15 years ago, I joined a small team working on what, to me, was a very exciting project - a website for European gamers! Having grown up hanging on every word printed in Japanophile SNES magazine Super Play, before falling for those tinkerer poets at PC Gamer as my tastes progressed, the idea of building a new games publication, one through which I could explore my passion for games in my own words, was irresistible.
15 years later, I look around and it's no longer five of us in my boss's parents' garage conversion. Eurogamer is now one of the biggest gaming sites in Europe, staffed by a dozen full-time writers and proud to publish work by a diverse range of incredibly talented contributors. Not only that, but Eurogamer's success has allowed the company founded around it to do a great many other things - to create partnerships that bring local editions of Eurogamer to countries all across Europe, to establish other great websites like GamesIndustry.biz and USgamer.net, and to build fantastic events like EGX and EGX Rezzed.
I feel a tremendous sense of pride to have worked here for pretty much Eurogamer's entire life - the first eight years as deputy editor, the last seven as editor-in-chief - and to have helped create livelihoods for so many talented people. But now I feel as though the time is right for a change. So it's with a heavy heart that I have to announce that I am leaving Eurogamer - and Gamer Network - at the end of November to see what else there is out there in the world for me to do with my time.
The good news (or "the other good news", perhaps) is that I'm leaving the site in very capable hands. Oli Welsh is the new editor of Eurogamer, effective today, and he will be supported by the site's new deputy editor, Wesley Yin-Poole. I have worked with Oli and Wes for many years and I know they will do a brilliant job of taking Eurogamer forward into a new era. Having worked on it for so long, I am truly excited to see how the site evolves to reflect the things they love (driving and fighting games respectively, but don't let them get carried away), and I look forward to spending the next three months helping them find their feet before I disappear. In the meantime, I hope you'll join me in congratulating them on their new positions.
For my part, I'd like to say thank you to every Eurogamer reader, whether you have been following my gibberish since day one or have only discovered the site recently. It saddens me that today's announcement is set against a backdrop of great anger among critics and gamers over "GamerGate", and although the timing is entirely coincidental (I've actually been discussing this move since early summer), it feels apt to point out that I entered games journalism because I felt like a social outcast; that the main thing which gave me a sense of comfort and belonging was being a gamer. That's still true today. Even as gaming has become a less remarkable pastime in wider society, the innate sense of community that comes with a deep love of this artform has remained central to my life, and working for Eurogamer has allowed me to keep that close. You haven't just read my work, you've given me an identity, and I will never be able to thank you enough for that.
For what it's worth, I have always tried to steer Eurogamer in a direction that keeps it interesting for you. I always asked our writers to step back from issues and look for the bigger picture rather than pressing their faces up against the glass. I hired people who I thought would find and tell you interesting stories and then tried to give them license to go look for them, even when it was risky or expensive. I tried to understand and respond proportionately to new media fads - like the present craze I like to call 'howandwhynalism' - by encouraging the team to use the evolving tools of our trade responsibly and place more value on your long-term trust than short-term traffic gains. I always protected my writers, contributors and sources.
I also tried to make Eurogamer a better site as my own values evolved or hardened. A couple of years ago, that meant establishing a more clearly defined and transparent ethics code. Lately it has also meant trying to make Eurogamer a more inclusive place. I knew that doing these things would open me up to accusations of hypocrisy - I used to enjoy hospitality from the people we write about because I didn't know any better, while it took me many years to realise that I wasn't taking the way women in gaming were treated seriously enough - but anyone who knows me will attest that I cannot restrain myself when I feel something has become imperative, so I went ahead and did what I thought was best to correct those problems. I know that Oli also cares about these issues a great deal and will continue to fight for them in his own way.
More than anything, though, I tried to stand up for you in our work while also celebrating the art and business of making games whenever I thought it deserved respect, and I did my best to make Eurogamer a place where we talk about playing games a lot, not just what's coming next. I know I didn't always get everything right, but I always did things honestly and tried to be transparent about any mistakes as I sought to make up for them.
Finally, I'd like to add a huge thank you to all my colleagues, past and present. To John Bye, who liked my work enough many years ago to recommend me to his new employers. To Rupert and Nick Loman, who gave me the job and have supported me so much ever since. To Kristan Reed, who was a great colleague and has always been an even better friend. To Ellie Gibson, Pat Garratt, Mark Kennedy, Martin Taylor and many other members of my original Eurogamer family. And to the good friends I continue to work with today.
Eurogamer was 15 years old last week, which is only a little younger than I was when I first got involved in it. I have no idea what it will be like when it reaches the age I am now, but I look forward to reading it for many years to come. Thanks everyone.
Oli Welsh writes: It's a cliché to say that a departing predecessor leaves big shoes to fill (although you should see Tom's feet, they're massive). In this case, it's not only true - it hardly covers it. Tom has been with the site almost since its inception, has led it editorially for almost half its life, and his voice as a reporter, critic and commentator is inextricably linked with it. Tom is Eurogamer. At the end of November, that will cease to be true - but part of Eurogamer will always be Tom.
As I succeed Tom as editor, that makes my job very daunting in one sense and quite easy in another. Tom's values are deeply embedded in the site and all of us on the team share them and will carry them forward instinctively - because we helped shape them and they've become second nature to us.
With six and a half years working for Eurogamer under my belt, I'm a relative newbie, but it's been my privilege to work closely with Tom on the direction of the site for much of that time. We have different perspectives, different backgrounds - Tom came to games journalism as a career shockingly early, I came to it a little late; he's online to the core, I started in print - but there isn't a single aspect of what we do that we haven't discussed exhaustively over the years, and I like to think we've learned a lot from each other. I certainly can't begin to calculate what I've learned from him.
What that means for you is that, while some things about Eurogamer may change in future - the look, the voices, the approaches we take, the stories we tell - what Eurogamer stands for won't change. Passion for games. Passion for writing. Holding the industry and art of video games to high standards. Holding ourselves to higher standards still.
On a personal level, I'll be deeply sad to see Tom go. But I'm honoured to succeed him as editor of Eurogamer, I'm looking forward to three more months working by his side, and I'm beyond excited to see what I can achieve with the rest of our brilliant team in the future. As a mutual, fictional hero of Tom's and mine would say: "What's next?"