Wait for games consoles hurts sales at Future

MAGAZINE publisher Future posted a fall in half-year revenues yesterday as readers lost interest in its games titles ahead of the launch of new consoles from Microsoft and Sony.

The owner of Xbox World, PC Gamer and Edge said that sales in the six months to April had fallen to £54.6m, from £61.1m a year earlier.

“We experienced some difficult trading conditions in the first half, above all in the games market, which has been in a trough ahead of new console releases from Microsoft and Sony,” Future’s chief executive Mark Wood said. However, he pointed to continued improvement in the firm’s digital offering. Wood has been aggressively pursuing a shift to online and tablet versions of Future’s magazines as physical sales decline, and the company showed evidence of this move’s success yesterday, revealing that digital advertising accounted for more than half of all ad revenues for the first time.

“The first half figures mask tremendous progress towards a predominantly digital business, reflected in a 33 per cent growth in digital revenues,” Wood said.

Future, which also publishes Total Film, T3, Total Guitar and online-only news websites, made a £300,000 loss during the period, less than the £700,000 a year ago. Wood has targeted a return to profitability in the full year, and he will hope for a boost in the next six month period as excitement builds ahead of the release of the Xbox One – which was unveiled on Tuesday night – and the next PlayStation console.

Shares in Future fell by 3.7 per cent to close at 16.38p yesterday.