Posted on January 28, 2015, Ron Whitaker A Farewell to the Front
This is a post I’ve dreaded writing since 2004. Due to budget cuts at our parent company, Defy Media, effective immediately, GameFront will no longer have a full editorial or video content staff.
I can’t believe I just typed that.
But GameFront isn’t dead. If you have been around here for a while, you know that GameFront used to be called FileFront, and we’ve been pretty damn good at providing awesome PC gaming files. We’re still doing that, and that’s not going to stop. You can still find all the PC gaming files you need right here, courtesy of our Community Manager, Jeff Mills, who will be staying on to maintain that database.
That said, let’s talk about the sad stuff.
For those of you who know me at all, you know that GameFront (and FileFront), has been my baby for years. I’ve held almost every job at the site, from managing the file database to running the entire site, and everything in between. For over a decade, I’ve been blessed to work with some amazing people, and to have the chance to build a site that I am super proud of.
I came to FileFront in 2004 as part of a decent sized editorial team. To be blunt, my work wasn’t that good. But I improved, and when the site was acquired by Ziff Davis in 2005, I was fortunate enough to stick around. In 2007, I was asked to help build an editorial presence on the site again, and thus was born Gaming Today, our news and features blog, and really, the forerunner of GameFront. When Ziff decided that they were closing FileFront down, our entire staff was laid off. Despite what some people still think, that was not an elaborate April Fool’s Day prank, as my unemployment status will attest.
Luckily, the site was saved at the 11th hour by its founder, Derek Labian. He brought a few people back on, and I was fortunate again to be one of those. We were acquired by Break Media in 2010, and we began to regrow the site. As part of that initiative, the site was re-branded to GameFront. At the end of 2013, Break merged with Alloy Digital, and under the auspices of the newly formed Defy Media, we were fortunate enough to get to work with the awesome folks at The Escapist, and more recently, Game Trailers. Unfortunately, all of that came to an abrupt end last week.
Through all of that, we somehow were lucky enough to have you – the readers. Despite drama, turmoil, and adversity, you all hung around here. We loved you for it. We loved reading your comments, streaming for you, and yes, even hearing your complaints. For writers, there is nothing better than feedback, good or bad. Feedback means people are reading your work, and there’s no higher praise than that.
What a long, strange trip it’s been.
While I can’t name everyone who’s been influential here over the years, mostly because I’d be here until Friday writing this, I do want to mention a few key people.
Former GameFront Senior Editor Phil Hornshaw is hands-down the best writer I have ever had the the privilege to work with. He’s a consummate journalist who always knows the right way to do things. He’s made me a better writer and a better journalist, and I cannot thank him enough for it.
GameFront Editor-in-Chief Janelle Bonanno has been an amazing leader for the year we were fortunate enough to have her. Her willingness to allow us to work outside the standard framework let us do some amazing, fun things. She made the site better simply by being awesome.
Our Video Producers, James Heaney and Mitchell Saltzman, took every bump in the road in stride, adapted, and just kept producing fun, hilarious content. Not only walkthroughs, but original shows as well, like The Minecraft Show, James vs. Games, The GameFront Gauntlet, and more. We started streaming on Twitch, and they knocked that out of the park, building an audience that logged nearly a million views on our channel.
Don’t forget the folks who labor quietly behind the scenes, either. Ryan Marsh, who’s diligently kept our file database updated; Jeff Mills, who’s managed our forums, network sites, and more; and Kevin Thielenhaus, the majordomo of cheats and walkthoughs – the guy who helped you find all those secrets and beat all those games.
There are a ton more people who deserve a mention here, but I simply can’t name them all. You know who they are, and they know who they are.
For me personally, I’m moving over to The Escapist. I hope you’ll be able to find my work over there, and that you’ll enjoy it as much as you have my GameFront stuff.
I’m privileged to have worked here as long as I did, with as many awesome people as I did. FileFront and GameFront have been part of my professional life for over a decade – almost 25% of my entire life – and it’s hard for me to believe that it’s gone.
I hope it meant as much to some of you as it did to me. Thanks for everything, and we’ll see you online.