The glory days of video game strategy guides are long behind us. Today, there’s one more nail in that pixelated coffin.
Prima Games, a U.S.-based imprint of publisher DK, will close up shop in spring 2019 after nearly 30 years in business, according to Publishers Marketplace.
Publishers Weekly cites a memo from DK’s CEO saying the company spent a year exploring ways to diversify Prima Games’ products, but “the dynamics for us of this fast-paced landscape have continued to prove difficult.”
Prima was formed in 1990. Random House acquired it in 2001, combining Prima with competitor Brady Games upon merging with Penguin Books.
These days, it seems that video games get lavish art books and retrospectives more often than printed strategy guides. Many websites like IGN, GameFAQs and other niche online publications offer game walkthroughs and maps for less (or free), so it’s easy to see why this could happen.
More than strategy guides:
The upcoming Women In Gaming 100 Professionals of Play Book also features the contributions of Jennifer Scheurle, Manami Matsumae, Brie Code, Muriel Tramis, and Evelyn Seto. #100WomenInGaming https://t.co/cnuoSkfyjD— Prima Games (@PrimaGames) November 2, 2018
Stay tuned for announcements of additional contributors. pic.twitter.com/CSqVdLODh7
What comes next?
What I want to know — and don’t have any information, yet — is what will happen to all the online guides I’ve collected on their website over the years, some of which I’ve bought individually but most of which game with the purchase of a hardcopy guide with a code to unlock the digital version.
It will be interesting to see, though, whether former Prima writers and editors try to start up or crowdfund a similar product with a new business model, as happened when Nintendo Power magazine ended and gave way to Nintendo Force, or when AOL’s Wow Insider shut down and former staffers formed Blizzard Watch. Or, you could also see video game publishers themselves step up to fill the void and produce their own strategy guides (maybe bringing them more into the realm of ebooks in the process) — kind of coming full circle, since Nintendo started Nintendo Power magazine and its own strategy guides in-house before farming them out to other companies eventually.
Time will tell.
UPDATE: Prima Games ended up not shutting down, but rather shifted to an online content model under a new owner. Any digital “eGuides” you may have had remain accessible as we write this update at the end of 2019, though the company apparently is not publishing any new printed books.