Sailing To New Waters

It is with mixed feelings that I announce that effectively, Gaming Bus will cease as we know it immediately. Though we will refocus our site, Gaming Bus’s days as a news site are effectively over.

This has been coming for some time. Ultimately, my other careers – which are more lucrative than games writing – caught up to me in terms of the time I need to focus on them. My primary career in IT has been demanding more of my time as I take on a supervisory role, and my hockey career is also tilting more towards administration, and with it, a serious time drain. In short, those two jobs easily eat up a good 70 hours of my week, and virtually all of my weekends as my Livestream schedule can attest to.

There’s also the fact that I tried to focus on news writing, and on being Serious Journalists™. Ultimately, this is great for the site’s integrity, and I feel that our writers have a very nice niche on their resumes; furthermore, we’ve been able to call out some very bad journalism by very bad sites who get paid to do this for a living. However, there were two key problems: news is boring, and we’re all busy. I can honestly attest that I’ve brought in some of the brightest minds I’ve seen come across the industry, but the problem is those bright minds have other more important things taking up their time. Nathan and Connor both have very intense school schedules. Aileen’s in postgraduate classes towards a PH.D. Josh is a freaking jet engine engineer. And I, between this, my hockey career and my IT career, can easily pull 90-100 hour workweeks. Numbers are boring, numbers are time-consuming to research, and I’m a raving dick when anyone gets it wrong. I’m just as hard on myself, but after so many triple-digit work weeks taking me out of the physical condition I need to be in to maintain my on-ice presence, I don’t even have the energy to be mad anymore.

However, with that said, Gaming Bus isn’t going “away”, we’re just refocusing.

* I’m going to be taking more of a “blog” like approach. Typically, our focus is on high-quality news and reviews and features, but going forward, I will be breaking down the wall between “news” and “analysis”. People tend to come to us for our analysis anyway – we don’t have the resources to “break” news, being so far from New York and San Francisco, so we’re stuck either running off press releases or regurgitating – so this will streamline things a bit.

* I will have time to finish some features that have been backburnered for some time as I spend less on administrative overhead and the like. It seems like every time I got going, something dropped that needed my immediate attention. I also have some ideas for some non-normal features and editorials that should be fun.

* We will no longer be receiving comped reviews – hell, most of them were going unclaimed – and will instead be reviewing games we buy/rent ourselves.

* Because of this, I expect our update schedule to be a little weirder. I have no clue what the livestreams will do during hockey season.

* Unfortunately, the negative part of this is that I had to drop the biggest experiment I had: paid editorial staff. This is the only real “negative” out of this for me, as the girls worked their asses off and earned every penny.

Really, though our time as a “news” site is over, I’m extremely proud of what we accomplished in almost two years. The EA embargo, the breaking news updates, our exceptional accuracy at forecasting and reading the industry’s tea leaves, all of these things are what I’ll remember at Gaming Bus the way it was, far more than the nights I crawled into bed at 5:30AM.

I’d like to personally thank a few people that were exceptional, however:

* Thanks to Nathan Wood, who had the unenviable task of conforming to American time from Australia, but turning out strong work nonetheless. His work relating to voice acting through gaming’s history is top-notch.

* Thanks to Joshua Moore, who quickly became my top writer, consistently writing top-flight news and reviews, all while going through school and a demanding job.

* Thanks to Crystal Steltenpohl, who was instrumental in bringing people into the Gaming Bus fold, organizing our game nights, and being a patch-in for anything that needed to be done. Though Crystal moved on, her contributions were never forgotten.

* Thanks to Aileen Coe, who stepped into a completely foreign position as our director of Public Relations, after much prodding on my end. Working in a position she’s never worked in, and which is counter to her perceived strengths, she ended up performing flawlessly, and has been a huge asset to Gaming Bus from day one.

* Finally, my greatest thanks to Mel Ngai, our Editor. Though I’m the Editor in Chief, it was Melissa’s hand that touched every single article before it went live. Without Melissa, we don’t get far at all. She was completely and absolutely invaluable, and I owe her the world for the things she did, things the average person doesn’t have the faintest clue about.

We accomplished some amazing things, and I look forward to the things we’ll accomplish while we’re shifting to a more “casual” role. If someone would have told me in 2010 when I was laying the foundation for this site that I would be taking this site into a blog-like direction in two years, I’d have reacted angrily. Now, I look forward to not being so anal-retentive about what proper games “journalism” is. The one thing I’ve learned is that, unless one has the time and resources of someone like Ben Kuchera (who has Penny Arcade behind him), “proper” games journalism isn’t going to happen. It’s all going to be either regurgitating, or sucking at PR’s teat, neither of which I have an appetite for. At the end of the day, if my site is half as good as Bill Harris’s blog (when he sticks to games), I’ll be in good shape.

Thanks for everything, everyone!

Christopher Bowen

About Christopher Bowen

Christopher Bowen is the Editor in Chief of Gaming Bus. Before opening Gaming Bus in May of 2011, he was the News Editor at Diehard GameFAN, a lead reporter for DailyGamesNews, and a reviewer at Not A True Ending, also contributing to VIMM, SNESZone and Scotsmanality. Outside of the industry, he is a network engineer in Norwalk, CT and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.