I don't understand why Let's Plays have become so popular - Can someone explain it?

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I don't have time to play all the games I'd like to many games at all between work and family life, maybe I can get in a few hours here and there over a fortnight, but I can throw a let's play on the 2nd monitor while I'm at work and enjoy it vicariously through someone else.

There's only one reason I use them - when a game is too hard or is no longer fun and I don't feel it's worth the effort to see the end. I actually do this quite frequently, maybe for about half my purchases.

Jadak:

dscross:
Hey everyone,
I know I sound old but I genuinely don't see the appeal in this. Why wouldn't you just want to experience games yourself or with your friends instead of watching someone for hours on end that you don't know (and who doesn't care about you other than superficially to gain YouTube popularity) ? I mean, some people are making some serious money from just commentating on games they are playing online. Am I missing something here?

Why would you want to play games at all when you could play outside?

You're right, you do sound old. You don't need to see the appeal of it, other people do and enjoy, good for them. It doesn't need to be explained.

Dude, I went out of my way to say that it wasn't intended as a criticism and it came from a place of curiosity rather than malice. It's just a question about the world for some insight into a topic I wanted to gain some understanding of. You sound offended for no reason. Chill. Have a KitKat or something.

Marik2:

dscross:
Hey everyone,

Just so you are aware this is not intended as a criticism of people who watch Let's Plays and more coming from a place of genuine curiosity. I'm genuinely curious - why have people taken to watching people on YouTube they don't know play and commentate on video games?

I know I sound old but I genuinely don't see the appeal in this. Why wouldn't you just want to experience games yourself or with your friends instead of watching someone for hours on end that you don't know (and who doesn't care about you other than superficially to gain YouTube popularity) ? I mean, some people are making some serious money from just commentating on games they are playing online. Am I missing something here?

Underage kids don't have the cash to buy new games, so they watch youtubers instead.

That's the bulk of the main audience.

Ah you see, now that makes sense to me as to why it?s THIS popular. Most answers here didn?t really satisfy me as to why people like pewdie pie have millions and millions of followers, rather why you might occasionally watch one (which wouldn't make up the huge numbers). But that sort of makes sense. so they are mainly marketing to young children who can?t get games themselves?

I've got several reasons for watching Let's Plays.

- There are times when work and other responsibilities leave me tired and listless in the evening and I just want to lay back and be lazy. Where I might have the free time to play a game, but no motivation to put in even that small amount of effort. So I watch one or two Let's Play episodes instead.

- There are games I'm interested in, but which are on a system I don't own and have no intention of getting. Let's Plays let me experience them vicariously and if the commentary is also entertaining and/or insightful, that 's a win-win in my book.

- Some Let's Players have personalities I enjoy and/or are funny in my opinion. Some are good at analyzing games from a narrative, design or other angle and have interesting insights about them. My favorite Let's Players usually have both qualities to some degree.

I do a stream on twitch. It is really just a place to hangout with some friends and my sister that moved across the country. It gives a focus so we don't really have to reach for ideas and can just sort of chill with less effort than doing a big call or anything. Let's Play sort of started like that but internet friends. It blew up as people started to connect more to the personas of the Let's Players, kind of like how people feel they connect with actors through the characters they play. You get a medium that you can feel comfortable with, and a wacky friend type to pseudo hangout with. Also the financial reasons mentioned are probably a factor and kids will latch on to the strangest entertainment.

I know that I often watch let's plays of games where I'm interested in the story but the gameplay or genre isn't one I actually enjoy playing.

For example, I was interested in Resi 7's story, but have no interest in actually playing survival horror games; it's just not a genre I enjoy playing. So I watched Markiplier play it. I got to experience the story without having to put myself through gameplay I wasn't interested in. Same with Outlast 1 and 2 and the 2017 Prey. Stories were interesting, but they weren't games I wanted to actually play.

As other people have mentioned I also watch it for the reaction of the person playing the game; if there's a youtuber or streamer that I enjoy as a personality, sometimes I'm interested in their opinions and reactions on a particular game. I've watch 3 different people play Doki Doki because I find people's reactions to that game interesting :)

I mean the only reason I bought Horizon Zero Dawn was because I watched the first couple of episodes of a let's play and decided that the story and setting were interesting enough for me to put up with playing yet *another* open world game, a genre that I'm increasingly sick and tired of.

