Monday, July 08, 2013

8th Year Anniversary and Announcement

Exactly eight years ago, I started Arbiter's Judgement with this post.  Shortly thereafter I recruited my buddy Telly as "The Staff" and we set off to have some fun and create our own version of ActionTrip, a site we both still read and follow to this day.

During these last eight years, I've brought you my own thoughts on games, movies, books, and other random crap.  I've been privileged to attend many gaming events, including private/invite only ones which have let me do a lot of cool things.  I played and received a copy of Gears of War 2 before it went on sale, I viewed Halo: Legends in a swank hotel theatre and got a copy before it released, I was one of the first eight people in the country not employed by Microsoft to play the Halo: Reach beta, and more recently, I was able to play BioShock Infinite months before release.

These are just some of the highlights from a gaming standpoint.  Outside of but also related to gaming, I've had the pleasure of helping others raise money for charity via Child's Play, I've received many complimentary novels from Tor Books to read and review, and I've been able to influence and inspire many in various gaming communities.

Some years back Telly got swamped with personal and professional life and had to take his leave, leaving the running of this place to me and I've certainly given it my all as a one-man operation.  However, I too must admit that time is at a premium for me these days.

I have a full fledged career, a home, and I'm juggling many personal relationships and friendships to boot.  I've also had some health issues that have come up which demand proper attention and care, and the truth is I don't have the time I once did to dedicate to the blog.

And yet again, social media has changed how we read and deal with news.  Thanks to sites like Twitter and Facebook, anything I'm posting up has long since been read days before elsewhere, and even for unique and personal articles, like reviews, I find it challenging to now fit them into my daily schedule.  My recent Batman: Arkham City - Game of the Year Edition review, for example, took me almost a month to complete.  I wasn't actively working on it for that month, mind you, I started it in early June and simply didn't have the time to continue it until early July.

Another truth is the game's industry isn't what it was eight years ago.  When I started Arbiter's Judgement, we were at the peak of what I now call the Golden Age of Gaming.  A time when games were truly innovative and inspiring and when I gladly spent several hour binge sessions each weekend playing my favourite titles.

Now, with the pending release of Xbox One and PlayStation 4 later this year, we're on the verge of a new generation of consoles, and I'm not sure if they'll be for me.  Over the last few years in particular I've watched many trends in the industry flourish that I do not find encouraging, and today, while there are still some excellent games being released, I find them much fewer and farther between.  Sure, they look prettier, have higher production values, and are far more cinematic, but the industry itself and how developers and publishers work has changed.

Gone are the days of true and constant innovation, now we're in the age of nickle and dimming the consumer and maximizing profit.  Gaming is truly a business now, and while I'm not giving up on gaming or abandoning the hobby I do spend far less time on it and I personally no longer want to do any major marathon sessions; it's just not the same any longer and overall I feel the industry has not evolved for the better.

And so, after long and careful consideration, I've decided the time has come for me to take my own leave.  I don't make this decision lightly as I have greatly enjoyed writing and creating here, but the truth is my focus needs to be elsewhere.  As Tor Books sends me novels to review I'll still do so, and if a game of great worth comes out that I want to review I'll likely do so as well, and you may see me post a bit of really great news now and again, but for all intents and purposes I'm retiring the blog.

Perhaps I'll take it up again in full force one day when circumstances are different, but for now, it's time to move on.  I want to thank you, my readers, for sticking by the site for so long.  I've really enjoyed bringing you my thoughts and opinions and I hope you've enjoyed reading them, even if you haven't always agreed with them.

I also want to thank Xbox Canada and Jaken Bear, Jade, and Mister Switch.  Thanks also go to Tor Books and Sally, Justin, Alexis, and Patty.  You've all given me great stuff to cover over the years, and thank you for your faith and support. 

I'll still be active at Delay of Game, so anyone seeking to reach me can easily do so there.  So again, thank you everyone for helping to make Arbiter's Judgement what it is, and best wishes.

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