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


Nate Dogg III
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Probably me being dim but I couldn’t see how to give you money. (I actually only wanted to see how much you were charging but then wanted to solve the puzzle about how I could). I note my other substack subscription offers a big subscribe button on paid posts but yours doesn’t (I was a paid subscriber to that other one at one point). 
 

iOS Safari possibly with Adblock but chrome seemed similar. 
 

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*edit* same on macOS Safari

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9 minutes ago, Graham S said:

Probably me being dim but I couldn’t see how to give you money. (I actually only wanted to see how much you were charging but then wanted to solve the puzzle about how I could). I note my other substack subscription offers a big subscribe button on paid posts but yours doesn’t (I was a paid subscriber to that other one at one point). 
 

iOS Safari possibly with Adblock but chrome seemed similar. 
 

F2161199-F1A9-4C2A-8457-AD7FF2BD767D.thumb.jpeg.e92eb2c9b5c588730e7adb141711c0f1.jpegE8E717C6-C1BE-48B7-B1E3-51A6C1707206.thumb.jpeg.dcbb6b20cc419b0f862a6b7c64d93a87.jpeg


I assume that’s because I turned off billing over Christmas, to ensure no monthly subs got billed while I was sat on my arse watching films and drinking. I’ll pop a post in here when I’ve turned it back on. Please don’t have a change of heart in the meantime!

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On 12/01/2022 at 20:40, Graham S said:

Probably me being dim but I couldn’t see how to give you money. (I actually only wanted to see how much you were charging but then wanted to solve the puzzle about how I could). I note my other substack subscription offers a big subscribe button on paid posts but yours doesn’t (I was a paid subscriber to that other one at one point). 
 

iOS Safari possibly with Adblock but chrome seemed similar. 
 

F2161199-F1A9-4C2A-8457-AD7FF2BD767D.thumb.jpeg.e92eb2c9b5c588730e7adb141711c0f1.jpegE8E717C6-C1BE-48B7-B1E3-51A6C1707206.thumb.jpeg.dcbb6b20cc419b0f862a6b7c64d93a87.jpeg

 

*edit* same on macOS Safari


Billing is back on! You may now balk at the price, like many before you. 
 

Thanks for the kind words, pals. Nice to be back but I’m a little rusty, will take me a few editions to get back up to speed. 

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Really enjoyed today's Hit Points, especially the Bungie/Phil Spencer anecdote. In fact I noticed today that when I went into my inbox to do something else I saw your email and, "oooh, another Hit Points" - I went straight to reading that, so I've stumped up for a paid sub. :)

 

Now then ... what the fuck did I actually go into my inbox to do in the first place? :lol:

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Quote

Toshihiro Nagoshi has announced the formation of his new NetEase studio, as rumoured a while back. Flanked by various Sega alumni, he says the outfit will be built on “discussions that ignore seniority and hierarchy”, a noble goal rather undermined by it being called Nagoshi Studio. 

 

:lol::lol::lol:
 

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I've been thinking about yesterday's newsletter, and I'm not sure I completely agree. I understand the ownership aspect of subscriptions vs outright purchases (although, even the latter are often through digital stores these days, sometimes with DRM which limits "ownership") but I think the Spotify discussion slightly conflated platform and subscription. There are lots of subscription services that are atomic - you know what you're getting in for, you know what you'll lose when you stop. Where Spotify have been very clever is opening up their services as a platform, integrating with everything they can. 

 

Currently, Game Pass is atomic. While you sub you have games, when you don't you don't. The means by which it can integrate feels more limited to me. It'll eventually be on smart TVs, but if you don't sub then I guess you have an app you can no longer use/can uninstall. If they make a dedicated xCloud streaming stick and you no longer sub to GP, well, you know. 

 

I think a lot of subscriptions are generally this. There are easy examples where you do very much lose something - stop your 365 sub and how are you going to open your existing Word docs? There are ways around it, but they potentially mirror the Spotify exodus discussion where you're needing conversion tools or new purchases (maybe a standalone office license), etc. 

 

Are there ways Game Pass could become more pervasive, like Spotify, where ending your sub has consequences beyond the expected? I'm trying to think examples. Maybe Microsoft eventually ditch purchases and go sub-only, making hardware defunct without it? Feels like a big stretch for the not-market leader. Anything else?

