Gus Wenner, whose father started Rolling Stone magazine in 1967, made quite a pronouncement in an interview last week. “In my mind,” he said, “gaming is today what rock ’n’ roll was when Rolling Stone was founded.”
Yes, gaming. As in video games.
Why the bold assertion?
Wenner Media, the company behind Rolling Stone, Men’s Journal and Us Weekly, is set to introduce Glixel, a stand-alone site devoted to gaming. The site won’t go live until October, but the company plans to unveil the concept on Monday with its first weekly newsletter.
Glixel is part of a broader digital push at Wenner Media, which like all magazine companies finds itself confronting a world that is moving away from print. Even the biggest magazine publishers, including Condé Nast and Time Inc., are aggressively pursuing new ways to reach readers, through online video and virtual reality.
With Glixel, Wenner Media is trying to capitalize on the lucrative gaming market, which has exploded in recent years. In the United States, revenue from video games is expected to reach almost $17 billion this year, and nearly $20 billion in 2019, according to a recent report from PricewaterhouseCoopers.Continue reading the main story
“Gaming just felt like an area where there was a great audience opportunity, a great revenue opportunity and a major void that we could fill with capabilities we had in-house,” said Mr. Wenner, who is the head of digital for Wenner Media.
Starting a stand-alone site from scratch is certainly not easy, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, Glixel will lean on its more established brethren for support, at least in the beginning. Mr. Wenner said there were plans to cross-promote Glixel, and Glixel pieces will appear on Rolling Stone’s online culture channel. Writers from Rolling Stone will contribute articles to Glixel.
But Mr. Wenner seemed confident that Glixel would succeed on its own. He said he saw Glixel as a “staple within our set of properties.” Glixel, he promised, would not be a “frivolous one-off that might not exist in two years.”
To that end, John Davison, who has been in the gaming business for over 20 years, has been brought on to oversee Glixel’s content.
Mr. Davison said he wanted to position Glixel as a “video game culture destination,” with a focus on the gamers themselves.
“We want to make it very much about the people — not just the people that make games, but the people that play them,” Mr. Davison said.
The site, when it goes live, will feature articles, interviews, reviews and, of course, videos. Mr. Davison, who published his first article about video games when he was 14, said he was particularly interested in articles “where even if you’re not completely into it, when you read these stories, you think, ‘Jeez, that sounds awesome.’”
As for whether there will be more stand-alone sites from Wenner Media, Mr. Wenner did not rule out the possibility.
“It’s a strategy I’m very interested in, and I think we will continue to explore it,” he said. But right now, he said, he was focusing on developing Glixel and the company’s other existing sites.
“It takes a lot to build a brand,” he said. “So we’re not taking that lightly.”Continue reading the main story