Hey! It’s a Long Overdue Channel Update

Hey! It’s a Long Overdue Channel Update


Hey! I figured that since it’s been about two
and a half years since I last posted an update video to the channel (which is absolutely
wild to think about, it feels like yesterday and we’ve passed 100k subs since then) it’d probably be good to let you all know
where things are at. I’ve still got a couple more videos coming
before the end of the year but looking back on it, 2019, well… It’s hard to articulate because it’s been
an immensely stressful year at times for sure, there have definitely been questions of can
I keep doing this, but looking back on it all from the tail-end, I feel like I’ve
started to move in a much more positive direction with everything, both creatively and personally. I’ve made some changes to my workflow so
that my entire life isn’t being consumed by the videos and, honestly, I think this
year has spawned a lot of the work I’m most proud of in my now almost half-decade doing this. When I think about why that is, I guess it
largely comes from a growing desire to move away from anything too algorithm-related. You can pursue that stuff as much as you want
but, just going by my own experience… you know, I made that Star Citizen video earlier
this year based solely on personal curiosity; I certainly didn’t expect it to become the
second most popular video on the channel. Similarly, there have been videos where the
viewership expectations aren’t met; it never matters because as I say I’m proud of the
work, it’s just evidence of the fact that, for me anyway, it’s almost impossible to
accurately predict what will hit vs what won’t, so it seems pretty pointless to burn yourself
out ruthlessly chasing down this algorithmic beast that ultimately we know very little
about. I still cover more recent titles of course,
but usually my pieces hit at least a good fortnight or so after people have stopped
talking about them, so it’s really just down to the fact that I like playing and talking
about more recent stuff sometimes. I’ve also been able to spend a whole lot
of time talking about various Yakuza titles or write about the most generic-looking or
broken games and talk about the things that make them weird and unintentionally interesting;
stuff that if I was mandated to adhere to the whims of the algorithm, wouldn’t be
possible. It’s all coming from that hope that people
might be able to find something to like about the videos even if they have no interest in
playing the games being covered. It’s all led to me developing this mindset
where, perhaps counter to the way YouTube is supposed to work, what the platform drills
into you, I’m really not interested in “growing the channel” in the traditional sense—I’m
not bothered about getting a million subs or views on every video or whatever, I’m
not equipped to be a Personality like that. I just like doing what I’m doing, I like
the fact that this is still a pretty niche area of video creation. Again and, above all, I just care about whether
or not the work is good. That feels like a healthy, freeing way to
live my life—trying to focus as little on the analytics and all that stuff as possible. But I’m not gonna lie, it’s also been
difficult balancing that mindset with the fact that, as I outlined in the Dangerous
Driving video earlier this year, personal growth and YouTube sustainability are two
very different things it would seem. By keeping a bit of distance
and focusing more on trying to find an effective work/life balance so I’m not spending 60
hours a week on video work as I was before, it does become a lot harder to maintain the
necessary numbers to keep things ticking over. And it sucks because I really hate talking
money (it’s why I made the previous update videos private)—but while no one is doing
this to become rich by any means, you know, this stuff still takes a lot of time and work
and, well, I’ve got to eat at the end of the day. And with that in mind, I can’t tell you
how much the sponsorships over the last few months have helped—they came at just the
right time. I know some people find them irritating, that
they feel it breaks up the content or people are “selling out”, but please just know
that they’ve been a big part of allowing me to keep going. It’s the same with every other creator I’ve
spoken to doing sponsorships in this sphere—no one likes doing them, they’re just grateful for the support
in doing what they want to do. It’s an unfortunate reality of the platform
at this point that in order to provide you high-quality videos for free, people need
to find ways to keep the lights on. Which, as is seemingly the case with every update video ever made, brings me onto the Patreon. Because I’m barely active on social media
anymore it’s pretty hard to emphasise just how important the Patreon is to keeping things
going (outside of a brief mention at the end of videos) but while the sponsorships have
definitely helped, I know for a fact that without the unbelievably generous support
of my patrons there is absolutely no way I would ever be able to justify the amount of
time I continue to put into the channel. I honestly cannot believe that, despite all
the stress and sleepless nights I’ve had working away at this stuff, I’ve been fortunate
enough to get to do this for as long as I have, and thanks to your support, I’ve been
able to focus on it exclusively. Your pledges have directly impacted not only
the quality of the work I’ve been able to produce, but it’s also created this cool
paradigm where it doesn’t really matter whether a video gets a million views or three
hundred—as long as I’m producing something I feel is worthwhile and that group of people
