Thursday, July 26, 2018

End of Pyramid Magazine

I just learned today that Pyramid Magazine, is closing down after the December issue this year. You can read the official announcement and discussion here, but I'll summarize:

  • Pyramid Magazine was expensive to produce.
  • It took up a great deal of SJGames' staff time to produce.
  • It didn't earn enough money to support itself.
  • It didn't benefit from collectors who wanted to get every issue.
  • It wasn't perceived as providing official rules despite SJGames's intent.
  • Money and staff efforts will be redirected toward putting out more official GURPS books.
  • There are plans for re-releasing old GURPS products on print-on-demand.
  • There are plans to update articles from old editions of Pyramid to 4th edition.

From this, it appears that GURPS itself is still going strong and will continue to be supported for the foreseeable future. This is good news. SJGames is simply streamlining their operation to produce more GURPS books - something I, for one, have wanted more than Pyramid issues as of late.

This isn't a knock against the authors in Pyramid so much as me finding it rare that there is an issue with more than one immediately useful article in it. And depending on the topic of the issue, none of them are useful. It would be more valuable to me as a consumer for an entire book on that one issue than six useful pages and 24 pages might never use. That way I can buy the books I need and know they go as far in depth into the subject as is necessary, as opposed to being constrained by word count and the need to leave space for other articles.

Naturally, your idea of a useful article differs from mine, and which ones should be turned into books differs, and therein lies the issue with Pyramid Magazine. I need issues about science fiction, and you need them about, for example, true crime drama. So if an article can be used for science fiction, I'm happy and you don't want to buy the issue. If it is about true crime drama, you want the issue, and I don't care about it. But if a GURPS Drama book is released, that would appeal to both of us, since you can apply it to true crime games and I can apply it to space opera.

Now you might say, "Hey! If Pyramid can have an article about true crime drama and space opera in the same issue, wouldn't you both buy it?" But consider this: a Pyramid issue cost 7.99 USD . That's 7.9 9USD for maybe 6 pages of useful content, on average. Compare that to Action 1 - Heroes, Action 4 - Specialists, Boardroom and Curia, City Stats, Crusades, etc. All of these cost 7.99 USD or less, and if you need information on that topic, these go into some serious depth. So you have to ask yourself, do I spend 7.99 USD on 6 pages of useful content or an entire book on a subject?

I guess what I'm getting at with this rambling prose is that while losing Pyramid is sad, it's not the end, and in many ways, it paves the road for more, better GURPS content. I optimistically look forward to seeing what SJGames does with the funds and manhours freed up by canceling Pyramid. 

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