Sometimes I find myself pondering about a lot of things, including gaming and the industry. Recently I have been growing ever more curious about the YouTube “Let’s Play” videos and their impact on the gaming industry. So with this article I will give you my opinion on why they hurt and help gaming. Venture with me into my mind as I ask myself, are YouTubers killing gaming?
Why they hurt.
On occasion I turn into a couch potato, the period of the potato stint varies in time and I usually find myself glued to some or other form of visual entertainment. In my latest potato adventure I found myself stuck on gaming Let’s Play videos. I’m pretty sure most of you know what those videos are. For those that do not know of their existence, quintessentially they are videos of people playing through a video game. Usually consisting of a whole series of videos as they play from start to finish. In most cases the YouTubers are entertaining as personalities and provide humorous commentary.
So what is the problem? My concern is that they are potentially killing the fun of the game experience, showing spoilers and most likely cause people to not purchase a specific title. Since they have unveiled the whole plot line of the game, there is little to no incentive for people to go out and purchase the game. I have put myself in the unfortunate position where I abstained from purchases of certain titles, purely, because I have “experienced” what they had on offer. This might not kill a massive AAA production, but I could definitely see smaller studios that could take quite a hit.
This rings ever more true for me when I look at the sheer number of people subscribed to their channels. For smaller studios it is a double edged sword. Exposure to millions of people at the price of a potential audience that could have bought and played your game for themselves. Recently we saw the developers of the popular game Persona 5 having the same concern. Striking down any content that exposes too much of the story content. Unfortunately, they took the wrong course of action and it seemed to trigger the Streisand effect.
As I was thinking about the whole thing, I had to ask myself, can I really point a finger at a single person and say that it is YOU that caused a game to sell less games? Could I really with a clear conscience say that, YOU are the reason why I am spoiling the experience for myself? The thing is, they aren’t holding a gun to your head saying “Watch this whole series, or else!” Still, they potentially have a huge impact on the gaming community and I can see why Atlus tried to limit the video content. Something to think about.
Why they help.
On the other hand, I can’t only think about one side of the coin. They make content that is extremely useful to us as the consumer of games. Sometimes you don’t want the formal long winded reviews to see if you would like a game or not. The YouTubers provides a live-action look at the games and you can see if you would like to buy the game or if the developers came through on their promises when they said they would have certain features. You could even want to see both the review and the Let’s Play video.
The scenario also exists, where you are sitting in my position, where you simply don’t own the high-end system to run some of these games, but you still want to have relevant conversations with your friends or you would just like to see what the game has to offer. I have watched many console games, especially, since I don’t own a console, even though I really would like to one day. These videos have immersed me in the story of games and I didn’t have to walk around disappointed that I couldn’t be part of the experience.
Other than playing popular games, these people have a lot of subscribers due the fact that they are fun to watch. Potato logic dictates that you don’t want to do anything (A.k.a actually playing the game), just sit and watch stuff and they are entertainers at heart. I have found endless amounts of hours watching these videos and I do see myself watching countless more hours of their content. That leads me to be stuck between a rock and a hard place. I want to support the game AND the YouTuber. This leads me to my final thoughts.
Could Youtubers ruin, actually playing a game for you? Sure, in my experience they definitely can. On the other hand it’s not them ruining it, it’ s me. My opinion on the matter is that if I see a game that looks like something I would like to play myself. Then I would save the video to my playlist to “watch later”. Then go buy the game and experience it for myself. After finishing the game and having my own play experience, I then return back to the channel for the commentary and the YouTuber him/herself. That way I am supporting the game industry where I can to ensure that they keep doing well and I support the YouTuber to make sure that they continue doing what they are doing.
I remember clearly how I saw Undertale on a Jack Septiceye video. Immediatley I knew that the game would be something I would love playing and froze frame right there. I got the game, fell madly in love with it and returned back to the channel. Jack did voice overs for the characters and I can honestly say that he cemented the characters and the game into my heart even further than it already was, bringing life to the game.
Basically what it boils down to is, if a YouTuber ruins the game for you, don’t blame them, they didn’t make you watch it and where you can, support the games that you loved to see and experience, that way, I believe everyone is a winner. So are they killing gaming? Not any time soon.
Well, those are my thoughts on the subject, what do you think? Let us know in the comments and as always have fun and game on!
Written by: NinjaClicks