on Patreon is happy, that’s really the bottom line of all this. Your support keeps this channel going. It also opens up possibilities for growth
that don’t amount to hitting some arbitrary subscriber number or whatever—where, one
day for example, I may be able to hire a video editor to improve presentation further and
allow me to focus more on ensuring the writing is as good as it can be. To be clear, it’s the Patreon that makes
these things a possibility. It’s you guys and I will never be able to
convey how utterly grateful I am for that fact. But it also doesn’t feel good then, if you’re
already paying to directly support the channel, to push an ad in front of you in the middle
of a video. And that’s why, for the last couple of months,
anyone who pledges to the Patreon gets access to a separate upload via the private feed
that’s entirely without ads or sponsors of any kind. If you can’t afford to pledge that’s totally
cool, I’m thankful that you’re watching—your patience with the ad reads is appreciated. But if you want to put in a dollar or anything
else, you’re essentially subscribing to an ad-free version of the channel, which I dunno, that seems kinda fair to me. And it’s not just sponsor-free videos you’ll
be receiving—I’ve also been getting back into the act of writing articles again and
the results of this will be going up on the Patreon feed exclusively for patrons of any
level. It’s been fun experimenting with pieces
that might not fit the general tone of the channel, or that might not be about games
or anything like that. As of the publishing of this video I’ve
got a couple that are almost ready to go out. It’s early days but I want to ensure that
going into 2020, on top of the regular rewards like early access, your name in the credits
and downloads for the soundtracks I make (which is something I’m noticing a lot of people
ask about recently), that you’re getting as much bang for your buck as I can provide
(as one person running this whole thing, of course). Also, I’ve said it before but even if you
think that the dollar or two you could afford to pledge wouldn’t make any difference, there’s
a reason I include everyone in the end credits regardless of pledge level—a low amount
that someone feels they can sustain is 100% the bedrock of any viable campaign. Creators love you guys. So yeah, please, if you’ve enjoyed the work
I’ve created over the last however many years and want to help it continue, I would
really appreciate it if you considered supporting the show directly. And to reiterate, if you can’t afford to
pledge, please don’t feel bad—the last thing I would ever want is someone pledging
outside of what they’re comfortable with. If you just don’t want to pledge to me that’s
cool too, maybe just look at other creators you would think about supporting and find their
Patreon or merch store and help them out a little bit. There’s a lot of people out there who are
totally worth your time and money, and YouTube isn’t exactly a stable platform right now—I
guarantee you these people would greatly appreciate your support. Of course I’m realistic about this, I’ll
be OK, it’s nothing to worry about, I’d just like to keep making the videos I want
to make and that a lot of you guys have expressed you want to keep seeing. There are a couple of other things to talk
about as well that aren’t about money, hooray! One thing in particular I’d like to draw
people’s attention to is the podcast I do with my friend Nico, which you might not know
about given how I basically never mention it outside of the word “PODCAST” plastered
on screen at the end of every video. We’ve been doing the Writing on GamesCast
for over three years now and, while it’s been difficult to maintain a consistent release
schedule as we’re both incredibly busy with other stuff, that’s something I think we’re
both keen to sort out in the new year—we’ll be focusing on it a lot more—because it’s
honestly such a valuable release from the stress of making videos to just be able to
chat shit and laugh with your pal for a few hours every couple of weeks. It’s definitely a far less formal, more
personal and humorous vibe than the videos but the discussions we have there do end up shaping arguments
I go on to make on this channel so hey, if you’re interested, maybe check it out. I’ve also talked about it before but I would
like to get into streaming again at some point. I think the last time I streamed was at the
start of the year but I always enjoy it when I do it. I still need to figure out whether I want
to stream on here where my audience is or get back into using my inactive Twitch channel. I’ll keep you posted either way and I’ll
at least try to get one stream sorted out before the end of the year. And also, I will get around to finishing that
Mafia 2 playthrough I started on the second channel… two years ago now? Jesus. I will finish it I promise. It’s just been way harder to make an interesting playthrough out of than I perhaps once thought. I will get into bigger Let’s Play stuff at some point, I just need to get this out of the way—it’s been the anchor around my neck for too long now. But yeah, that’s basically where I’m at
with everything. Once again I cannot thank you enough for sticking with me through all the stresses and even though I don’t have the time to respond
to everything nowadays, your messages of support have helped an enormous degree in perking
me up when I’ve needed it most. So whatever way you choose to support the channel, whether on Patreon or just watching, sincerely thank you. You’ve changed my life for the better and
as I’ve always said, hopefully my videos can mean a fraction as much to you as your
support has meant to me. And with that, I’m away to work on the next
couple of videos. Thanks a bunch! See you later!

