Randy Nelson is a former colleague of mine over at Joystiq, and he stepped away from our gaming-focused sister site last year to follow his own path.
Part of that path includes a new gaming magazine project called PXL, which Nelson posted on Kickstarter back in January. With a humble budget of $3,500, the project got funded quickly, and a few months later, the first issue of PXL is now available in the App Store.
The completely tablet-based digital magazine is an interesting experiment for Nelson, and at this point, he’s locked in for quite a while, since the Kickstarter project sold full subscriptions for up to a two-year period. “The Kickstarter experience was awesome,” he told me. “Beyond just being instrumental in making the magazine a reality, it worked really well as a place for us to keep in touch with backers, get their feedback on things, and really gauge how excited people were for what we were doing.”
PXL will use work from freelancers (and the first issue has five or so contributors), but at this point, most of the publishing work in the first issue’s 67 pages is being done by Nelson and his girlfriend.
PXL is a partnership with a company called Mag+, which allows Nelson to publish both to the App Store and to subscribers pretty easily, and he says most of the hiccups didn’t come from putting the content together (Nelson’s worked on a few gaming publications, including Joystiq and PSM in the past), but from actually going through Mag+’s process. “There are a lot of requirements to meet,” he says, “in terms of making sure you have the right information and assets ready for them for review — lots of boxes to tick — but other than the wait, about five days, the process was smooth.”
Nelson says the magazine is “off to a slower start than I was hoping or think it deserves, but of course I’m biased,” he says. There’s a free app to download first, and then you can buy the magazine at 99 cents per issue, or 12 issues for $9.99. PXL will be compatible with the new iPad as soon as the latest update goes through, and while the first issue, out a little while ago, won’t be Retina-ready right away, the second issue will, and the first issue will get “remastered” soon.
Nelson’s also working on a site for the magazine, and there are some interesting plans along those lines as well, like archives of various reviews and news online, and there will be new in-app content available in the app every Friday.
It sounds like deciding to publish on the iPad has been a successful experience for Nelson so far, even if the magazine is taking a little while to reach its audience. If you’re interested in checking it out and seeing a prime example of how Apple’s tablet is making independent publishing easier than ever, you can pick it up from the App Store right now.