According to the now former Editor for the 1UP network and Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) writer James Mielke (aka "Milky", aka "The Milkman"), the magazine wasn't in any decline before its recent shut down, and it was, in a sense, related to UGO buying the network. This is interesting to reference with the interview linked to yesterday, in which J Moses, CEO of UGO Entertainment said: “Closing EGM has absolutely nothing to do with UGO.” From Milky's blog:
Despite what the internet might tell you, EGM's circulation was holding steady in the 550-650 thousand range, with around 550,000 paid subscriptions and 100K issues printed to distribute on newsstands. That's a lot of genuine, desired reach. There was no decline. EGM going away was simply a matter of UGO wanting a website, not a magazine, and the Ziff Davis corporation unwilling to remain in the costly print business. Simple as that. If we had had, say, Christmas issue level ad counts (nearly half the magazine) you can bet that the February issue would have hit newsstands, but they didn't, so it didn't. There's always a dramatic drop-off of advertising in Q1, despite a lot of publishers, like Capcom, moving their triple-A titles to Q1 (Jan-April) to avoid the Q4 bloodbath. This year was no different.
As for the future of 1UP, Editor Mike Leone has some positive words:
Let's be honest -- UGO.com (note the ".com"), for someone who wants to be accurately and honestly informed about games, isn't the best site. But UGO the organization, as far as I can tell, seems to have their stuff together. More importantly, they've promised us that they are not going to try to force any of the UGO.com philosophies or approaches on 1UP. We'll see, but that's what I needed to hear over the past couple of days to want to keep working here. They claim they want 1UP to be the start of substantive game editorial for them. Of course it's not going to be as substantive as it was, but at least they have come in with the right attitude.
In any case, for those mourning the loss of the magazine, Milky has revealed a until now secret last issue which everyone will be able to get their hands on for free, online, soon (cover is below). "Print it out for posterity, put it in your mailbox, pull it out of your mailbox, and sigh a melancholy sigh for me," he says.