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19 hours ago, TehStu said:

I've been thinking about yesterday's newsletter, and I'm not sure I completely agree. I understand the ownership aspect of subscriptions vs outright purchases (although, even the latter are often through digital stores these days, sometimes with DRM which limits "ownership") but I think the Spotify discussion slightly conflated platform and subscription. There are lots of subscription services that are atomic - you know what you're getting in for, you know what you'll lose when you stop. Where Spotify have been very clever is opening up their services as a platform, integrating with everything they can. 

 

Currently, Game Pass is atomic. While you sub you have games, when you don't you don't. The means by which it can integrate feels more limited to me. It'll eventually be on smart TVs, but if you don't sub then I guess you have an app you can no longer use/can uninstall. If they make a dedicated xCloud streaming stick and you no longer sub to GP, well, you know. 

 

I think a lot of subscriptions are generally this. There are easy examples where you do very much lose something - stop your 365 sub and how are you going to open your existing Word docs? There are ways around it, but they potentially mirror the Spotify exodus discussion where you're needing conversion tools or new purchases (maybe a standalone office license), etc. 

 

Are there ways Game Pass could become more pervasive, like Spotify, where ending your sub has consequences beyond the expected? I'm trying to think examples. Maybe Microsoft eventually ditch purchases and go sub-only, making hardware defunct without it? Feels like a big stretch for the not-market leader. Anything else?

 

That's all totally fair. I wasn't necessarily trying to draw a straight line between the two, just pointing out how the Spotify experience had made me a bit more wary about subscriptions in general, whether they're atomic now or not, whether they will be in future or not. Clearly Microsoft's ambitions for Game Pass extend well beyond the confines of a living-room console. I'm not smart enough to see how those endeavours might impact on the rhythm of my daily life a decade or two down the line, sure, but there's nothing wrong with being a bit more mindful of this stuff while we wait to find out.

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3 hours ago, Nate Dogg III said:

 

That's all totally fair. I wasn't necessarily trying to draw a straight line between the two, just pointing out how the Spotify experience had made me a bit more wary about subscriptions in general, whether they're atomic now or not, whether they will be in future or not. Clearly Microsoft's ambitions for Game Pass extend well beyond the confines of a living-room console. I'm not smart enough to see how those endeavours might impact on the rhythm of my daily life a decade or two down the line, sure, but there's nothing wrong with being a bit more mindful of this stuff while we wait to find out.

Oh absolutely, and that makes total sense. Enjoying the newsletter by the way! I somehow managed to miss it was a thing until the Activision announcement.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Another good one today! @Nate Dogg III while I agree with your assesment of Atsushi Inaba's comment boiling down to "come and get me!" I'm not so sure I see Yves Guillemot's comment the same way - to me that's more him appeasing the shareholders who's eyes have been lit up by the multi billion dollar figures flying around from these acquisitions. It'll be interesting to see how it all shakes out in the long run.

 

Loved the news about Bobby Kotick too, always good to read about how much a of a twat that twat is.

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  • 4 weeks later...

@Nate Dogg III, I'll mention a similar endeavour which is based on the more salacious side of sport called the Upshot, it's a bit like the PopBitch email but for sport.

 

They've been quite clever I think with the approach, similar thing with a free email on Friday for anybody and 2 paid editions on Mon & Weds for 'gold' subscribers. What he's done though is create some scarcity by shutting down the ability to sign up, but then refer to things that have been in the gold only emails on the Friday free edition.

 

The window to sub to gold has been shut for 4 months and he's now opening it for 1 week before closing it again. 

 

It's a brave and fairy transparent tactic but may help create some pent up demand and spur people into action as it's not something they can always just do tomorrow. 

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Oh god the discourse…

 

Quote

I think of it many times because in traditional games, we are obsessed with making sure that the audience knows where they are, plus why they are there, and we dedicate an enormous amount of time to making sure that they feel successful quickly, or else, we assume, they will lose interest.


(Finished)

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20 hours ago, Gotters said:

shows how hard it is as I'm exactly the opposite - read the Upshot as soon as it lands and felt for 4 months I'm missing out on the other editions so just signed up !

 

Yes, that does show rather handily the sort of issues I'm having thinking about this stuff. Obviously it's still a bit of a wild west so I'm just going on what feels right rather than following any guidance. And everyone's different!

 

12 hours ago, footle said:

This made me buy a management book. 24% of the way in and don’t regret it.

 

Ha, that was emphatically not the lesson I expected readers to take from Saturday's post! Needless to say, you have my full support.

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  • 3 weeks later...

“I'm far more interested in building a relationship with people through their email inbox, and relying on them to share it to help it grow, than I am in trying to please the algorithms.” 

I loved this. 

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