(6 times yearly)
|First issue||May 1996|
|Based in||Strawberry Hills, New South Wales|
|Website||Official website (No longer updated as of 2018)|
PC PowerPlay (PCPP) is Australia's only dedicated PC games magazine. PC PowerPlay focuses on news and reviews for upcoming and newly released games on the Microsoft Windows platform. The magazine also reviews computer hardware for use on gaming computers. The magazine is published by Future Australia.
In 2018, Future, owner and publisher of PC Gamer, purchased PC PowerPlay and related computing titles from nextmedia, incorporating PC PowerPlay articles into the online versions of PC Gamer.
The magazine comes with a DVD which includes game demos, freeware games, anime shows, film/anime/game teaser trailers, game patches, game mods, game maps, PC utilities and computer wallpapers.
A CD version was also available until September 2005 where it was replaced by a DVD edition. For a brief time, both editions existed while gamers made the transition from one technology to the next.
The main sections included in each month's magazine include:
A number of notable sections that used to appear in the magazine included:
Each review of a game or product is given a score out of ten. PC PowerPlay has given 10/10 scores to a number of games including:
A 10/10 game is connoted not as a perfect game but as a "masterpiece with flaws". (The 10/10 score system replaced the old system of 0% to 100%.)
PCPP once stated "What was the difference between a game which gets 95% and a game that gets 96%?". This was precisely what readers argued about.
Under the previous percentage system, only Wolfenstein 3D ever received 100% (that 100% converted to 10/10 when printed in review score summaries in later issues), while the next closest score ever given, 98%, was given to:
In addition to the magazine itself there are several websites that are closely linked with it.
The official PC PowerPlay website was launched in 2001, but was taken offline following the collapse of the online division of publishing company Next Media, then lay dormant until July 2006.
The current website includes features and news, but most traffic on the site goes to the PC PowerPlay forums. The forum database has been largely preserved across a number of technology migrations. It first began on a ColdFusion powered site in 2001, then moved to phpBB and was converted to vBulletin in 2007.
The forums provide an environment for the discussion of gaming and computer related software and technology. Within the forums there are also sections dedicated to general discussion and banter, serious discussions regarding Australian national, regional and international issues and a section for discussions of TV shows, films and music. This design also allows the organization of multiplayer games amongst the PCPP readers and other forum members.
The general discussion section of the PCPP Forum is titled "Rhubarb", because of editor Anthony Fordham's love of the old British joke of having extras in movie crowd scenes say "rhubarbrhubarbrhubarb" to simulate incidental conversation. (Which may or may not originate from the British short film "Rhubarb", the remake in 1980, or The Goon Show.)
A website re-launch occurred on 22 April 2009, consisting of a customized Joomla install and layout and featured regularly updated blogs, news and features. The site again entered a period of disuse shortly thereafter.
On Wednesday, 12 March 2010, the PCPP website and forum software was replaced with a CMS provided by CyberGamer. This software also powers the cybergamer.com.au website. PCPP is now listed as a "Media Partner" of CyberGamer whilst CyberGamer now receives advertising space within PCPP and PCPP's sister magazine, Hyper. A press release was issued on 18 March, detailing the arrangement between both parties. As part of this online merger, PCPP's established community were incorporated within the CyberGamer Network. The CyberGamer Network acts as a single-sign on service for all CyberGamer-powered sites. Hyper Magazine was due to migrate their web presence to a CyberGamer network powered system on 8 April 2010.
The transition to the CyberGamer forums have generally been considered to have been handled badly by many short and long term forum participants and it remains to be seen if the level of forum participation will return to its former heights. On 12 August 2010, PC PowerPlay's then-editor, Anthony Fordham, announced that the PCPP Forums would revert to the old vBulletin software, stating that the PC PowerPlay community were not happy with the current CyberGamer software. A potential merge with the Hyper game forum never occurred and the forum was eventually closed in December 2017.
Currently the magazine publishes two separate versions each issue.
One is a plain magazine, while the other more expensive version includes a double-sided DVD-ROM disc, totalling up to a possible 9.4 gigabytes of demos, mods and/or other content.
The magazine launched in 1996 with a 640 Megabyte CD-ROM cover disc, which was upgraded to a double CD-ROM set in January 2000 issue. The DVD-ROM edition joined the lineup in April 2002 issue alongside the CD-ROM version for three years, the CD-ROM version finally ceased production in 2005.
The August 1998 cover disc of PC PowerPlay was infected with the Malburg virus, causing the magazine to apologize in the following issue and give away antivirus software from Kaspersky Lab. Malburg was also spread by a PC Gamer cover disc and WarGames: Defcon 1 in the same year, which CNN Money stated caused the malware to become a "widespread threat".
From April to December 2002 the DVD-ROM edition of PC PowerPlay also contains the Full Episode of Anime show that licensed and distributed in Australia by Madman Entertainment such as Boogiepop Phantom, Love Hina, Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, and Sorcerous Stabber Orphen.
The November 2005 edition included the first discless magazine at a little over half the price of the DVD-ROM version. While sales were not spectacular, dropping the CD-ROM did slow the rate of decline of the non-DVD-ROM version of the magazine. This saw subscriptions being offered for the disc-less version at half the sale price.
The Bunker was a section of the DVD-ROM originally compiled each month by "ROM", a respected member of the PCPP online community. However, following his retirement from the position (announced in issue #143), The Bunker undertook a drastic transformation and became the PCPP Community Bunker. Readers and members of the online community produced and were actively encouraged to submit to the section.
The Bunker was replaced in 2009 with a streamlined Applications and Utilities section.
PC PowerPlay has no direct competition in the Australian market (with no other dedicated Australian PC games magazines existing).
However, there is indirect competition from technology enthusiast magazine Atomic (originally published by AJB Publishing, later acquired by Haymarket Media in July 2004) and FamilyPC Australia (published by APN Computing under the license from Ziff-Davis and The Walt Disney Company).
Various PC games magazines from the UK and US are sold in Australia (such as PC Gamer and PC Zone (now defunct)), but their circulations are minimal.
An Australian version of PC Gamer launched shortly after PC PowerPlay but was shut down in 1999 following a dispute between the publisher and printer.
Australian publishing company Derwent Howard launched a competitor called PC Games Addict in 2002, using some Australian content filled out by licensed content from PC Gamer in the UK and PC Format. The magazine ceased publication in 2005.
PC PowerPlay's core target audience ranges from the ages of 14 to 34, with an approximate readership of 91,000. In terms of online audiences, PC PowerPlay boasts over 43,200 unique online users – of these, 17,421 are email subscribers.