Future is to press ahead with its biggest UK launch following a management restructure which has seen the departure of long-serving managing director Mike Frey.
The new Official Xbox Magazine is a multi-million pound venture by the company, which has recruited James Ashton-Tyler to be editor-in-chief.
The magazine’s first issue will coincide with the release of Microsoft’s future generation video-games console.
The Official Xbox Magazine is due to hit US news-stands in the autumn, and the UK and Europe early next year. A company called OXM (UK) has been set up to publish the British edition and Future is in the process of recruiting a team.
Staff on the title will work closely with journalists on its sister publication in Future’s US arm, Imagine Media. Colin Campbell, has been named UK publishing director. Previously, he worked on the launch of the Official PlayStation Magazine and has more recently been editor-in-chief of the US games website IGN. Future said it now intended to split its UK business into three separate divisions to focus on individual sectors. The games division will be headed by David Maher-Roberts, currently head of communications and development in France and Italy. The business, internet and creative division will continue to be managed by John Weir, but will include the titles previously managed by Burley. And the sports, entertainment and living division will be overseen by Robert Price, currently group publisher of the games division.
All three directors will sit on the board and report directly to chief executive Colin Morrison.
Frey, who has been with Future for more than five years, was appointed managing director in June 2000. Morrison said the aim was to make the divisions more like individual "companies". He said it would allow Future to be "more entrepreneurial and give more power and influence to people at the front end". He denied there were plans to sell any of the divisions. "It is really just to put the emphasis firmly on the heart of the business which is producing magazines," he said. "It is not revolutionary, just a simple change of emphasis. We can now make sure we turn our sights outwards and seek to grow the business again." The changes will take effect from 1 June.
Publishing director Jessica Burley has also left the company following the recent closure of the UK edition of Business 2.0.
By Ruth Addicott