Classic computer mags Maximum PC and Mac Life are going out of print. Harry McCracken, writing now for Technologizer–a website–heralds the End of the Computer Magazine Era.
But I'm not writing this article because the dead-tree versions of Maximum PC and MacLife are no more. I'm writing it because they were the last two extant U.S. computer magazines that had managed to cling to life until now. With their abandonment of print, the computer magazine era has officially ended. It is possible to quibble with this assertion. 2600: The Hacker Quarterly has been around since 1984 and can accurately be described as a computer magazine, but the digest-sized publication has the production values of a fanzine and the content bears little resemblance to the slick, consumery computer mags of the past. Linux Magazine (originally the U.S. edition of a German publication) and its more technical sibling publication Admin also survive. Then again, if you want to quibble, Maximum PC and MacLife may barely have counted as U.S. magazines at the end; their editorial operations migrated from the Bay Area to the UK at some point in recent years when I wasn't paying attention. (Both were owned by Future, a large British publishing firm.)
Most of them died about a decade ago, and I didn't much notice because many segued into quality websites. But even then…
PC World's headcount over the last couple of decades tells a story in itself. In mid-2000—well into the web era—we had 80 journalists, product testers, and designers on staff. Seven years later, the figure was slightly over half that. Today, the masthead of the all-digital PCW carries 13 names. I'm unsure if they're all full-time employees, and almost half are pulling double duty on Macworld.
U.S. and British game mags seem to be in sustainable shape, though that's not quite the same thing.