Monday, September 24, 2012

Digital White Dwarf Review

So as the ever expanding overlord known as the mighty GW it continues to expand its empire across the vastness of our world it appears to be also expanding its hold and abilities into the Digital market. I say expand but I personally feel like only for the first time are they really paying this market any real attention lately. So I will be starting a series looking at what the digital products offer us, and I hope to give you more than the random ranting or complaining about price or what not that you get around the intertubes.

We will start these off with the new White Dwarf going digital,

They announced this month that White Dwarf would be going digital using the apple technology as they appear to be doing for everything they are supporting thus far. They announced this in the daily white dwarf style blog posts on the website and even gave us a picture of the digital editor.

For those of you that don't own apple products I'll go into a bit more detail of how this process works.

You use the newstand app on your product. This app is actually very convenient if you like to read magazines on a regular basis. The way it works is you go through a selection of digital magazine and you download the titles you read on a regular basis. Then these titles are shown on a shelf in your application. The application always shows the newest cover when the magazine updates much like a actual new stand.
I have added the White Dwarf to mine so you can see how it looks below.. I also clearly removed my other magazines so you couldn't judge my random magazines I may or may not read like horror weekly, better homes and garden, something with barely dressed girls on the cover...

From here you pick the magazine you are interested in buying or that you have purchased and want to read.

The store view normally shows you what issues are for sale, going back X number of issues, and generally will give you the price of a Digital subscription. As you can see here the WD subscription is about 65 dollars american. A Digital issue is running 8 dollars which is 2 dollars cheaper than buying the physical book. If you purchase something here it works like everything else in that your itunes account gets charged then the content will download. I purchased this issue just to write this little review. It didn't not take overly long to download either which is a plus.

When opening the book it reads like a digital magazine would its pretty and you flip the pages, much like a PDF. However just opening the WD the cover comes up with only the picture and the text jumps in more like a power point slide. So it is very clear there is some intent to be interactive and not just a flat pdf style experience. I was impressed by this. You can't zoom in on every page by without increasing the over all size of things which I didn't bother with I was just trying to zoom in by pinching much like you would on any other touch screen device.. However they address my initial concern with this nice page as you can see below.

AS you can see they clearly had interactive content as the main goal of going this way. You will see these icons constantly through out the magazine in digital format. The arrows that allow you to zoom in open up really large pictures that you can zoom really close to getting much more detail. 

The information tab shows the product information on anything its by. So package product number and price. 

The global icon is a link to a website directly to the content it is buy normally this was used as a quick way to purchase something from them. For example I have added a picture of the upgrade sprues and you can see they all have a nice link to the online store in case you MUST purchase right this second lol. 

The 360 view is done pretty well also and its really cool to be able to pause mid read of the magazine to spin the model and see it from all sides.. Here are few examples of these through screen shots.

The other thing that is offered above and beyond inside the digital issue beyond normal content is that at the end of the battle report for 40k there is a video wrap up of the players comments.

I want to say over all I was actually impressed with the amount of interactive content and direction they appear to be going with this first issue. I don't have a way to compare the content to a physical book as I write this so I wonder if the digital or physical has any differences content wise or not. (Beyond the poster I didn't get with the download that you get when you actually buy the physical book of course)

So let's wrap up.. 

The cost is a few dollars cheaper which is a plus for a magazine I feel is normally a bit over costed. The digital content is pretty well done and there is a ton of it. I so far like the direction they are going with interactive pictures. There is the draw back that it is only for apple at the moment which I know is a bummer for several people. Although I will point out that since it uses the Newstand app you could get the content on a phone, ipad, or a ipod touch. Will I be buying more WD because of this? It's hard to say because they have just said they are updating how they do the magazine and I wasn't overly pleased with it in the recent past. I didn't review the magazine itself here I tried to focus on the digital content, but I will say that if I am going to buy one in the future I would most likely buy it digital from what I have seen so far. 

So thoughts? Comments? Anything you wanted to know that wasn't covered? I plan to do reviews of much more of the digital content as we go along to include the apps, so if there is something you want to know about speak up or stay tuned. 


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