57 thoughts on “Hey! It’s a Long Overdue Channel Update

  1. Love ya man,been here since Zelda botw, watched everything since then. Keep up the good work… Don't worry about the sponsorships and the number of videos. Check out the video of Casey Neistat on the subject (one of his last)

  2. No matter what, please focus on what's most important: yourself. If at any point you ever feel again that it's not as fun as it used to be, I think we would rather you be happy than push yourself. It will always show when it's not coming from a place of happiness.

    Best of luck, and thank you for being such an awesome channel.

  3. Been subscribed to you since I found your Blighttown video around three years ago.
    I look forward to what you do in the future.

  4. Honestly man you've got an amazing channel and i appreciate your insights in every game even though i dont play most of them. Just do what you need to do. You've done so well and I've loved seeing your channel grow. Hope you're doing well mate.

  5. HAMISH HAVE YOU PLAYED DISCO ELYSIUM YET, YOU GET TO BE A COMMUNIST COP WHO LIVES IN THE TRASH

    ALSO I HAVE A JOB AGAIN SO YOU'LL GET MONEY

    -YOUR PAL JAMES

  6. I have also moved away from social media and one of the effects of this is that I don't really stay very up-to-date with what's currently being discussed. And I love not having to bother with the latest discourse about every little thing. I generally dislike the disposable nature of entertainment media, and the most interesting or enjoyable videos on this website is almost exclusively about something that the author really cares about, or a revelation they've come across – even if the game/movie/book that started it is several years old.
    There will always be someone else putting things out faster. But nobody will make the exact same video as you about a thing you really care about or made you think. And those are the videos I enjoy watching.

  7. You're doing great. The ad-free alt video links for patrons is a clever idea. And some of the games in your background here look absolutely bonkers.

  8. Man, Your videos do matter to as much as they do to you. Because even though I have liked video games I "really" got into gaming only last year when I finally build my custom PC and ever since then I started looking more & more into channels related to gaming, one of which was your channel and I am glad that I found your channel because it really helped in shaping my overall views on a lot of video games. Your videos helped me understand my own thoughts on those games by making think more critically about them and then there is the Yakuza Series which I absolutely love and the sole credit for that goes to you. Because it was your Reviews on those games that got me interested and made me wanna try them and so I did and I love them. So I will always be grateful to you for all that and even more.

    So I hope you continue doing this. But that's of course without stressing out and impacting your mental health in a negative way. I am sure there are many other people too whom you haven't impacted with your work who don't always leave a comment but they do care about you and your work. So I hope the future holds some great things for you. Cheers!

  9. Just out of curiosity:
    I don't really want to further increase my fix costs atm, so I will skip on the patreon for the moment, but I am an active YT Red/ Premium user, does this benefit you in a significant way or does my view add as much as a regular persons view with ads?

  10. I understand the necessity of sponsorships, just try not to get one for “Raid: Shadow Legends”. It has overstayed its welcome.

  11. Finally put my money where my mouth was and pledged a few bucks monthly to some creators I love. And that of course includes you. Keep safe and thanks for your work. Can't wait to watch the Death Stranding video when I finally finish it.

  12. Im still amazed that you have less than 200k subscribers, even if you don't want to work towards the million, Im surprised you didn't got it naturally seeing the sheer quality every video has. I've always unconsciously paired you with Mark Brown in terms of quality and digestibility .

    Im hoping yo go for what makes you happy or what you wish to strive for and don't let go of it, because you clearly have the workflow and passion to speak about what you wish to speak about.

  13. "Personal growth and youtube sustainability seem like 2 very different things" I know exactly where you are coming from and a lot of YouTubers struggle with this. This is why it is considered best to make yourself the focus of the videos rather than the topic you're covering. That way people would watch whatever you make anyway. cue dunkey

    Now you could say "not everyone can do that" but even by swapping the title of this video from "Channel update" to "Why I don't care about my channel's growth" you make it 100x more interesting. You could get clicks from outside your channel and who knows? A million views? It's all about framing the same things you want to create into something that could interest a huge amount of people. But hey, who am I to give advice anyway. I just want you to know that I've followed this channel since a couple thousand subs and appreciate your work.

