Gamestar is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary. In 1997 the first issue of the print magazine about computer games was published. A lot has changed in a quarter of a century.

The first issue of the PC games magazine Gamestar was published 25 years ago. This is pointed out by Webedia, the company that is now the marketer behind Gamestar and other game magazines. What began as a classic print magazine has developed into a cross-platform media brand over the years: Gamestar.de is the most visited gaming website in German-speaking countries, with around 17.000 paying Plus subscribers. It was a long, sometimes rocky road to get there.

Gamestar: The jack of all trades of games journalism

Once started as a pure print magazine, Gamestar has not only been a constant in games journalism for 25 years, but also a jack of all trades: on a website, as a podcast, via YouTube - Gamestar is represented wherever gaming fans are located to let. There is still a printed version, even if it is not as popular as it was at the turn of the millennium. In the years 1999 to 2005, around 300.000 copies were sold monthly, and in some cases the number of issues sold was even significantly higher. Then came “Web 2.0” – user-generated content became a mass phenomenon on the global web. The need for print magazines decreased - the games editors were no longer the "gatekeepers" for games journalism.

Previously, if something wasn't in the printed game magazines, it didn't exist. The trend reversed with the increasing popularity of the “World Wide Web”. Online was and is read and watched on a daily basis - print editions are at best still reading material for the bathtub. And even there, thanks to watertight readers, there is a threat of competition from the technology sector.  

When Gamestar first came out, Turok was the "most beautiful 3D game of all time". There were still secret facts about games like Tomb Raider 2 or Quake 2. Fans found the full version of Theme Park on a CD (!). 

Just make a fool of yourself

By the way, the Gamestar editors never relaxed, not even at the start of the magazine. Games journalists were never really taken seriously, at Gamestar they took advantage of this and created a science fiction parody with the “Spaceship Gamestar”, in which the editors could really make a fool of themselves without anyone being bothered - let alone harmed the journalistic profession.

The writers made their readers suffer for around 60 episodes – each for around five minutes. What started as a marketing gimmick has developed into a cult. We could embed YouTube videos of old episodes of the spaceship game stars here, but we don't do it. brains would melt. 

Instead of this:

gamestar editorial team

The Gamestar editorial team in 1997. Surprising: the photo was apparently taken outside, under trees. It may also be the holo-space of the Gamestar spaceship. Photo: Gamestar

Today everyone wants games content: Spiegel does it, even BILD, many other publishers operate small and large games websites or publish booklets. 

It was different in the nineties. The central question for computer game fans: Team Gamestar or Team PC Games? 

Without magazine paragraphs, one had to look for alternative sources of income at Gamestar as well. Then came Webedia Today, revenue is generated with paid content, as well as with advertising and affiliate marketing. Quality still counts, especially for Gamestar in gaming journalism. However, there is criticism. Not all content is received by the fans, some is trivial, off topic, clickbait in particular is annoying.

Large publishers sometimes create problems themselves these days: It is difficult to meet the increased demands. Costs are depressing, as are human resources. Even the big players in the industry compensate for the latter with hobby writers instead of journalists, and the quality often suffers. Fast pace and constant comparisons with the content of other magazines pay their tribute. Journalism today is data-driven – also due to the internet and the great competition. At the end of the month, the number of clicks must be right. And they obviously do that – through the recorded channels. 

Gamestar operates the largest editorial YouTube channel on gaming with 1,4 million subscribers. The Gamestar podcast is one of the most listened to German gaming podcasts and recently reached the mark of 50.000 Spotify subscribers.

Despite the dwindling number of subscribers, Gamestar is now the best-selling PC games magazine in German-speaking countries. The print editions appear monthly – at least here nothing has changed. With Gamestar Tech, they also launched their own brand for gaming hardware and technology in the middle of the year.

Industry veteran and Gamestar editor-in-chief Heiko Klinge sums up (almost) a quarter of a century: "I've been part of Gamestar history since November 2000, but our anniversary is definitely one of the best things we've experienced as a team in all this time. It fills us with deep gratitude to read and hear what Gamestar means to so many gaming fans.”

Incidentally, the sister brand Gamepro has been around for 20 years. So we're celebrating an anniversary here too. Gamepro aims to appeal to female readers more than other mainstream gaming sites. According to Webedia, the calculation works: the proportion of women among the readership is already 25 percent. Chapeau!

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Last updated on 3.02.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API