Prima Games, the most prominent video game strategy guide makers of the 90s and early 2000s, is calling it quits. Their paperbacks were staples of the gamer’s bedroom back in the day, until the Internet became so embedded into modern life that secret information could no longer be paywalled into books. In recent years Prima had aimed at the collectors’ market with hardbound, glossy versions of strategy guides, a strategy meant to retain their hardcore base. It worked for a while, but no longer.
“Well, there’s always BradyGames,” you might say….except Prima actually merged with them a few years ago, so no, there really isn’t. This is it.
“During a year-long extensive review, many new ways were explored to diversify Prima Games publishing,” says Ian Hudson, CEO of DK Publishing, the parent company of Prima. “However, the dynamics for us of this fast-paced landscape have continued to prove difficult. This enormously dedicated team has made every effort to turn the business around, but challenging market conditions have unfortunately worked against them.”
When was the last time you bought a strategy guide? It’s possible some of the younger readers here might have never done it. The last few guides I’ve acquired have been secondhand (my most recent, a guide for Final Fantasy XV, was discovered in a box labeled “FREE” on a suburban curb).
While this is likely the end of big companies making paper guides for video games, we expect smaller publishers to emerge and fill the gap. As long as there’s SOME money in it, strategy guides will continue to be made.