way of the dodo. OPM managed to hang on for quite some time in the UK, becoming the longest-running licensed gaming magazine in history. Now, it's dropping the PlayStation license and its old name.
What's Changing at Official PlayStation Magazine? Not Much
One might wonder, what's actually changing at Official PlayStation Magazine? Not much, other than a name change to Play and the potential for a broader focus outside of the PlayStation platform.
"I just got word that PlayStation Official Magazine has been canceled and replaced by a new pub called Play," read a Twitter thread from Video Game History Foundation Co-Director and Founder Frank Cifaldi. "This was the last officially licensed console magazine available, ending a 32-year period of official mags that started with Nintendo Power #1."
"Oh and just so this doesn't come across as a bummer: it's the same mag!" he continued. "With the same people! They're just not paying for that official license anymore. It's just an interesting end to an era, is all I meant. I'm sure it's not GOOD NEWS that they can't afford the license anymore, but nobody's out of work afaik."
Although magazines are a bit antiquated in the Internet age, there's still a fair amount of nostalgia for the medium. Most recently, Nintendo superfan Howard Phillips launched a Kickstarter for a one-off magazine called Gamemaster Classified; that crowdfunding campaign went on to succeed to the tune of $96,000 and change, more than four times what he asked for.
The name change might seem particularly strange to UK gamers; as Ashley Day highlights, Play magazine was a separate publication in the UK until it finally shut down in 2016. The rights to the name were acquired by Future Publishing (the company that owns Official PlayStation Magazine) when it purchased Play magazine's owner Imagine Publishing in 2016; this, in turn, is what led to the somewhat strange situation of OPM taking on the name of an entirely different publication that is now defunct.
The first issue of Play magazine will be the June 2021 issue. We can't say for certain what the future holds; for now, it looks like gaming magazines will keep on going in the UK for now.
What do you think of Official PlayStation Magazine dropping its license and changing its name to Play? When's the last time you actually purchased a physical game magazine? Let us know in the comments below!