|Frequency||Weekly / Monthly|
|Format||Paper and online magazine|
80,000 (Connect! On)
Kadokawa Game Linkage (2019-)
|First issue||June 1986(as Famicom Tsūshin)|
Famitsu,[a] formerly Famicom Tsūshin, is a line of Japanese video game magazines published by Kadokawa Game Linkage (previously known as Gzbrain), a subsidiary of Kadokawa. Famitsu is published in both weekly and monthly formats as well as in the form of special topical issues devoted to only one console, video game company, or other theme. Shūkan Famitsū,[b] the original Famitsu publication, is considered the most widely read and respected video game news magazine in Japan. From October 28, 2011, the company began releasing the digital version of the magazine exclusively on BookWalker weekly.
The name Famitsu is a portmanteau abbreviation of Famicom Tsūshin;[c] the word "Famicom" itself comes from a portmanteau abbreviation of "Family Computer" (the Japanese name for the Nintendo Entertainment System)—the dominant video game console in Japan during the 1980s.
Login (ログイン), a computer game magazine, started in 1982 as an extra issue of ASCII, and later it became a periodic magazine. Famicom Tsūshin[d] was a column in Login, focused on the Famicom platform, and ran from March 1985 to December 1986 issue. It received a good reception, so the publisher decided to found the magazine specialized for it.
The first issue of Famitsu was published on June 6, 1986, as Famicom Tsūshin. It sold less than 200,000 copies, despite 700,000 copies printed. The major competitor was Family Computer Magazine launched in July 1985 by Tokuma Shoten. Famitsu's editor found many readers had multiple game consoles, and they thought it would be better if the magazine covered various platforms. Increasing contents and the page count gradually, the magazine was published three times per month instead of semimonthly publication. On July 19, 1991 (issue #136) the magazine was renamed to Shūkan Famicom Tsūshin[e] and issues were published weekly thereafter. Alongside the weekly magazine, a monthly version called Gekkan Famicom Tsūshin[f] was also published.
Hirokazu Hamamura, an editor-in-chief (1992-2002), felt the beginning of a new era when he saw a private demonstration of Final Fantasy VII in 1993. He thought the name Famicom Tsūshin should be refurbished. At the start of 1996 (with issue #369) the magazines underwent another name change, truncating their titles to Shūkan Famitsū[g] and Gekkan Famitsū.[h] The name Famitsu had already been in common use.
The magazine was published by ASCII from its founding through March 2000 when it was sold to Enterbrain, which published it for 13 years until their parent company Kadokawa published it from 2013 to 2017. Since 2017, Kadokawa's subsidiary Gzbrain has been publishing the magazine, while in 2019 the company changed its name to Kadokawa Game Linkage.
Famicom Tsūshin initially focused on the Famicom platform, but later it featured multi-platform coverage. Famicom Tsūshin was renamed to Famitsu in 1995. Shūkan Famitsū is a weekly publication concentrating on video game news and reviews, and is published every Thursday with a circulation of 500,000 per issue. Gekkan Famitsū is published monthly.
Famitsu magazine covers alternately feature pop idols or actresses on even-numbered issues and the Famitsu mascot, Necky[i] the Fox in odd-numbered issues. Year-end and special editions all feature Necky dressed as popular contemporary video game characters. Necky is the cartoon creation of artist Susumu Matsushita, and he takes the form of a costumed fox. The costumes worn by Necky reflect current popular video games. Necky's name was chosen according to a reader poll, and it derives from a complex Japanese pun: "Necky" is actually the reverse of the Japanese word for fox, キツネ,[j] and his original connection to Famicom Tsūshin is intended to evoke the bark of the fox, the Japanese onomatopoeia of which is コンコン[k]. Necky makes a cameo appearance in Super Mario Maker.
Famitsu publishes other magazines dedicated to particular consoles. Currently in circulation are:
Famitsu spin-offs that are no longer in circulation include:
Main article: Famitsu scores
Video games are graded in Famitsu via a "Cross Review" in which a panel of four video game reviewers each give a score from 0 to 10 (with ten indicating the best game). The scores of the four reviewers are then added up for a maximum possible score of 40. From the twenty-four games awarded with a perfect score as of 2017[update], three are for the Nintendo DS and five are for the Wii. The PlayStation 3 also has five games with a perfect score and the Xbox 360 has four, with both consoles having four titles in common. The others are for different platforms with only one title each. Franchises with multiple perfect score winners include The Legend of Zelda with four titles, Metal Gear with three titles, and Final Fantasy with two titles. The most recent game to receive a perfect score is Ghost of Tsushima.
As of 2020[update], all but three games with perfect scores are from Japanese companies, nine being published/developed by Nintendo, four by Square Enix, three by Sega, three by Konami and one by Capcom. As of 2020[update], the only three completely foreign games to achieve a perfect score are The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim by Bethesda Softworks, Grand Theft Auto V by Rockstar Games, and Ghost of Tsushima, from Sucker Punch Productions. Other foreign games that have achieved near-perfect scores are L.A. Noire, Red Dead Redemption, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Grand Theft Auto IV – all four of which came from Rockstar Games; Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Call of Duty: Black Ops, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 – all from Activision, although published by Square Enix in Japan; Gears of War 3 from Epic Games; and The Last of Us Part II and Uncharted 4: A Thief's End from Naughty Dog. (Kingdom Hearts II is a joint effort between Square Enix and Disney Interactive Studios.)
Main article: Famitsu Awards
Famitsu administers the Famitsu awards. Video games receive a number of different awards in categories like Innovation, Biggest Hit, Rookie Award, Highest Quality, etc. One or two "Game of the Year" awards are granted as the top prize. Top prize winners are determined by a combination of critical and fan review scores as well as sales figures.
UK trade magazine MCV and Famitsu have an exclusive partnership which sees news and content from each magazine appear in the other.