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I currently subscribe to GI's print edition, but I'm toying with the idea of switching to the digital version. I've seen some horror stories on here about bad customer service, and the inability to access the digital version, so I just had a few questions before I go through with this:
1. The website advertises that you can look at over a year of old issues. Does this feature work? (I've seen some people saying they can't do it.)
2. Are you able to save the magazines to your hard drive in some form or fashion, or it that not supported? (I understand with DRM that this may not be possible.)
3. I know the interface for computers works somewhat decently, but does the interface for Android smartphones and tablets work OK? Is there a certain browser I should use in Android to get it working nicely?
Depending on what answers I get, I may have a few more questions! =)
Thanks in advance!
I would say to steer clear of it for now. I absolutely regret doing it.
Hey, I subscribe to both the print and digital versions, so I can answer these for you.
1: The digital issue archive goes back to March of 2010, the L.A. Noire cover. So yes, there is over a year of old issues available. The problem most people seem to have is opening their digital magazine from the website. For some reason, if I try to open from GameInformer.com, it doesn't work. Clicking the link in the monthly magazine email is what works. So if you switch to digital, ALWAYS KEEP THE EMAILS. That's the best way to make sure they work.
2: Saving the magazines to your hard drive isn't possible. I don't know the official reason for this, but there are two reasons I can guess:
A: Because if they were something you could save, people could share them on the internet and not pay for it.
B: Because there are a lot of links and videos in the digital magazine that require an internet connection to work.
3: The interface on computers is pretty easy, and runs in Flash. Unfortunately, I don't have a tablet, Android phone, or iPhone, so I'm not sure how they work on those devices.
If you have any more questions, just reply and I'll get an email because I'm subscribed to this thread.
Thanks for the responses!
@LOLz: Any particular reasons you'd suggest I stay away?
@Levi: Thanks for the detailed answer! Overall, would you say you prefer the print or digital issues, or is it a wash between the two?
I personally prefer print, but it depends on your habits. I subscribe to a lot of magazines and often grab one to bring with while traveling, even if it's just a quick trip to a place where I know I'll have 10 minutes to spare reading. The digital edition is good if you're the sort of person who likes to get all their news online, because it's like reading a newspaper with hyperlinks and videos and all the convenience of the internet.
Basically, if you usually read Game Informer at home when you've got an internet connection, you might like the digital edition more. If you usually read it when you're not connected for some reason, you'll probably want to stick with print, because realizing you can't bring it along wherever you go might be annoying.
I have had continual issues with the digital edition not working. I havent had very much time to read the magazine lately and I wanted to catch up but I do not currently have a working subscription even though it is active. The support is pretty terrible (both phone and email). The other big factor for me is the company they use. Other companies give you the ability to download a PDF version for when you don't have an Internet connection or you would like to have a backup. With GI, once your subscription is over or broken you can't read anything.
Levi King makes some great points as well and I mostly agree with what he has said. I wish I could comment on how it works on the iPad as I am currently typing on one for this reply.
The problem I have with the digital issue of the magazine is that like anything digital, it's prone to breakage and growing pains that directly effect the user. Guttenberg isn't wrong and though we live in a digital age, there's little reason for me to cram my digital devices with tiny, hard to read text so that I have to scroll around, squinting at my phone or iPad - none.
Secondly, no offense, but the material isn't so magnanimous that there's a pressing desire to have print and digital. I have the print for the occasional cover, but the content is covered elsewhere in greater depth, sometimes earlier and with better fact checking. That said, I see no reason to add old content to a web based subscription. That takes me to my third "issue."
Web based delivery is cumbersome and counter-intuitive toward "subscribing to a magazine." without a method to store and archive the data, it seems pointless. Though the ipad and tablets grew exponentially over the past year (and will again at Christmas), they are impractical and somewhat cumbersome to take with you compared to a phone. This makes the phone a more likely go-to device when on the go, and as touched on earlier, not worth the effort in real estate and method of navigating. Those who have a tablet and no 3G for it (like myself - I don't need to pay data plans on a device that has no practical purpose outside my house, that already has dual banded Wireless N) will likely use a tablet to read that magazine at home, giving them more of an excuse to actually have the tablet (like me and my ipad).
