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Introducing Hit Points, a newsletter about the game industry, by me


Nate Dogg III
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  • 3 weeks later...
2 hours ago, Nate Dogg III said:

Sorry for the bump! I really am! 

 

Now we're a few weeks in I'd like to know how people are getting on with it. Growth has naturally slowed since the first week, but all the graphs are still moving upwards, so I'm happy enough. Since not-E3 I've reduced the frequency to three times a week, which seems to be working nicely given the rather more leisurely pace of news. I'm after any and all feedback at this point, but some things I'm particularly interested in include:

 

-Is the cadence too frequent, not frequent enough, or about right?

-Is it too text-heavy? (A couple of people have suggested I add images, and embed tweets and YT videos etc, which I'm not sure about personally. It's an email)

-what does it do well, and not well enough? Is there anything you'd like to see more/less of?

-If you've not already taken out a subscription, what would it take for you to do so?

 

And, yes, any other thoughts - be that on content, structure, tone, terrible quality of jokes, etc - very much appreciated. Thank you!

 

Like tone, like cadence, please don't start using images, tweets, yt videos.

 

Subscription - it's actually a platform thing and I suspect you have no control over it. I seemed to have to enter my credit card details into substack, rather than using somewhere which I already trust with my details (e.g. paypal, apple pay) - and I tend to be hesitant when asked to do that.

I got far enough along in the process to find that out, but that doesn't help you much!

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4 hours ago, Nate Dogg III said:

Sorry for the bump! I really am! 

 

Now we're a few weeks in I'd like to know how people are getting on with it. Growth has naturally slowed since the first week, but all the graphs are still moving upwards, so I'm happy enough. Since not-E3 I've reduced the frequency to three times a week, which seems to be working nicely given the rather more leisurely pace of news. I'm after any and all feedback at this point, but some things I'm particularly interested in include:

 

-Is the cadence too frequent, not frequent enough, or about right?

-Is it too text-heavy? (A couple of people have suggested I add images, and embed tweets and YT videos etc, which I'm not sure about personally. It's an email)

-what does it do well, and not well enough? Is there anything you'd like to see more/less of?

-If you've not already taken out a subscription, what would it take for you to do so?

 

And, yes, any other thoughts - be that on content, structure, tone, terrible quality of jokes, etc - very much appreciated. Thank you!

I've not subscribed but have you thought about finding other ways to share it out? Even just a teaser here once or twice a year. I know i could go and subscribe right now, its easy right, just enter my email. But that hassle is the barrier for entry, especially for something i've not seen or been interested in. It's the same with my patreon, unless people are already on the patreon platform, getting them to sign up is the biggest barrier to entry and i feel thats what you are facing slightly. So please, share a single email on here as a post, and maybe some other places too and i think this would help. Same for subscribing, whats the benefits? Like im sure you know them inside out and why they are amazing but as someone quickly skim reading them the draw has to be massive. Again, on my patreon i offer exclusive merch, you cannot buy, that people do want. And yet the sign up barrier is so big it puts people off even for something they want.

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4 hours ago, footle said:

I seemed to have to enter my credit card details into substack, rather than using somewhere which I already trust with my details (e.g. paypal, apple pay) - and I tend to be hesitant when asked to do that.

 

First, thank you all for this. Really appreciate it.

 

The payment issue is annoying, and upsetting. Substack only accepts credit cards through Stripe, by the looks of it. I wonder whether they'll add more in over time but for the moment it's Stripe or nothing I'm afraid. They do seem pretty legit, though I understand the reticence.

 

2 hours ago, K said:

The cadence threw me off a bit at first, as the change and the irregular schedule since then has occasionally surprised me when it appears in my inbox.

 

This bugs me too. I really like the flexibility of three days a week — particularly while this is still young and only bringing in a few hundred quid a month, and I need to chase down consulting gigs and stuff to keep the children in shoes. But as I think I've already said, I want this to be something people maybe actually look forward to receiving, but that's not going to happen unless they know when they'll be receiving it. (I had a couple of mock-grumpy texts this week asking where Monday's was, for example.) It's difficult, honestly. I figured I'd fix it to Monday, Wednesday, Friday — but then this week the 3yo was off sick on Monday, so I pushed that to Tuesday, and then the PlayStation stuff yesterday felt so important and under-discussed that I thought, you know, why wait? So yes, hmm and argh. 

 

2 hours ago, Ketchup said:

I've not subscribed but have you thought about finding other ways to share it out? Even just a teaser here once or twice a year. I know i could go and subscribe right now, its easy right, just enter my email. But that hassle is the barrier for entry, especially for something i've not seen or been interested in. It's the same with my patreon, unless people are already on the patreon platform, getting them to sign up is the biggest barrier to entry and i feel thats what you are facing slightly. So please, share a single email on here as a post, and maybe some other places too and i think this would help. Same for subscribing, whats the benefits? Like im sure you know them inside out and why they are amazing but as someone quickly skim reading them the draw has to be massive. Again, on my patreon i offer exclusive merch, you cannot buy, that people do want. And yet the sign up barrier is so big it puts people off even for something they want.

