Feature Friday: Let’s Plays and Me

With the popularity surge of YouTube in the late-00s a particular segment has increased in popularity and has seen a steady increase viewership. However, due to various algorithm changes and controversies the Lets Play scene has started to decrease in popularity. I am going to explain how I feel about let’s play’s and how it became one of my main forms of entertainment.

What is a Let’s Play?

You can skip this section if you already know what one is. A let’s play is where a player records him/herself playing through a video game, there are many formats within that. There are non narrated/narrated/face-cam. Face-cam has become one of the more popular formats, however some channels such as Game Grumps have become quite popular without having to show face during their Let’s Play series. Examples of the face-cam are pewdiepie, Markiplier and jacksepticeye, who remain the juggernauts of the Lets Play genre.

Why is it so Entertaining?

I like to compare it to watching people play a sport, yes you could go out there and play the sport however, you may not have the skill or the funds needed to play at a high level. Video games can be quite expensive to buy into if you haven’t already got the consoles or a gaming PC. This is especially true with Virtual Reality games as they tend to have the highest buy-in and you need a bit more space to physically play them. As with all sports, a good commentator can make the experience even more enjoyable, think of your favourite sport and imagine watching it without any commentary though it may be interesting the insight the commentator can give would be missing. They are also far more popular than most subscription services according to this source.

How do I Feel About them?

I was initially sceptical of Lets Plays, I would wonder why people would watch other people play video games. Then I discovered jacksepticeye and watched his Bully series. I found is commentary interesting and funny. I then binged watch most of the series until 2015. By this point I had broadened my horizons and watched other YouTube channels. However, during 2015 my love for the over the top let’s play channels faltered and I began to look elsewhere. I then discovered the Game Grumps and have been watching them ever since. I rarely watch any let’s plays now as I spend my time playing video games, studying or working. Also the channels I watch have been going stale and with the drop in ad revenue a lot of channels are now trying to sell you something which leaves the experience tainted. I now only watch YouTube videos for DIY or sortedFood which yes, they try to sell their club membership but it doesn’t seem as bad as lets players.

Jacksepticeye Bully Series

I also tried my hand at a lets play series, however I find the fact that someone may be watching very off putting and means you have to concentrate a lot more which makes the overall experience exhausting. Then, after you’ve done filming you then have do edits, make sure the audio is fine and then upload at a snails pace. I am on the fence of continuing as at the moment it doesn’t seem to be fun.

Streaming?

Streaming video game playthroughs have also started to gain some ground and have multiple platforms available not just YouTube, it’s biggest competitor is Twitch.Tv. Streaming games is very similar to Lets Plays, except there is far more interactivity between the audience and the streamer. The audience can chat to the streamer providing advice or asking questions. It’s something I have yet to dip my toes in and I have yet to find a streamer that I like. But, if any of you have any recommendations please let me know I would like to give it a chance.

Final Thoughts

I believe that Lets Plays still have a life ahead of them, they have reached their highest point and now will start to level out. In the meantime I will continue to play video games and will try and find a channel I can enjoy.

Sorry for delay on this post, had to work overtime yesterday and been so busy getting the house ready for our new arrival. Hope you are all keeping safe and healthy.

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