Long story short, the more practical and preferred method is the print magazine. That is, until someone sits down and decides to make a digital magazine with more of an idea than "lets do it for the sake of doing it," because that's how the magazine on the ipad feels - like it was done for the sake of telling people there is one and increasing (or maintaining) brand presence in the growing number of other publications that converted to digital delivery. Just a tip: look at how NYT and PopSci built their digital publications, or better yet, The Daily, and go from there.
CAUTION: Shawn's blog increases the risk of intelligence.
Thanks again for the replies.
I got my hands on a tablet to test the digital magazine, and for now I'm going to pass; with both the Android tablet and my Android phone, the interface is just terrible. It doesn't work with Android very well at all, and since I was planning on a tablet being my main reading device for it, I'm just going to pass for now.
Thanks for the help, everyone!
It doesn't work well on a android based tablet! you can't scroll up or down so you can only see part of the page. The reason is because for some reason when you pull up the magazine on a android tablet it pulls up a Iphone version of the magazine and it obviously doesn't work properly on an android OS! They really need to fix this problem
I ended up switching, and it definitely does have a ways to go for Android. It isn't very good in the default browser.
Having said that, you should try Firefox for Android. I find that using Firefox to view the magazine works out better. Not flawlessly, but better.
For the first go around, it is def the best choice, over the paper mag. The reason is its accessible from any where, and much of the magazine is interactive. Plus, you dont have a stack old mags setting around. I actually subscribe to PLaystation Mag throught the mail, but prefer the digital GI. It is your preference but a nice computer screen, really makes some of teh articles jump out.
If you want a really great gaming mag experience on a tablet, I highly suggest checking out atomix magazine. I have the digital subscription of gameinformer and while I think it's decent for use on a computer, atomix provides (in my opinion) the best digital experience for a digital magazine.
1) The covers of the magazines are animated (being that GI has some of the most amazing cover art I have ever seen, this would be one of my main selling points for a digital version.)
2) the issues are downloadable, but only accessible through an application.
3) as far as tablet features go, sometimes they have the illustrations in a format so that you can move them around the page to continue reading. For example, I was reading an article about the super mario game on the 3DS, I would read the first column, then to get to the second column, I would slide a picture of stacked goombas over the column I had just read.
I find myself applauding the creativity in the layout and design of the atomix magazine, thinking to myself "This is the future, this the ideal digital magazine experience."
I know it sounds like I am just trying to sell this other mag, but really I spend one half of my time marveling over how amazing the experience is, and the the other half wishing it was gameinformer.
Just convert it recently. In my own opinion i prefer the print version tho.
when i read any magazine it usually in the bathroom. Well i cant read the digital
in the bathroom can i? and my internet is kinda bad so each page it took around
6-7 second to download. right now just email them to convert back to physical copies
PS. Its just me tho maybe other would loved it more
PS2 my purpose for reading mag is just killing time. when i want to know the gaming
news i usually surf online. So that why i prefer print copies more
I just got my first digital issue after being on print issue for some time now,
Have no issues with connecting to the magizine on my PC,
But one thing really bothers me is There is no way to get the magizine without being connected to the internet. I use a tablet most of the time I am not by my PC. So going to a downloadable edition would be great.
I do have another subscription that is in pdf format so I can take it on a plane or where ever I chose.
When going to GAmestop to ask them about the digital editions they knew almost nothing about it on a tablet, since they all used it on PCs.
Just hope I didnt make a mistake.
And I did .. changed it back to print. The digital subscription is ok on tablet but some issues are you cannot read it if you are not connected to the web. Another is extras are not on tablet edition. That is not that large of an issue, but not being able to read it without internet or loading the pages from the web is a huge problem. To bad becouse it seemed so promising