#168: Said & Done 2022
Celebrating the executives, companies and figureheads that spent the year putting their foot right in it.
We all say things we later come to regret, don’t we? And we are all prone to contradicting ourselves from time to time. Luckily, few of us are prominent figures in the global videogame industry, and therefore need not worry about a modestly popular newsletter taking the piss out of us in the run-up to Christmas. Phew!
Writing a news round-up two or three times a week can be a bit wearying at times, if I’m perfectly honest; in order to find the half-dozen headlines that matter on a particular day, you also have to read all the ones that don’t, and many of them are deathly dull. But this activity is not entirely without its advantages. For instance, I am reasonably confident I am the only person on the planet who can spell Riccitiello without having to look it up first (John included, you suspect).
It also makes it a bit easier to keep track of things over time. Whenever a company or person has put their foot in it, or events have compelled them to contritely walk back some disastrous interview or botched endeavour, I have made a mental note of it; over time I have assembled a sort of brain-database of game-industry people showing us their entire backside. I can think of few finer ways to kick off Hit Points’ 2022 wrap-up than presenting you, dear reader, with the highlights.
I hope you enjoy it! And I should probably acknowledge up front that this is 100% a clon- erm, tribute to The Observer’s brilliant and much-missed football column Said & Done. Great artists steal, and all that. Let’s go!
November 18, 2021: Affable Xbox boss Phil Spencer assures staff that Microsoft is “evaluating all aspects of our relationship with Activision Blizzard and making ongoing proactive adjustments” in the light of the misconduct scandal raging through the publisher’s senior ranks.
January 10: In an interview with the New York Times, Spencer says Microsoft has “changed how we do certain things with [Activision], and they’re aware of that. But I also — this isn’t about, for us as Xbox, virtue-shaming other companies.”
January 18: Microsoft reveals the results of its evaluation, and virtue-shames itself, by announcing its intent to buy Activision Blizzard for a record-shattering, industry-shaking $68.7bn.
Token gestures, part 1 of an ongoing series
January 14: Videogame voice artist Troy Baker announces a partnership with NFT project Voiceverse, hitting out at naysayers who see NFTs as cynically marketed pyramid schemes with minimal artistic value. “We all have a story to tell,” he parps. “You can hate. Or you can create. What’ll it be?”
January 31: Baker pulls out of the project after the vast majority of his intended customer base chooses the former option. “Thanks for all your feedback and patience,” he sobs. “Intentions aside, I’ve heard you and apologise for accusing anyone of ‘hating’ just by disagreeing with me.”
May 29: Acquisition-happy Embracer Group establishes a physical game library in what it presents as an altruistic boost to the game-preservation cause. “At Embracer Games Archive, we believe that games carry a heritage worth celebrating and safeguarding for the future,” Embracer CEO Lars Wingefors trumpets in a statement. “Our goal is clear — we want to archive and save as much of the videogame industry as possible."
November 22: Onoma Studio announces the end of service for four mobile games, including Deus Ex GO and Hitman Sniper: The Shadows. All four will be rendered unplayable forever on January 4, 2023. The move follows Onoma’s closure on November 1, four months after its acquisition by… yep, Embracer.