By Paul Hunter
NextGen Player is officially one year old as of this weekend.
Ironically enough I've been sitting at the screen for an hour or so wondering how I could possibly sum up this experience succinctly and accurately enough to properly convey my emotions. To put it bluntly, NextGen Player has been a thrill ride with all the adrenaline-pumping excitement you would come to expect. This website has always been a fun side project of mine (as I also work full time) and as such, I try and put in as many evening and weekend hours into it as I'm able to afford. It can be a tough balance with all of life's responsibilities and challenges, but ultimately it's been a very rewarding ride thus far.
NextGen Player has had a whirlwind of success in the past year. We've already well surpassed 100,000 page views in our debut year. While we're no Kotaku or Joystiq in terms of sheer traffic, when I first started this blog I wasn't sure if anyone would read this at all. Having tens of thousands of readers visit our humble corner of space on the 'net is more than I could have ever hoped for.
Not only that, but we've had the privilege of attending many industry events including MIGS, VFS Game Design Expo, and tonight we're off to The ELAN Award show. We've been invited to many media launch parties including Gears of War 2, World of Warcraft: WOTLK, Halo 3: Mythic Map Pack and many more. Most significantly, NextGen Player was named a finalist in the 2008 Canadian Blog Awards for "Best New Blog". For everyone who voted for us, I want to thank you for supporting what we do.
Above all, I want to thank you, the reader, for honestly supporting us over our short history. It's knowing that people actually give a damn that makes all my time worthwhile. While we all love writing, it's our community that really gives us purpose and conviction. We're not sure how all of you found our site, but we're glad you did - and we hope you stay and chat.
While I may have founded this site, I certainly cannot take all the credit. I want to take this opportunity to thank Andrew Shin, Andrew Green, and Clinton Ma for all your contributions. Also, I want to thank Matt Vernhout, who while not still with the site, contributed quite a bit over the past year. It's the dedication these people have poured into NextGen Player that has made it was it is today. All this without even a nickel of pay.
I always like to think that NextGen Player is something different, that our focus is somehow different the rest of the stuff out there. The intent of this website was to give Canadian readers a place to read their news, and to give all of us an opportunity to share the amazing stories of Canadian gamers with the rest of the world. We're here for this country, but most importantly, we're here to remind the world that Canada is a strong and growing nation of gamers.
I am always interested in what our readers think we are doing well, what we can improve upon, and what new features you'd like to see on the site. All of us here at NextGen Player are community-focused. At the end of the day, your input will help grow and shape the site in the years to come. If you're interested in reaching out to me, please send an email to paulATnextgenplayerDOTcom.
Thank you for reading NextGen Player - we couldn't have done any of this without you.
[cupcake photo courtesy of Theresa Thompson - thanks!]