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Possible Explanations for the Explosion in Popularity of YouTube Let's Play Channels

The explosion of Let’s Play gamers on YouTube is no secret to anyone. Currently the most subscribed to channel on YouTube belongs to a Let’s Play channel; they are well known and tremendously popular. I think it would be interesting to see if anyone could explore the question of why this is the case. What happened that made this genre of video uploaders so popular? Why are people so drawn to it, even though some don’t play video games themselves? The answer could be simple, or it could be more complicated; I personally don’t have enough knowledge on the topic to know. But regardless it’s a question I find interesting, and haven’t heard discussed often. I’m curious as to what others may think.

  • Looking at the personality of Let's Play producers/creators is a key factor I think. The top producers of Let's Play content stand out from others in terms of their acting behaviour/spin they put on it. The Angry Video Game Nerd or the Game Grumps use emotion to point out flaws in a game in a review style, while others like Rooster Teeth's Achievement Hunter simply play and illustrate points gamers can follow in their own playing or just sit and watch someone else play a game rather than buying it themselves. I think it's one of the biggest factors in which Let's Plays become more watched and why Let's Plays took off, games people wanted combined with not having to worry about wasting time playing themselves and guaranteeing enjoyment at the performance of another. Like the childhood experience (if like me you had older siblings) of watching your brother play games and cheering him on during the interesting parts. An adventure right at home. – smartstooge 6 years ago
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  • I think of it more as entertainment. A lot of these gamers are comedians and always crack jokes while playing. We might find humour in their failures, or just enjoy their commentary. The audience can play these games themselves, but it's more interesting to see a funny person play it. – YsabelGo 6 years ago
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  • I agree with the above commentators that Let's Play is a form of entertainment. I would even say it is a form of performing arts due to its entertainment-centric production. It would be interesting to see what are the criteria for the Let's Play to be widely entertaining, and what similarity they share with other form of performing arts, such as improvisation comedy. – idleric 5 years ago
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  • It's a great way to look at the gameplay before deciding to buy a game. I think that might be one reason people are watching these videos. – Sierra Throop 5 years ago
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