How hard is it to make money from game journalism?
Think about that for a second.
The answer? Very.
Now, ask yourself this: how hard is it to get rich from game journalism?
The answer? Impossible.
There are extremely rich political journalists, extremely rich showbiz reporters, extremely rich sports reporters, extremely rich music and film critics. There are no rich game journalists. Forget it.
Now, a more interesting question: why?
Because gaming, like it or not, is still a niche hobby. It's becoming more mainstream, but is not, yet, mainstream. Halo 2 might make more money on an opening weekend than Spiderman, but at £40 a pop, compared to an average £7 a pop to see the film, less people are playing games than watching films, DVDs, CDs, going to gigs and most other forms of entertainment gaming is competing with in the big bad world.
So, a lot of people buy game magazines, but not a hell of a lot. Compare the readership numbers of the biggest selling game magazine in the UK, Official Playstation 2 Magazine, with, say, an average selling womans glossy, and OPSM2 gets shat on every time. I know which I'd rather read. But I'm not most people.
£10,000 a year for a staff writer position on a certain game mag? Forget it - an aspiring game hack, with ideals, ideas and a glint in his or her eye can make more working in GAME. No wonder game journalism is so turgid - there's no fresh blood. They're all in bloody PR.
What to do? Well, as gaming breaks into the mainstream, theoretically speaking, more people should buy game magazines, read game websites and generally be interested in games. If, as the publishers say, the industry needs to double to fund next-generation development, then the readership should double. Then, pay your writers more.
For now, still pay your writers more. Don't moan, just do it. Your copy will be invigorated by an enthused new generation and your pay offer will catch the eye of better journos with national experience.
P.S. I will be the first person in the history of the world ever to get rich from game journalism. You heard it here first. I shall not be buying you a drink, I shall be buying you out.