GMR (pronounced “G.M.R.”) is a monthly magazine devoted primarily to console games and strategies, although PC games were also reviewed regularly. Somewhat like Game Informer, it was available exclusively through a single retail chain (EB Games), and today it is still fondly remembered for its cutting-edge design sense and highly unique editorial voice.
The title was launched with EB Games to work alongside their EB Edge Discount Card. For $9.95, you could purchase both a year’s subscription to GMR and a card that entitled you to a discount on used games; each issue of the magazine also included a selection of EB Games coupons for further discounts on upcoming new games and peripherals.
This arrangement put GMR in nearly the same position as Game Informer with GameStop, and like their main rival, circulation rose exponentially. GMR first went on sale January 6, 2003, and over 37,000 subscriptions were sold at EB Games outlets in the first week. Its guaranteed rate base went from 225,000 to 425,000 in a matter of months, and although ABC circulation figures are not available for GMR beyond 2003, the unofficial number was well over a million copies by its demise in 2005.
In addition to its circulation, however, GMR was also noted for its design, spearheaded by editor-in-chief Simon Cox and executed by senior designer Gerry Serrano. Like Xbox Nation before it, GMR featured a heavily streamlined, graphic image-heavy design approach, with large screenshots, extensive sidebars, and text that aimed to be just as engaging to read as it was authoritative. The basic design tenets eventually worked their way into every other Ziff Davis publication, and Electronic Gaming Monthly’s streamlined redesign makes it look suspiciously similar to GMR in its heyday.
Although GMR was a sales and content success and actually grew in page size in successive months, the beginning of the end game in August 2004 when EB Games decided to separate the subscription offer from the EB Edge Discount Card. This left only the coupons to drive EB-outlet sales, and new subscriptions rapidly declined through fall and winter.
On December 12, 2004, Ziff Davis announced that both GMR and Xbox Nation would publish their last issue in February 2005. Most of the staff moved on to other game-media positions and still work in the business today.