Hello everyone! Today I wanted to cover the topic of Let’s Play videos. For those of you who don’t know, Let’s Play is a term gamers use when they stream or record themselves playing a game all the way through. In most cases these videos are accompanied with commentary by the player.
YouTube is a very popular place for Let’s Plays and is also notorious for cracking down on the monetizing due to copyright issues. Developers don’t tend to enjoy their games being displayed and ruined for others so videos that show the cut scenes of their games will be under harsh scrutiny.
That being said, I would like to go over why developers should see Let’s Play videos as a business opportunity that should be encouraged.
Why Developers Should Encourage Let’s Play Videos
I understand the rocky ground a developer has to face when their game is being shown all the way through to the world without them having to pay a dime. I was going to say “potential buyers”, but then I realize – no. They’re not potential buyers. Some of them are, yes, but not all of them. When a person hears about a new game that has come out half the time their first instinct is to look up Let’s Play videos on YouTube or check out a Twitch streamer playing the game. The fact that they are going to spend time looking up this game in the first place is a great sign and this is where the encouragement for these videos should start. Watching someone with a fun personality play a game I’m even just semi-interested in can turn the tides of whether I will buy that game.
First off the watcher gets to see the quality of real game play and decide for themselves if it’s acceptable and then they get the enjoyment out of watching someone else play that is making it fun – or even more fun. If a game really sticks out to me after watching someone else play I will typically be like “Wow, I really want to play this!” and then I buy it and play for myself and we all have cake. A streamer with the right personality really can make a game that seems fun into a game that is fun. You not only look at it with the eyes of “Oh, cool new game”, but also with the eyes of the person you watched playing it. Their commentary and enjoyment of that game will stick with you and it will turn into a more nostalgic feeling.
Of course, not all games will have this experience. Not all games will be good and if the developer realizes that theirs isn’t then this ‘benefit’ really wouldn’t be for them. In my opinion a company that puts their all into a game and it’s something that has quality (in graphics and/or game play) then they have nothing to fear. People will buy your game. Allowing gamers to take your game into their hands and play through can really drive a game’s recognition and success if that person has the right personality.
This all can be said for older games as well. Gaming has been around for so long now that newer and newer generations are popping up and they have missed out on older generations of games. There are a lot of classic games out there that still hold up today because they were made with quality and if it wasn’t for “5 Classic Games Worth Playing Today” articles and complete play throughs these awesome games wouldn’t be as appreciated or even known by the newer generations that came after. Let’s Play videos can bring an old game back from the dead to be enjoyed again by others as well as get new blood interested in them enough to buy them. Why do you think the early Final Fantasy games have made a come back on mobile devices as well as Steam? They obviously haven’t lost their relevancy and Square knows it!
Not all Developers are against these videos. Supergiant Games (The creators of Bastion and Transistor) and Blizzard are two that don’t mind along with many, many others. If you are interested in making a Let’s Play, but don’t know which developers will allow you to do so as well as allow monetization I found this handy Wiki that has it all. If you are ever uncertain about whether you should stream and monetize a game always contact that developer first before going ahead and just doing it. It shows respect to the company and will keep you out of some potentially big trouble.
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