 

The sharing thing is an interesting point I hadn't considered. The vast majority of my readers have come from Twitter, which makes sense because it trains people to click on stuff that interests them. LinkedIn's been useless (possibly my fault because I don't understand it, and hate what little I do understand) and I haven't even bothered with Facebook. I've had a couple of offers to syndicate the occasional edition on established websites that I'm chewing over. Feels a bit off to me but I'm considering it. Honestly I'd feel a bit of a fanny just copy-pasting something that's a couple of clicks away. 

 

There are literally no benefits to being a paid sub at the moment, it's simply a way to support it if you like it. At this stage it's really just about seeing the extent to which people are prepared to pay for good words on the internet. In the nearish future some things will go behind the paywall, but I'm still feeling my way around that. 

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miss you in Edge my good man, was reading a few issues ago and had to check the contributors as it felt like you had done a guest spot which was right.

 

Subscribed and best of luck with this.

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I'm enjoying it, when it drops in my inbox I tend to stop what I'm doing and read it immediately. Your righting style is lovely and I think the tone is spot-on, and so far the subjects have been interesting. It's saving me from having to visit gaming news websites so that's appreciated. 

 

It did surprise me when it didn't show up a couple of times just because of the change of pace. To be honest I'm happy for it to show up whenever it shows up. 

 

Keep it as text as well, it's nice to read stuff. 

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So far I'm enjoying it although it definitely works best on a semi frequent basis rather than every day. I want to read what you say when you have something to say, not just because you've committed yourself to X emails per week. 

 

I would definitely move your 'talking points' to the start and then have your editorial content below. 

 

As for the subscription. Its, what, $65 a year? Basically a physical sub to Edge or Retro Gamer. Only you know the economics, and it depends on who you want to target, but for your average Rllmuk user, who doesn't work in the industry but enjoys reading about games, I'd definitely subscribe for $10-20 a year but would have to ponder any more than that. 

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1 hour ago, Nate Dogg III said:

 

There are literally no benefits to being a paid sub at the moment, it's simply a way to support it if you like it. At this stage it's really just about seeing the extent to which people are prepared to pay for good words on the internet. In the nearish future some things will go behind the paywall, but I'm still feeling my way around that. 

Whilst this does work you’re probably looking at close to 1% of visitors actually doing that. I’d follow the podcast model of the main thing is free but if you sub you get extra things. You never want to lock your main content away but people feel happier subbing if they get something extra, even if they are doing it just to support you, the extra stuff sweetens it. Is there a reason you’ve not got the Patreon route?

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26 minutes ago, Ketchup said:

Whilst this does work you’re probably looking at close to 1% of visitors actually doing that. I’d follow the podcast model of the main thing is free but if you sub you get extra things. You never want to lock your main content away but people feel happier subbing if they get something extra, even if they are doing it just to support you, the extra stuff sweetens it. Is there a reason you’ve not got the Patreon route?


If you use the Substack platform you have to use Substack for payments, and the platform is perfect for what I want to do. It’s still very early for games on Substack so I saw an opportunity there. 

 

You’re absolutely right about the podcast model, if that’s what it’s called. It’s definitely where I want to take it eventually, but equally I didn’t want to commit to doing interviews and working on longer-form stuff until I knew people were actually willing to pay for it. Starting to think about it now though. 
 

Conversion rate is a little over 5% at the mo, which I think is very good given there’s no incentives. Well on the way. 

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I’m really enjoying it. I don’t keep track of the days when it lands - I read on the train on the way home from work, so it could be 3 days a week spread across any days and it wouldn’t bother me - but 3 days is definitely about right. Not over-saturated, not under-stimulated. Maybe if there was something particularly juicy happening of a week, you’d want to pen something, and people would want to read it, so you’d do a bonus issue, or something. 
 

I enjoy the style, the insights and consideration that goes into the writing. I don’t think videos or images would add to that enjoyment. 
 

It’s a real pleasure to open Mail and see ‘Hit Points by Nathan Brown’ appear. 

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20 hours ago, footle said:

 

Like tone, like cadence, please don't start using images, tweets, yt videos.

 

Subscription - it's actually a platform thing and I suspect you have no control over it. I seemed to have to enter my credit card details into substack, rather than using somewhere which I already trust with my details (e.g. paypal, apple pay) - and I tend to be hesitant when asked to do that.

I got far enough along in the process to find that out, but that doesn't help you much!


