The print industry has really shrunk in recent years due to digitalization, so it can be tricky if you’re looking for free gaming magazines by mail.
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Some magazines have even ceased publishing entirely.
Those that remain either switched to online magazines or limited the printing of their magazines.
But it isn’t impossible to find free magazines…you just have to be smart about it.
How to Get Free Gaming Magazines by Mail
So what’s left? And how can you get your hands on gaming mags? Here are 3 ways:
1. Earn Points or Gift Cards to Get “Free” Mags
The problem with free gaming mags is that those you do get as freebies may not be the titles you actually want to receive.
If you have a specific magazine in mind, the best way to get them for free is to earn points via rewards, cashback, or surveys. Here’s how:
- Rewards – Swagbucks, Prize Rebel, and My Points are examples of sites that reward you for completing tasks like filling up a form, playing a game,
- Cashbacks – Ibotta, TopCashback, Rakuten, and other similar sites/apps give you back some of what you spent from retail stores and online shops into points.
- Surveys – Tellwut, Opinion Outpost, and Pinecone Research are market research firms that reward people who give their opinions about products, services, information, and more.
The process of saving points from the sites above may vary, but all of them are paid out similarly.
Once you reach the minimum threshold (usually around $5 to $10), you can now cash it out via PayPal, or exchange it for one of your preferred gift cards (such as Amazon, Walmart, Target, VISA, and more).
Of course, once you earned enough points, you can simply buy the gaming magazine yourself and have it delivered to you by mail.
2. Exchange miles for free gaming magazines
Not everyone knows this, but if you’re a frequent flyer and have unused miles at United, Frontier, Delta, Alaska, and other major airlines, you can use it to claim a magazine subscription of your choice.
This is made possible thanks to MagsForMiles, run by CAP Systems (a division of Synapse Group, Inc.).
The company partnered with airlines and publishers to be able to offer the deal to anyone with expiring or orphaned miles.
To claim your magazine:
- Select your airline first, which would then direct you to the magazine options (with the number of miles required to claim).
- You’ll then click “add to bag,” or add other magazines if you want.
- Checkout when ready. You’ll need to fill out your shipping information, including your SkyMiles Number. If you wish to gift the magazine subscription to someone else, indicate the receiver’s mailing address before checkout.
This doesn’t require cash payments or credit card charges. However, you can’t get a refund once the publisher approves your subscription.
If you pick two or more gaming magazines at the time of your order, but you have insufficient miles, MagsforMiles will only process the subscription equal to your available miles.
3. Stalk these 10 Gaming Magazines Online for Freebies
The best way to learn what magazines are still out there is to stalk the following gaming mags:
1. PC Gamer – UK’s magazine has been dedicated to PC games since it launched in 1993. Today, the magazine still provides in-depth game reviews, announcements, and news. PC Gamer is available both in digital versions and printed copies.
2. Edge – While this UK magazine only publishes 13 issues a year, Edge is still a favorite of game industry professionals, aspiring game-makers, and very committed hobbyists.
3. Retro Gamer – This magazine, as its name suggests, focuses on the retro gamers in us. If you love old-school games like Donkey Kong, Super Mario, Def Jam and have a special place for consoles of the past, Retro Gamer mag will be around your alley.
4. PLAY – PLAY is a monthly mag featuring Sony’s PlayStation product range. It had been published by both UK’s Future Publishing and Imagine Publishing but closed in 2016. This mag was given a second life in May 2021 when it became the replacement for the official UK PlayStation magazine.
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5. Tabletop Gaming – Tabletop Gaming is the UK’s only magazine with 100 pages each month dedicated to all types of gaming on your tabletops, such as card games, board games, puzzles, roleplaying games, and miniatures.
6. Wireframe Magazine – This gaming magazine is a monthly mag that lifts the lid on video games. In every issue, you’ll learn how games are made, who makes them, and even guide you through the process of making your own. Print subscriptions starting from just £5 are sent by mail. (Digital copies could be free, see below)
7. Minecraft World – While this is an “independent and unofficial guide” to Minecraft, it is also one of the most popular because of the in-depth Minecraft content from essential tips and advice to brilliant Minecraft constructions and expert hints.
8. Nintendo Force (NF Magazine) – This bi-monthly magazine updates about various Nintendo hardware products (and games). Nintendo Force is one of only a handful of US-based gaming magazines still standing today since its launch in 2013.
9. Pure Nintendo – This bi-monthly, independently published magazine features Nintendo-related content and news, but many people love PNM (Pure Nintendo Magazine) for their video game reviews.
Follow their social media accounts and subscribe to their newsletters. These magazines sometimes announce deals, discounts, contests and other promotions that could significantly bring down the price of subscriptions or give copies away for free.
You can also try sending them an email and requesting free gaming magazines by mail. It never hurts to try.
Digital Mags: Alternatives to Free Gaming Magazines by Mail
If you’ve transitioned into digital reading and have yourself a beloved e-book reader, you’d likely be open to digital versions of free gaming magazines. If you are, here are some top resources for you:
- Amazon Prime
If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can get access to Prime books and monthly issues of your chosen magazines completely free of charge.
- Wireframe (Currently named Why Now Gaming)
PDFs of issues of Wireframe magazine are available for download, but you’ll need to donate.
- Gaming America
If you’re not looking for PC and console games, but are passionate about cards, chess, casino and other traditional gaming, this free digital magazine would be in your lane.
- Checkpoint Kids Magazine
This FREE digital magazine is made specifically for kids who love everything about video gaming. Whether your kid is hoping to become a pro gamer, or be in the shadows as part of game development, this teacher-approved magazine could inspire the next generation of talent.
Originally published by FuncoLand before Gamestop took over, Game Informer now releases a monthly digital magazine featuring articles, news, strategy, and reviews of video games and associated consoles.
The digital copies are free, but the print versions are available for purchase.
This gaming magazine will bring you back in time. They feature mostly old-school games on their print and digital magazine versions. Anyone can subscribe and access the FREE option for the magazine.
But if you want to receive 6 issues of printed magazines annually, the company has Digital+Printed options for US and Canada subscribers ranging from $50 to $75 per year.
Compared to other free gaming magazines on this list whose target audience are gamers, Game Developer Magazine was created with future game designers in mind.
Ideal for budding game developers who want to take a peek into the process of creating all kinds of games (PC, console, apps, and so on), Game Developer Magazine is a useful industry publication even if they do not have a printed magazine version.
Some magazines have now been converted into apps. A good example of this is Dragon+ (the now-defunct iOs app for all things Dungeons & Dragons). It was the official magazine-fit-into-an-app resource with game strategies, insights, lore, up-to-date D&D storyline, community, and other gold nuggets of Dungeons & Dragons.
The Next Best thing to Free Gaming Magazines by Mail
If you’ve got extra funds, you can also subscribe monthly. Subscriptions include the latest regular issue and new issues released during your subscription.
Try your first-month subscription to PocketMags at only 99c, followed by $11.99/month after 30 days, and get unlimited access to over 400 magazine titles. The only downside to PocketMags is that subscription plans do not include back issues (you’d have to pay for back issues if you’re interested in them).
Other back issues, such as the Sim Racer mag, are available free to access via Issuu.com. But you have to know the exact link to be able to browse through the magazine.