Dan "Shoe" Hsu started his career in his 20s at an entry-level writing job at Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM). Now, more than a decade later, he is editor-in-chief of EGM, one of the largest titles covering the booming game industry.
He spoke to PRWeek about the growth of gaming and video-game journalism.
PRWeek: What do you like best about your job?
Dan Hsu: I'm still an avid gamer. The best thing about my job is being able to see all the latest hardware and software before they reach stores.
PRWeek: The average video game player is now in his or her late 20s, up considerably from the age of players a decade ago. Has EGM changed its style in response to that changing demographic?
Hsu: Actually the latest studies show the average gamer is now in his early 30s, while our average reader is 21. But it is a different audience, and we've tried to make our content a little more sophisticated to appeal not just to our long-term readers, but to the gaming public as a whole.
PRWeek: The general press tends to cover the game console wars as a business story. Is the average EGM reader interested in that story as well?
Hsu: Some of them are, but a lot more of them are into the whole rise of the video-game lifestyle. So in addition to the standard game reviews and previews, we're doing more cultural stories now.
PRWeek: The traditional video-game print magazine faces a lot of new competition from online sites. Do you have any concerns about the future of EGM?
Hsu: No. Despite the Internet, our circulation has steadily grown since 2000. As long as we evolve and work with - rather than compete against - the Internet, we feel there will always be a place for us. There are still things we can do with photography and layout that can't be matched online.
PRWeek: There's been a recent move to scale back some of the industry's PR-driven hype, like ending the high-profile Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) and holding a more low-key event. How will that change your job?
Hsu: We pride ourselves on knowing what's going to be shown at events like E3 before they happen. All that flash and glitz was really more for the public, anyway.
We always used to walk past the booth babes and little shows at E3 and head to the meeting rooms to see the games, so it isn't really going to affect us.
PRWeek: Any advice you could give to PR people?
Hsu: My only advice is to think about the outlet you're pitching and strive for more originality. A lot of PR people in video gaming get pressure from their superiors just to get previews or high scores for reviews. But there's a lot more they can do with their products if they think about it creatively and come up with new angles.
Name: Dan "Shoe" Hsu
Outlet: Electronic Gaming Monthly
Preferred contact method: Dan_Hsu@ziffdavis.com
Web site: egm.1up.com