By the way, I’ve just subscribed and was able to pay with Apple Pay. My card details are also stored in Substack, but I don’t remember adding them (maybe they’re pulled in from Apple Pay?). I’m not sure of the vagaries of how the platform handles payments (they haven't charged my card yet, for example), but it looks like they’ve lowered the barrier to entry enough that you don’t to need to type in your card details. 

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I really like it. Although my newsletter experience extends to The Fiver and nothing else. I like the tone - insider but not snobbish, amusing but not try-hard - and I'll happily keep reading it. 

 

FWIW I also disagree with the suggestions for padding it out with images, videos etc. 

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1 hour ago, Popo said:


By the way, I’ve just subscribed and was able to pay with Apple Pay. My card details are also stored in Substack, but I don’t remember adding them (maybe they’re pulled in from Apple Pay?). I’m not sure of the vagaries of how the platform handles payments (they haven't charged my card yet, for example), but it looks like they’ve lowered the barrier to entry enough that you don’t to need to type in your card details. 

There is a possibility that I’ve only tried on my iPad, and that doesn’t have Apple Pay configured. Will try on my phone, but I don’t see a logo.

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A thousand thanks to you all once again. Especially @Popo for both subscribing and maybe helping @footle to as well, haha. 

 

1 hour ago, Yobo Ahoy said:

I really like it. Although my newsletter experience extends to The Fiver and nothing else. I like the tone - insider but not snobbish, amusing but not try-hard - and I'll happily keep reading it. 

 

FWIW I also disagree with the suggestions for padding it out with images, videos etc. 

 

There is a note on my phone from February that says, simply, 'Edge does The Fiver'. Main story then news in brief, funny yet insightful, its own house style etc etc. Just a very good format.

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2 minutes ago, footle said:

There is a possibility that I’ve only tried on my iPad, and that doesn’t have Apple Pay configured. Will try on my phone, but I don’t see a logo.

Done 🙂

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I’ve also subscribed. I quite like the idea of a well written article emailed to me a few times a week. Sometimes I don’t want to pore over a mountain of other content to find something to read. I like the text format as well, keeps it simple. It pisses me off on news sites when there’s an ad or a streaming video after every paragraph mingled in with images relevant to the article.

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  • 2 months later...

Hey someone bumped this and it wasn’t me! That’s the stuff. While we’re here, can I please ask for your feedback once again. How am I doing?
 

@footle Good point. I assume game services are still considered separate from reader apps and are still bound by the rule changes Apple introduced last year. 
 

Quote

…the new rules show that each and every game must also be downloadable “directly from the App Store,” and every game update must be submitted to Apple individually before a company could stream it to users. That means that Microsoft or Google can’t build a single, overarching xCloud or Stadia app that contains access to all the games.
 

[…]
 

Microsoft and Google would have to radically change their proposed business models and jump through many hoops to get their cloud gaming services onto the iPhone this way, though — there are enough hoops it almost feels like Apple designed the rules so it could seem benevolent while still keeping xCloud and Stadia out.

 

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1 hour ago, Nate Dogg III said:

Hey someone bumped this and it wasn’t me! That’s the stuff. While we’re here, can I please ask for your feedback once again. How am I doing?


I’m really enjoying this - I think the shift away from every day makes me more excited to read it when I see it appears, and  it feels like it’s getting into its stride more in terms of balance of content and tone. Definitely become one of the few email newsletters I like to read as soon as I see it (the other is the Politico London Playbook). 
 

I do mean to subscribe but the couple of times I’ve tried to do so via Substack I’ve had issues. I don’t know if I have an account or not and just need some time to sort it out. 

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@Nate Dogg III finally hit the pay button yesterday, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying these landing. You seem to have hit the timing nicely as they always surprise me, and seem to hit just as I’m wrapping up work so typically don’t sit in my inbox for long. 

The UX for signing up for the premium tier isn’t super intuitive - I looked a few days ago but it just showed me a sign up form and I was a bit “I’ve already signed up, where do I pay?”. Not sure if that can be signposted a little better

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1 minute ago, Nate Dogg III said:

Thanks @spanx and @Bushtopher, very kind of you. Sorry to hear about the subscriber flow, I haven't really looked at it since I set it all up. I believe Substack automates it but lemme see what kind of control I have over it. Obviously want this to be as friction-free as possible, it's sorta the point of the whole thing.


Yeah, my experience was similar to @spanx
 

If there’s any way to accept Patreon as an alternative that would be a good thing to offer - but perhaps not helpful/possible if you’re planning to do supporter exclusive content via Substack. 

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I really enjoy these as well and find it all very enjoyable, informative and relatable, particularly the kids! 

 

Must take a look at subscribing properly really, be rude not to. 

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