Description: The Story of ... Amiga Future
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[url=https://www.amigafuture.de/app.php/kb/viewarticle?a=6740&sid=db32a3a29165a0ecb5c76d808870cdd4]Artikeldatenbank - The Story of ... Amiga Future[/url]
It's been about 25 years since we began to plan out what has become the Amiga Future magazine (time really flies by).
To be more precise ... it was back in 1997 that we came up with the idea to publish a magazine for Amiga games.
At that time, all the game magazines for the Amiga had gone out of print, leaving only application magazines. Of course, by then there were not as many games as before but still more than enough to fill the pages of a magazine, leaving a niche spot, for us to fill that void in the magazine market.
The concept idea to fill this void quickly evolved, but what we then needed was to design a winning concept to attract a publishing house to take Amiga Future into its printed realm.
The concept was simple enough: Review as many games as possible for our readers to enjoy. We also wanted to look beyond the scope of just the commercial market and involve the magazine with shareware and PD games. Interviews, additional special features, a Reader's cover CD and a casual reading layout were to be part of the theme of the magazine as well. With that, the intrinsic framework for our Amiga Future magazine was ready.
What turned out to be more difficult was to find a publishing house. or to put it succinctly, in other words: a downright sheer impossiblity, and after several weeks we almost gave up. We gave it one last try with the ICP publishing house that used to publish AmigaPlus, and although we weren't totally convinced that would work for us, the publishing house were thrilled by the idea and so that's how we finally ended up at ICP.
However, we soon faced another major problem, that we hadn't considered at all up to this point: It was relatively expensive to introduce an independent magazine into the publishing marketplace. As it happened ICP publishing house had already published 10 AmigaPlus special issues, and as they were now publishing our first edition/issue, the Amiga Future's first issue came out titled as "Amiga Future 11 - AmigaPlus special issue 11". So that's the reason and answer to the mystery that surrounds why the Amiga Future's first issue was number 11!
These were very emotional times for us in the Amiga market, as the Amiga's market share kept shrinking and so after two years with the ICP publishing house they eventually called "time" producing our Amiga magazine. Amiga Future was sold to FALKE publishing house along with the entire Amiga magazine concept. This was not a good change from a long term perspective, as the Amiga market continued to shrink even further and at some point even with FALKE publishing house it was no longer financially profitable for them, so was that to be the end of Amiga Future?
The entire Amiga Future editorial team didn't agree to abandon the concept and magazine, and so we created an entirely new concept for Amiga Future, more or less overnight, and made it reality, almost immediately.
Amiga Future was to be published in black and white from then on, and it was no longer to be just a games magazine. We decided that we wanted to deal with any Amiga relevant topic and not to just focus on games. The magazine was likely to have a few pages less than previously, but also less advertisement, standard texts and fill-ins. However, we increased the number of texts per page, so the positive effect was that it was still significantly more content despite there being fewer pages. The magazine's marketing was now entirely in our own hands: we got to write the texts, style of laying them out, and the sale of the magazine.
We had to manage subscriptions, pack, sort, ship, and handle orders ..... we took care of absolutely everything. We did that through our own distributor APC&TCP, that I had founded in 1992, to release commercial software for the Amiga.
There were, of course, countless problems, some of which we could solve beforehand, but some of which we could only fix after learning from the experience. We still struggle on occasions with problems related to production and content. These issues seem to come with the territory.
We need sufficient editors, proof readers and the magazine needs to be graphically laid out so it looks good, as our reader's deserve that as well. This all has to happen in a very strict schedule, not forgetting that the print office has other things to do than just wait for us.
Over the years we've had to deal with new challenges as well, one of those being that from the 67th issue the Amiga Future has become published in English as well. This also meant that we needed to have enough translators, and our layout designer suddenly had twice as much work to do!
The larger the Amiga Future run became, then the more, and larger, problems seemed to appear. We had to deal with subscriptions and complete invoices. The whole magazine had to be nicely packaged and promptly shipped out. Anyone who's dealt with the Post Office, will know of some of the kind of unseen scenarios you'll end up having to deal with. No, don't get me started on all those various tax forms for each country. So that was all stuff that had to be solved. My point is that we just couldn't lay back and relax .... there's always some new problem to fix.
Amiga Future has been printed entirely in colour since 2011. The black and white pages secured the existence of our beloved magazine over those past years. The growing interest in retro computers has increased our print run and so we can fulfill something our readers had wished for for such a long time, and now it is all printed in glorious colour. This meant, however, that we had to increase the price. Sadly, over the past (almost) 25 years we had to resort to increasing the magazine's price several times. Despite that we still have a relatively fair priced magazine at 9.90 (with Readers' cover CD). Amiga Future's first issue (No. 11) was sold for 19.80 DM at a local news-stand, which would be 9.90 Euros today. (proofreader's note: if you take currency inflation into consideration it would be about 14 Euros by now, so Amiga Future has, in reality, become even cheaper)
Amiga Future came with a Cover Readers' CD, right from its first issue. We try to cover as many interesting software titles on it as possible. For a specific period of time we had to sell the Cover CD as a CD-R for financial reasons. However, since the 138'th issue it's now a commercially pressed CD. We are always on the lookout for interesting software material for our CD.
Amiga Future also manages a huge homepage with tons of content. ICP and Falke never planned for a homepage for our magazine. Nonetheless, we decided to create our own homepage to remain closer to the community, which has turned out to be a very good decision. After the publishing houses dropped us our homepage turned out to be one of our means of survival. Of course, such a large homepage might not really be that necessary for a magazine. Merely an info page as was the case with most of the other Amiga magazines might have done the trick, but we wanted to provide the community with as much free material as possible as well as our printed magazine.
What does the future have in store for us?
Well, if we knew that, we would be able to make less mistakes. Amiga Future's print run is stable and keeps growing, but at a very, very slow pace. We would love to have more pages, and we have a few more ideas to enhance our print magazine. However, in order to realise all that we will either need a quick boost in subscription numbers or will require great patience and perseverance. We've proven our perseverance over the past (almost) 25 years, so that shouldn't be an obstacle really.
We would also love to make some enhancements to our homepage, but for that to happen we will need users that are willing to get involved.
So, we have quite a few plans and we will certainly be thinking of a few more. Let's hope we can realise most of them.
One thing is for sure: we want to print the Amiga Future magazine for you for a very, very, very long time.
Andreas Magerl/Bernd Schmidt
A few links with more information on Amiga Future's history:
6 years of Amiga Future: app.php/kb/viewarticle?a=229
Amiga Future 100 - Geschichte der Amiga Future: app.php/kb/viewarticle?a=5009&start=25
18 years of Amiga Future: app.php/kb/viewarticle?a=6029&start=40
Amiga Future 100 - Amiga Future history: app.php/kb/viewarticle?a=5010&start=25
18 Years of Amiga Future: app.php/kb/viewarticle?a=6065&start=40