PSW: Playstation World

Computec Media UK // September 1999 – January 2000

Computec Media was a publishing powerhouse that completely dominated the German games magazine market. As Y2K loomed, the company decided to make a bid for global domination and launched subsidiaries in the US, Europe and the UK.

The UK division’s first launch was Playstation World, or PSW as it was truncated to in FHM-aping fashion. I was head-hunted by Computec to join the company as PSW’s Launch Editor and immediately began the task of pulling the team and the editorial proposition together.

As a statement of intent, Computec launched the UK division and unveiled PSW at a no-expenses-spared launch party, where every (and I mean every) industry VIP got flown out to a 5-star hotel in Marbella for wine, canapes and a glimpse of the future.

It’s fair to say that the UK games mag market had never seen anything like PSW. It was glossy, oozed quality and big – drop one of those early issues on your toe and you’d know about it. In look and tone it aspired to emulate the (at the time) market-dominating likes of Loaded and FHM, and more often than not achieved it thanks to a huge team of talented writers and designers.

The first issue launched in January 2000 and came with a free memory card – an unprecedented giveaway that inevitably generated industry buzz and massive sales (over 204k copies, making it one of the UK’s most successful magazine debuts). Inevitably sales settled down slightly in following issues but they were still incredibly strong – in its first ABC the magazine came a close second to Future’s official magazine, and easily outpaced all of its unofficial rivals.

All in all, it was an incredible magazine and I feel proud to have been an integral part of its phenomenal success story.

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The early PSWs were BIG - drop one and you could kill a cat.