#167: Game, set, match

A loss, a win, and a look ahead to next week's 2022 wrap-up.

Sorry for the silence this week, chums. I’ve spent most of it working on the Hit Points end-of-year celebrations — more on that shortly — but I also had some sad news the other day that slowed my progress even further.

An old schoolfriend died suddenly last week. I got him into Pavement, he got me into basketball, and we whiled away many a fine summer afternoon playing Super Tennis on the SNES. (I fired up the Switch Online version for a screenshot earlier, and as soon as that Mode 7 intro struck up I was transported back to his teenage bedroom.) He was kind and thoughtful, quiet and deadpan hilarious. For several years his only social-media activity was a quarterly reminder to everyone to change their central air filters. Now he’s gone.

So long, Eric. Miss you.

If there’s someone like Eric in your life — an old gaming-and-other-stuff buddy you used to hang out with a lot, who you always remember fondly but haven’t spoken to in a while — perhaps you could drop them a line to say hi. You never know when you won’t be able to do it anymore, and I can tell you that it sucks. It properly fucking sucks.

Right. Sorry. On with the show.

It’s been a quiet week in games; with The Game Awards out of the way the industry is shutting up shop for the year, tidying away its game projects, acquisition targets, lawsuits and interminable discourse like the accountancy-rats in The Muppet Christmas Carol. Hit Points would love to be doing the same, but has a few things to get off its desk first.

First, I thought you might like an update on how things are going. I’ll spare you the emotional deep dive this time around — I think I’ve done enough of that already today, and we’re only 200 words in — and just get on with it. So! Look how far we’ve come this year:

  • At 12.01am on January 1, Hit Points had 1,307 readers, of whom 114 were paid subs.
  • As of 8.30am on December 16, Hit Points has 4,673 readers, of whom 311 are paid.

If I may, for the final time in 2022: fuck about.

Obviously we are, in the grand scheme of things, still dealing with small numbers here. Websites count their audience in millions, while other former journalists with far bigger online profiles than me have gone independent and made hundreds of thousands off Patreon overnight. This is still some way off earning me a living: revenue at the moment is a little over $18k a year. We have a long way to go, you and I.

But the direction of travel is incredibly encouraging. The switch to a paid-first model has exceeded expectations; Hit Points has amassed almost 100 new paid subs since the change came in at the end of September. I set myself what I thought were some pretty ambitious targets for the end of the year, and we smashed them with weeks to spare. The curves are getting steeper! Behold the Hit Points Happiness Index:

Most importantly of all, I am enjoying the work more than ever. I have had to tighten my belt this Christmas, sure, but I have done so with a smile on my face. Thank you all so much for your support.

Let us turn, then, to Hit Points’ end-of-year shenanigans. Five editions will be coming down the pipe next week, daily Monday through Friday — like a sort of slimmed-down advent calendar, with game-industry snark and dad jokes inside instead of chocolate.

I shan’t spoil their contents in advance. I like to think that one of Hit Points’ secret weapons is that, when a new edition hits your inbox, you have no idea what’s inside — like the new issue of a beloved magazine thunking onto your doormat. But there’s some lovely stuff in here, he said with typical modesty: retrospectives on the year; a look ahead to 2023; and a pass-the-mic session with paid subscribers sharing their own highlights of 2022.

In keeping with Hit Points’ newish subs-first model, paid subscribers will receive the lion’s share of next week’s #content (though lovely free folks will get a generous preview of some of them). If you want to ensure you receive them all, now’s the time to join the crew.

Over the course of 85 editions of Hit Points — not counting today’s, because I am still writing it — I have somehow written 153,806 words about the state of the videogame industry in 2022. I am biased, of course, but I reckon that is well worth paying £4 a month to support. Heck, it works out at 0.03 pence per word. Even Future pays better than that, just.

So why not join us, eh? It’s Christmas. Treat yourself (and me).


Another quiet one — no problem! It’s Christmas! I get it! — but here’s a comment that made me chuckle, and ‘tis the season for such frivolity.

  • “The Hit Points The Game Awards Awards are incredibly kind and generous,” writes Seán Lynch in response to last week’s edition about Geoff Keighley’s latest shindig. “I don't think the Crime Boss team could wish for a better prize than seeing Michael Madsen and Vanilla Ice described as being part of an 'all-star' cast.” Ha, yes, very good. Kim Basinger, though? She has to count for something.


  • Amazon is to publish the next Tomb Raider from Crystal Dynamics. I thought this was a bit weird at first — Crystal is now owned by Embracer, which has plenty of publishers under its ever-growing umbrella — but then I remembered what a disaster Amazon’s move into games has been, and how disappointing (and perhaps embarrassing) the Saint’s Row reboot was for Embracer. Both parties are in need of a big win, a statement of intent. Amazon’s infinite resources can, in theory at least, help that happen.
  • In fun regulation news, a European Parliament committee has called for better consumer protections in games released in the EU. It wants developers to “avoid addiction-feeding design and take into account the age, rights and vulnerabilities of children.” Elsewhere, German ratings board USK is to begin factoring “possible online risks”, including chat, loot boxes and in-game purchases, into its age ratings.
  • The least surprising development of the week is the news that CD Projekt’s long-in-the-making next-gen upgrade for The Witcher III is in a bit of a state. Gang. You really needed to nail this one out of the gate.
  • Warcraft legend Chris Metzen has returned to Blizzard, six years after he announced his retirement. Metzen had been at Blizzard for 23 years, and worked on the original Warcraft in 1994; he will now serve as a creative advisor to Blizzard’s Warcraft Leadership Team, focusing on WOW at first before shifting his beady gaze to other projects. In a statement, he apologised for “the part I played in a culture that fostered harassment, inequality, and indifference" at Blizzard back in the day.
  • A little flurry of adaptation-related news this week. There’s a Death Stranding movie, because of course there is; Amazon’s God Of War series is go; and Henry Cavill has stopped licking his wounds after losing his Superman and Witcher gigs by making a Warhammer 40K show, again for Amazon. I will watch precisely none of them, but you can’t deny this is a growing trend. Get me a Netflix Gitaroo Man adaptation and we’ll talk.
  • A quick shout out to Hit Points chum Matthew Reynolds, who is leaving Eurogamer after approximately 300 years [subs please check]. All the best with whatever’s next, old stick! One might dispute the news value of this item, but it’s a quiet day and Hit Points likes to look out for its own, so shut it.

Ahh, there we go. Sorry for the maudlin stuff up top, but writing it has helped. Here’s hoping we don’t have to do it too often.

This is the last ‘regular’ edition of Hit Points in 2022. Both MAILBAG and MORE are already on the sofa with a brandy and a mince pie, watching Die Hard and arguing over whose turn it is to put a log on the fire. I have a few thousand words left to write and I shall be joining them.

Have a wonderful Christmas if you celebrate it, and a very happy New Year to you all (with the same caveat). Thank you so much for joining me on this strange, possibly a bit misguided, and frequently overwritten journey. I look forward to us doing it all over again when Hit Points returns in the week of January 9, 2023. Lots of love!