Future Publishing is a media company, mainly focusing on producing videogaming titles. The company was founded in 1985 by Chris Anderson and still operating to this day.
History[edit | edit source]
Future Publishing was founded by former Personal Computer Games and Zzap!64 editor Chris Anderson in 1985. Having borrowed a bank loan, Chris set up the company with the view of starting off with one title: Amstrad Action.
Following a rough start, circulation picked up on Amstrad Action – thanks to an innovative use of covertapes - and Future Publishing were then able to expand their portfolio with new magazine launches, including ACE and ST Amiga Format.
In November 1988, New Computer Express was launched with Chris Anderson onboard as Launch Editor himself. This was a weekly multi-format trade style magazine.
By Spring of 1989, ACE was sold to rival publisher EMAP, which allowed Future to split ST Amiga Format into two separate titles: ST Format and Amiga Format. The former staff of ACE would essentially move straight onto Amiga Format with Bob Wade as editor.
S, subtitled ‘The Sega Magazine’, was launched in October 1989 with Steve Jarratt at the helm as Editor. This was a very unique magazine for the time. Not only was it the first UK magazine concentrate on console gaming (a year before Mean Machines launched), it was dedicated solely to the Master System (at least until the Mega Drive was released in Europe in 1990), and the first five issues were only available to subscribers.
With the purchase of Your Sinclair from Dennis Publishing in April 1990, Future now had a Sinclair magazine for the popular Spectrum machine. Editor Matt Bielby and his editorial staff therefore made the successful move from London to Bath. Later the same year (October 1990) Commodore Format was launched with Steve Jarratt taking the helm as Editor. By the end of 1990, Future Publishing had a magazine covering every major computer in the UK.
In December 1990, S, which was, by then, available in the newsstands — was renamed as Sega Power and was increasing in sales, thanks to the growing popularity of the Mega Drive.
With the rising popularity of the Amiga as a gaming platform, Amiga Power was launched in May 1991. Matt Bielby, as Editor, brought a spiritual mentality of Your Sinclair to the new magazine it proved to be another successful title for Future Publishing. Although mainly focused on the serious side of the PC, PC Format was launched this year. However, there was some sad news: New Computer Express was faced with uphill battles for circulation and advertising and it was decided to close the title.
Future then launched a Nintendo specific magazine titled Total! with Steve Jarratt as Editor. The first issue, cover dated January 1992 featured content on the Nintendo consoles NES, Game Boy and, later on, the SNES. With the increasing popularity of the Mega Drive, Mega was launched in October 1992 with former Deputy Editor of Sega Power, Neil West, as Editor. Just the following month, the SNES got a similar magazine with Super Play with Matt Bielby as Editor. Both magazines proved successful in their own field.
The popular Channel 4 videogaming show GamesMaster received an official gaming magazine companion as Future was awarded the licence. The January 1993 issue was launched with Jim Douglas as Editor and featured a design mimicking the aesthetics of the television show. The launch of GamesMaster magazine proved to be a massive success with 210,000 copies sold.
With the unprecedented success of the 16-bit consoles (Mega Drive and SNES) Future acquired Sega Zone and Game Zone from Dennis Publishing. Edge was launched in October 1993 with Steve Jarratt helming. Your Sinclair went out with their farewell issue number 93 in September 1993.
In October 1993 Future bought GP Publications (later renamed Imagine Media), a US publishing company with 35 staff and 4 magazines (CD-ROM Today, Computer Entertainment News, Game Players and PC Entertainment).
With the increasing success of the PC gaming scene, PC Gamer launched in December 1993 with Matt Bielby as Editor. This was very much a gaming magazine to compliment PC Format’s more serious content.
In the Spring of 1994, Sega Zone was sold off to publisher Maverick Magazines. June 1994 also saw sister title Game Zone close. MEGA also felt the brunt of the magazine culling as it was also sold onto Maverick Magazines
October 1994 saw Future being bought by Pearson New Entertainment Europe, a division of Pearson plc., and Nick Alexander became company chairman. Ultimate Future Games was launched with its December 1994 issue. The multi-format magazine was very similar in content to Future’s own GamesMaster magazine and it didn’t last too long.
May 1995 saw the launch of short-lived PC gaming magazine PC Attack with Jon Smith as Editor. The magazine was subsequently licenced out to Maverick Magazines in November 1995. Future celebrated its tenth birthday in June 1995 and it was also the month when the final issue of Amstrad Action was published. The magazine that started the company off had come to an end, 117 issues later. Commodore Format also felt the pinch of the diminishing 8-bit computer scene and closed with a special farewell issue in October 1995.
The following month, the Official Playstation Magazine would be launched and go down as one of the most successful launches in UK gaming magazine history. This was the officially Sony approved magazine and the first issue, November 1995, featured the first of its regular cover mounted CDs. Astonishing sales figures followed.
With the success of the Official Sony Playstation Magazine, Playstation Power was launched. This new monthly magazine offered in-depth info and complete games guides around. Amiga Power went out with a bang as its final “Goodbye issue” hit the shelves. Another final issue as Total! bowed out with issue 58 in October 1996.
N64 Magazine, which was very much the spiritual continuation Super Play, was launched in April 1997. The magazine focused on Nintendo’s N64 gaming console. With Mega Drive and Master System coverage diminishing in the pages of Sega Power, it was decided to re-launch the magazine after issue 91 as Saturn Power. The re-launched Saturn Power issue 1 focused on Sega’s underrated Saturn gaming console.
May 1998 saw Pearson complete the sale of Future Publishing to a company buyout backed by venture capitalists Apax Partners. Following the deal, MD Greg Ingham was appointed Chief Executive, and the company's original founder, Chris Anderson, became non-executive Chairman. Following the unfortunate fortunes of Sega’s Saturn, Saturn Power magazine came to an end with just ten issues in April 1998.
Arcade, a respected games feature magazine, was launched in January 1999 with Matt Bielby as Editor. DC-UK was then launched in September 1999. The magazine, which covered the Sega Dreamcast, lasted about as long as the badly under supported games console, with 20 issues.
Notable staff[edit | edit source]
Magazine chronology[edit | edit source]
Amstrad Action (1985-1995)
ST Amiga Format (1988-1989)
New Computer Express (1988-1991)
ST Format (1989-1996)
Amiga Format (1989-2000)
Sega Power (S) (1989-1997)
Commodore Format (1990-1995)
Your Sinclair (1990-1993) *1
PC Format (1991-
Amiga Power (1991-1996)
Super Play (1992-1996)
PC Gamer (1993-
Sega Zone (1993-1994) *2
Game Zone (1993-1994) *3
Ultimate Future Games (1995-1996)
Official PlayStation Magazine (1995-2004)
PC Attack (1995-?)
PlayStation Power (1996-2001)
N64 (1997-2006) *4
Saturn Power (1997-1998)
Official Xbox (2002-2006)
Official PlayStation 2 (2001-2008)
Official Xbox 360 (2005-
Official Nintendo Magazine (2006-
Official Playstation (2007-