Well, I guess it could be both
By Miles Baker
When Masthead magazine, the magazine about Canadian magazines, reviews a new publication they always base it on at least three issues. So, I figure, if it’s good enough for Masthead, it’s good enough for me.
Introduced in June 2008, Qore is a download-only, Playstation Network-only magazine about all things Playstation. It features HD video; interviews with developers about upcoming PS3 and PSP games; and a downloads section where you can get exclusive game demos, wallpapers, and beta trials. This would all be great if it wasn’t a pack of lies.
There is HD video, but it is so compressed that often backgrounds are so pixelated that it looks like they are filming inside a building made of Lego. There are interviews, but they feature puff questions like, “So how much are gamers going to wet themselves when they play this?” and the developer says, “They’re going to need buckets.” You can download some “exclusive” demos and beta trials, but all the beta offers are bogus in that you can’t download them yet. You can sometime in the future, I guess, but not when that issue comes out.
Speaking of downloading, what a pain in the ass. As the file is between 1.3 and 1.8 gigabytes, it takes a few hours to download. I’m not sure why the file is so big; there’s only about 30 minutes of video content in each issue, which makes the “time to get” versus the “amount of time enjoyed” ratio extremely small.
There are also some serious problems with editorial/advertising splits. In print magazines, if you have an article about an advertiser, you try to put that article far away from their ad so it doesn’t look like it was bought by the advertiser. Qore, however, is uninterested in this. In the most recent issue, between interviews about the latest off-road racing game, I was treated to an ad for that exact same off-road racing game. It just reeks of bought content so I stopped watching the rest of the feature.
To be fair, there are signs that Qore will get better. For one, the pixie-cute host is getting better and has begun to ask questions that aren’t soft. It really was the perfect casting on Sony’s part; Veronica Belmont is perfectly girl next door — pretty, but not too pretty. And she knows her stuff and seems genuinely enthusiastic about some of the titles she profiles, which is good.
One thing, and maybe call me crazy, is I think this magazine could benefit from writing. As in, I’d actually like to read parts of Qore. For example, I think it would be cool if there was a feature about how a game is shaping up, with some video of that game used to illustrate the point of the article. There are tons of examples of this online, and I think it would also work here. This would also solve that slim-30-minute-watching-time-for-such-a-large-file problem I was talking about because text is smaller than video. It might also help me feel like I didn’t just swallow a heaping bowl of self promotion.
Newspapers and magazines are looking hard at the future of their mediums. They’ve reacted to the internet by offering video, adding comments, and whatever Web 2.0 they can wrap their heads around. I’ve even heard that some major newspapers are sending their reporters out with video cameras so they can have more video content online. But mostly, they have a keen eye on digital distribution because it’s ever so cheap. Qore presents the model that magazines have feared for so long, but Qore is nothing be be feared. It’s nothing to be bought.