The July 2011 issue cover
|Frequency||Monthly (12 per year)|
|First issue||August 1991|
Game Informer (GI) is an American monthly video game magazine featuring articles, news, strategy, and reviews of video games and associated consoles. It debuted in August 1991 when FuncoLand started publishing a six-page magazine.The publication is owned and published by GameStop Corp., the parent company of the video game retailer of the same name, who bought FuncoLand in 2000. Due to this, a large amount of promotion is done in-store, which has contributed to the success of the magazine; it is now the 4th most popular magazine by copies circulated. Game Informer has since become an important part of GameStop's customer loyalty program, PowerUp Rewards, which offers subscribers access to special content on the official website.
Game Informer debuted in August 1991 as a six-page magazine. It was published every two months until November 1994, when the magazine began to be released monthly.
Since 2001 Game Informer has been published by Cathy Preston, who has been working as part of the production team since 2000.It was under her that the publication became an integral part of GameStop's customer loyalty program, Power Up Rewards.
In 2010, Game Informer became the 5th largest magazine in the US with 5 million copies sold, ahead of popular publications like Time , Sports Illustrated , and Playboy .By 2011, Game Informer had become the 3rd largest magazine in the US topping 8 million copies circulated. However, in 2014 it had fallen to 4th place with 6.9 million copies sold. Recent figures still place the magazine at 4th place with over 7 million copies sold. The financial success of Game Informer has been attributed to its good relationship with publishers, ties to GameStop, and the lack of gaming magazine competition.
In each year's April edition, Game Informer includes Game Infarcer, an annual feature in the magazine, as an April Fool's joke. On the cover is "World's #1 Pretend Magazine" where it would ordinarily say "World's #1 Video Game Magazine", and the word "Parody" is written on the bottom of each page. Game Infarcer articles are accredited to the fictional editor-in-chief Darth Clark, who is addressed in hate mail every year sent to Game Informer. The heated responses to parody articles are often featured in later Game Informer issues.
Game Informer has included four "Sacred Cow Barbecues".Similar in style to a celebrity roast, the occasion is meant to "knock some of gaming's most revered icons off their high and mighty pedestals." The first Sacred Cow Barbecues featured in issue 158 (June 2006). Other issues featuring Sacred Cow Barbecues are: 183 (July 2008), 211 (November 2010), and 261 (January 2015). Sacred Cow Barbecues articles are considered controversial among those gamers who aren't amused with their games being mocked.
Game Informer Online was originally launched in August 1996, and featured daily news updates as well as articles. Justin Leeper and Matthew Kato were hired on in November 1999 as full-time web editors. As part of the GameStop purchase of the magazine, the site was closed around January 2001.Both Leeper and Kato were eventually placed on the editorial staff of the magazine.
GI Online was revived in September 2003, with a full redesign and many additional features, such as a review database, frequent news updates, and exclusive "Unlimited" content for subscribers. It was managed by Billy Berghammer, creator of PlanetGameCube.com (now known as NintendoWorldReport.com).Berghammer is currently the editor in chief of the EGM Media group
On March 2009, the online staff began creating the code for what would be the latest redesign to date. The redesign was to release hand-in-hand with the magazine's own redesign. On October 1, 2009, the newly redesigned website was live, with a welcome message from Editor-In-Chief Andy McNamara. Many new features were introduced, including a rebuilt media player, a feed highlighting the site activity of the website's users, and the ability to create user reviews.At the same time, the magazine's podcast, The Game Informer Show, was launched.
In February (sometimes January), Game Informer's editors round up to count and judge the "Top 50 Games of last year". The games are sorted in order of release date. They do not have rankings, but they do commemorate special games with awards like Game of the Year and other examples. They also have mini top 10 charts of differing categories, both in the Top 50 games section of the website and in the regular magazine.
In August each year, Game Informer includes a "E3 Hot 50", a special section that reviews the year's E3 and most to all of its games, which also temporarily replaces the "previews" section.
In November 2009, Game Informer was launched in Australia by former Australian GamePro, Gameplayer and Official PlayStation Magazine editor Chris Stead and publisher Citrus Media.By June 2010, Game Informer Australia had become the first local games publication to pass 10,000 subscribers. By August 18, 2010, it had become Australia's biggest selling video games publication.
Game Informer Australia has picked up three Australian Magazine Awards for best in category, multiple nominations in the Lizzie awards and the 2013 MCV award for Print Publication of the Year. Chris Stead also received the 2013 Journalist of the Year gong at the MCV awards.
Game Informer currently reviews games on PCs, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation VR, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS, Android, iOS.Older games, three per issue, were given brief reviews in the magazine's Classic GI section (compared with the game's original review score, if one exists). This was discontinued in 2009, months before the redesign of the magazine. The magazine's staff rate games on a scale of 1 to 10 with quarter point intervals. A score of 1 - 5 is considered terrible; 10 is a rare, "outstanding", nearly perfect game; and 6-7 is "average", a decently, playable, and sometimes fun (but flawed) game.