  14. I haven’t watched any of oyour streams, so I don’t know the format, but I have a suggestion to make the Mafia II playthrough more interesting.

    There are a lot of stories about the IRL Mafia. Maybe you could talk about a few.

    Example: The Mafia was initially thought to be a conspiracy theory, that its confirmation as conspiracy fact was a happy accident, and tell the story of how it happened.

  15. Your work is great, and for me, I never mind sponsorships or you soliciting your patreon. I imagine it's the same for most of your watchers. We know you're a person.

  16. Just subbed to the podcast, the episodes are really long though which is an issue pnly because i tend to download podcasts and they would take up loads of space

  17. Every video I see is amazing, and more than anything, I’d be so happy to see you keep positive. You deserve to feel able to create this content without worry, it’s a good niche and you make us all happy. Thank you for the update.

  18. Writing On Games is the best channel for "Writing" and "Games". It is also in the top ten channels about "On". You're once, twice, three times a Youtube and I love you

  19. Anyone else hoping for a collab between Writing on Games and Wrestling with Gaming?
    It could be titled something like, "Is the pen mightier than the bicep? … on/with Games and Gaming"

  20. thank you. Your channel is great and has been getting better and better as time went on. Also, used to listen to your podcast while going on a walk. It's great, you guys are fucking hilarious and I love listening to you. Probably should tune back in then 🙂 Thanks for everything!

  21. It's not the game we come to watch. It's you that we come to listen. Don't think about doing a piece on a game just because it is popular and you'll hit a trend. Do a piece on what you want to. More than half the games I am not interested in. I'm interested in the view you present.

  22. I personally feel like I would rather have streaming seperate from the main channel.
    A lot of channels that livestream directly on youtube can have their livestreams placed in the middle of the much more concenctrated videos, which sometimes means that you can get almost clickbaited into starting up an archived livestream from the beginning from a title that looks interesting. Not that such would neccesarily happen the way you're planning it, of cause.
    Anyways, thanks for being so brutally honest with us. I love seeing creators that value their work quality over public perception.

  23. You consistently make some of those most interesting videos on Youtube.

    I think you and Super Eyepatch Wolf should make a collab

  24. This had me reflecting on my attitude towards all this too – I almost avoid thinking about this sort of stuff too much because I get in weird feedback loops. But it's refreshing to hear how genuinely happy you are with your attitude on it despite difficulties! I'll take a leaf. And thanks for the link 🙂

  25. What you've said about not chasing the algorithm because you never know what's going to hit and miss, that's something I've been coming to grips with this year. The talk about how the sponsorships really help is nice to hear as well. All the best in the new year!

  26. The only bad way to implement sponsors is if it's in the middle of the video we all know everyone is going to skip past them anyway, might as well make it easy for us. Just put them at the start or at the end and we good.

  27. Cheers for your work/play, I enjoy hearing about your points of views on games no end, it reminds me of the reasons I used to read The Edge Magazine way back when (am unsure of what it's like now), in terms of informative and thought provoking points of view on games and gaming as an artform, without getting too ponsy about it all. Keep up the good work and continue doing what you enjoy, above all, have fun. Edit: Also cheers to the Patreons.

  28. I always love your humility and transparency. You've been a big inspiration in me starting up a channel of my own this year, and it's going well! I hope nothing but the best for you friend and that you'll get to keep doing what you enjoy for as long as possible. <3

  29. “No interest in playing the game”. This. Lots of the games you talk about don’t interest me, but your takes of them do.

  30. Creating content should be comfortable. Whenever I see my favourite creators running sponsorship, that makes me feel glad that they're getting taken care of in some way. I'm glad you posted this video so we know you're in a good place – keep up the great work, I really enjoy your stuff and it's definitely made me think more deeply about my gaming – look forward to seeing how you continue on!

  31. love your work – more Hitman pls! 🙂 also just my two cents, I feel like your channel is a great portfolio for your writing career!

  32. People that think sponsors are “selling out” are the same people that still live at home with there parents and don’t know what paying bills is like. Keep doing your thing bro! I’ll still be here supporting you.

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