A new issue of OXM is now on sale - a completely new issue, in fact. In anticipation of the launch of Xbox One, we've given the mag its first proper redesign since 2007. The new title is simply "Official Xbox Magazine" - reflecting the fact that we're going to be covering both Xbox One and Xbox 360 - and we've added some new regular features that enable us to cover gaming in a different way. We've also, perhaps more dramatically, dropped the coverdisc.
This was a big decision, but I think it's the right one. Our surveys over the last couple of years have shown that fewer people are making use of it, and those who have will have noticed that the number of new demos has been shrinking for some time. We're tried our hardest to get as many new games as we can, but the fact is that publishers just aren't providing demos for disc publication - and with an increasing number of titles being built for purely digital distribution, that's a trend that's likely to continue. Spending a lot of time and money rebuilding the disc for Xbox One's new architecture just didn't make sense when we couldn't guarantee there'd be anything to put on it.
Instead, we're going to be giving away gifts that are - hopefully - useful for all our readers. For this new issue, that means a 20-page launch guide to Xbox One and a GTA V/CoD Ghosts poster. We're working on more elaborate gifts for future issues - I don't want to jinx anything by saying what, yet, because it's an incredibly complicated process getting everything signed off, but I'm confident they'll be much better-received than a Pacific Rim demo. When you see them, I hope you'll agree.
And the mag itself? We're still going to be delivering the latest previews, exclusive features and authoritative reviews - this issue has the first print Arkham Origins review, and we've got some great exclusives lined up for the next few months as the games industry rolls out its newest next-gen toys. Our Dashboard front section has been retooled for the internet age to give you more considered feature content rather than telling you what was on this site three weeks ago, and brief you on the latest developments as regards the biggest games coming to Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
Previews have been updated with a new look and some new regular features that'll enable us to give you a clearer steer on what looks good and what made the entire demo room wince when the developer revealed it. Reviews have been similarly improved, with some design updates that'll make it easier for us to do our popular interactive verdicts - this month, there's a fan vs. newbie take on Armored Core. But we're also going to be spending a more time and effort covering existing titles - the games you're playing now, as well as the ones you'll be playing in future.
Over the six years I've been editing OXM, Xbox gaming has changed dramatically, with huge communities growing up around individual titles that change and evolve to support them. Minecraft is the most dramatic example of this, its regular updates making it a very different game from when it first appeared on Xbox Live, and its DIY sensibilities lending themselves to extensive crafting and sharing - but we've also seen the rise of hardcore Onebros in Dark Souls, alarming roleplay in Red Dead Redemption, and a million-dollar eSports industry in Call of Duty.
These are all far more interesting developments than the news that another old map has been added to a new shooter, but we weren't talking about them in the mag - so the new OXM has a new section, Xbox Extra, that's dedicated to just that. Our award-winning team of writers will be reporting back from the frontlines of Battlefield online, the space stations of Spelunky and the streets of, er, Street Fighter. We've also given Log his own regular, Side Quest, in which he can ponder the sort of significant issues previously confined to the OXM Breakdown.
The new mag is out today, in stores and on iTunes, Zinio and Google Play. If you subscribe on iTunes you get two issues free, and if you subscribe in print you can get two years for the price of one. I hope you like the new look - and I hope you'll let me know what you think of it. Leave a comment, or drop me an email.
You may also have noticed that our website has a new colour scheme. We're in the process of redesigning it from top to bottom, and hope to unveil the new look shortly.