Today it is hard not to think of how the time has flown. 17 years ago, Unreal Tournament was unleashed on the world beginning a new age of multiplayer gaming. It's not that multiplayer games didn't exist before 1999. They absolutely did. But in 1999, games went from including multiplayer as an afterthought because it was complicated to configure and use to being a primary focus and the selling point of many games. Sure, Unreal and Half Life had fairly simple to use multiplayer. But neither of those games were sold using their multiplayer component as the primary focus of gaming.
Modern gaming owes a lot to UT and Quake 3. Today, more games than ever are sold as multiplayer games with a single player component as opposed to vice versa. These two games proved that the model could work and it did.
Along with that, an amazing community formed to learn and play the game together. When PlanetUnreal launched in 1999, it was one of a small cadre of Planet sites that joined the Gamespy network. To emphasize how the landscape has changed, Gamespy is gone having been through multiple owners and now essentially run as an archive of those many years of gaming coverage. PlanetUnreal hasn't been updated since May 2011. PlanetQuake redirects to IGN. The vast majority of video game community sites have been swallowed up by a few massive players. Most independent sites have moved to Youtube and Twitch where readers and viewers tend to go for their game news today. Even the concept of a "game forum" has begun to be an outdated form of engaging and communicating about our favorite games.
17 years ago it was a fantasy to try to share a video clip of a game you were playing.
As most of our community is probably aware, this has left BeyondUnreal in a kind of odd place. Our last news post was almost an entire year ago and we only had maybe a dozen posts in all of 2015. We have done very little in 2016. For the foreseeable future, the front page will struggle as the remaining BU team is small and the number of games to cover keeps rising exponentially.
When I took over BeyondUnreal, I told myself that I would keep the site running as long as I was capable of doing so. Today, that has not changed. I plan to continue running the site and the forums indefinitely. There is a cost associated with this, and in the next few weeks or months I plan to offer a way to donate to help me keep the site running. Donations would only be used to maintain the site and make upgrades that will allow me to bring more of our hosted sites online. Many of these sites are very old and have security flaws or general inefficiencies that make them difficult to run on the hardware that BeyondUnreal is currently using but I have all the data and I plan to bring them online as time, money, and motivation align. Personally, I feel like it is important to keep the site running and providing the history that we built over the last nearly two decades.
I want to close with a very big and healthy THANK YOU to our community over the past 17 years. You have been my friends (sometimes frenemies, yes I just said that), people I gamed with and formed opinions through, people that helped to shape who I am today and I am forever grateful for your participation on this site and in my life. It really has been an amazing ride and I couldn't have done it without the help and support of so many people. Really, thank you so much!
And here's to another 17 years of BeyondUnreal!
P.S.: If you are one of these new fangled technology people, we have an official Discord server and all are welcome to join.