Once an icon of the gaming industry, purveyor of written video game strategy guides, Prima Games will be no more come Spring 2019. The company got its start in 1990 and ran for 28 years printing guides for literally thousands of games. I personally used these for many a JRPG back in the day. The guides for some franchises like Final Fantasy and .Hack// hold a special place for me personally.
For those that were paying attention, there used to be another huge publication in this niche, one by the name of BradyGames. BradyGames was merged with Prima in 2013 after parent company Penguin Group merged with Random House to create Penguin Random House. And even though Prima tried to adapt to the digital age with much more interactive guides suited for use on PCs, the efforts weren’t enough to keep the company running.
Speaking to Variety on the news, A Prima spokesperson had the following to say:
“I can confirm that the decision has been made to no longer commission new Prima Games strategy guides and the U.S.-based imprint will be discontinued in Spring 2019,” a spokesperson said via email. “We are in conversations with the Prima Games team and cannot comment on this further at this point.”
Prima Games currently has three offices in Roseville, California, Indianapolis, Indiana, and New York. And each office will close as it’s individual obligations are completed. The California branch will be the first to go, closing before the end of November. This will most likely be followed by the New York office a month or two later, although no firm date is known. The final branch of the company will shutter in March 2019.
While it stinks that such an iconic company is going bust, it’s been inevitable for years now. The rise of the internet spelled doom for the age of print media in a variety of ways, and we’re now seeing that effect on video games as well. As the digital distribution platforms take over, we’ll see a lot of once treasured practices and institutions falling into disuse. I’m actually kind of bummed that many of these strategy guides, which are essentially a relic of a bygone era, will eventually cease to exist, especially as any digital copies are inevitably lost.
Now all we have to rely on for much of this previously physical information is a loose collection of archivists and hobbyists who can hopefully save some of the more interesting information from obscurity. Who knows, maybe in a few years video game museums will be much more popular and all of the information that’s lost in the digital cracks can return to the surface.