That title was almost clever! Anywho, gaming has been going from strength to strength in recent years, and it’d be foolish not to attribute that to let’s plays, at least in some small part. We’ve all seen them, in fact I’d wager anyone tech savvy enough to come across this blog has seen a fair few. Many of us love them, myself included. I even do them with a close friend as a hobby, so I appreciate that I’m hardly impartial on this whole matter.
Critics of Youtube personalities regularly raise concerns that “it’s not a real job” or “it’s just being payed to play video games” as well as “Let’s Players are parasites”. Let me explain why I believe they’re wrong.
At what point is a job ‘a job’ do you suppose? When it’s hard work? When it contributes to society? Speaking as someone who has edited all the videos for and managed a Let’s Play channel for a year and a half, putting literally hundreds of hours of work into learning the software from scratch, working hard to make it good and forever endeavouring to actually catch someone’s attention and hold it, I can tell you this is not easy. And I’m not even doing this as a job! A lot of the big names now where just starting out when the climate much more poised against the idea of Let’s Plays being a remotely good idea as a way to make living. These were the people that did it simply for the passion (which I also do, otherwise I wouldn’t bother with it at all).
The idea that Let’s Players are parasites? Lecherous cretins that try to catch the falling crumbs from the cake that is the games they play for a living? Total poppycock. Many developers recognise that Let’s Players have far closer to a symbiotic relationship with them, a mutual back-scratching bonanza. Everyone wins in this scenario.
Of course this is without drawing the comparison between Let’s Players and athletes. It takes a lot of hard work, natural talent and a little bit of luck to be good at both. If Let’s Players are the Sportsmen and women, the video games are the ball and goal posts, Youtube is the pitch and the video viewers are the crowd in the stand. Plus the really really good ones make quite a bit of money, whether that’s fair or not is a debate for another day.
These people are entertainers. Commentators. Comedians. Reviewers. People that make their living from contributing content to an advertising platform behemoth that millions watch every day. Not unlike television which has long since entered and become accepted into the cultural lexicon, just as Let’s Playing will become as the generation that watches it more than or as much a TV grows up and knows it as the norm. And is there anything wrong in that?