Hope that helped a little :)

dscross:
Hey everyone,

Just so you are aware this is not intended as a criticism of people who watch Let's Plays and more coming from a place of genuine curiosity. I'm genuinely curious - why have people taken to watching people on YouTube they don't know play and commentate on video games?

I know I sound old but I genuinely don't see the appeal in this. Why wouldn't you just want to experience games yourself or with your friends instead of watching someone for hours on end that you don't know (and who doesn't care about you other than superficially to gain YouTube popularity) ? I mean, some people are making some serious money from just commentating on games they are playing online. Am I missing something here?

Let's Play isn't just the game being played. It's also the Youtuber playing it. Watching/hearing someone comment on an experience they like/dislike as it happens is one of its main appeals (specially if the Youtuber is witty and the reactions sound sincere)

I watch Let's Plays for one or all of three reasons: the Let's Player's humorous commentary, games I'm reasonably interested in, but not enough to play myself or games I know and love and like to watch others enjoy it. I, however, do NOT like Twitch Streamers. The constant banter they carry on with the live commenters is beyond distracting and annoying, and it's worse when they have a little gimmick they go through whenever they get a donation or new subscriber.

dscross:

Marik2:

dscross:
Hey everyone,

Just so you are aware this is not intended as a criticism of people who watch Let's Plays and more coming from a place of genuine curiosity. I'm genuinely curious - why have people taken to watching people on YouTube they don't know play and commentate on video games?

I know I sound old but I genuinely don't see the appeal in this. Why wouldn't you just want to experience games yourself or with your friends instead of watching someone for hours on end that you don't know (and who doesn't care about you other than superficially to gain YouTube popularity) ? I mean, some people are making some serious money from just commentating on games they are playing online. Am I missing something here?

Underage kids don't have the cash to buy new games, so they watch youtubers instead.

That's the bulk of the main audience.

Ah you see, now that makes sense to me as to why it?s THIS popular. Most answers here didn?t really satisfy me as to why people like pewdie pie have millions and millions of followers, rather why you might occasionally watch one (which wouldn?t make up the huge numbers). But that sort of makes sense. so they are mainly marketing to young children who can?t get games themselves?

Most youtubers act like retards and scream at everything, which easily grabs the attention of children. Kids have a ton of free time, and they now spend it on youtubers who know how to manipulate them.

In my case, I watch them when I'm on the fence about buying the game itself. I watched several Total Warhammer campaigns before actually buying the product and am seriously considering PUBG.

Yeah I guess it's one of those things that also make me say "am I too old?"

As far as I can tell, it's not that different from MST3K or Red Letter Media's Best of the Worst. I happen to enjoy Best of the Worst, so I can see why people would like LPs. They're ok if it's a "summary" of the game, instead of hours and hours and hours and 70 videos of someone playing the same game from beginning to end. Mesh Does Doom is my favorite "Let's Play" and that was before youtube.

People like stuff I don't and vice versa. That's about it.

I very rarely watch Let's Plays for commentary- well, honestly, I rarely watch Let's Plays, period. But there are occasions.

1. Sometimes I hear that a game is great (especially that it's visually great, emotionally arresting, or has a fantastic storyline) but I don't own a system that can play it, for one reason or another. I might watch at least part of an LP to be able to experience something I normally wouldn't.

2. I may have played the game, but not experienced all of the endings. Some games require a lot of work to find all the alternate ending options; others just make it an uphill climb to get the "real" ending, period. (@$#% you, Painkiller.) Sometimes there are special endings that can only be experienced by doing very specific things that aren't easily accomplished by going back to a save file. I don't necessarily want to play another four to twelve hours of an eight hour game, mostly seeing and doing the same things over again, just to squeeze every last drop of narrative out of something I've paid for.

3. Sometimes a game is nothing I'm interested in, but I just want to see what all the fuss is about. (FNAF.)

4. On one occasion, I was told very specific things about a game's themes and storyline (Journey to the West), didn't have any way to play it, and wanted to be informed about it before I tried discussing it.

5. Sort of a subset of #1- sometimes a game is just no longer readily (legally) available. I love a lot of things about the era of the C64 and NES, but short of running an emulator, I can't experience a lot of them.

6. Very rarely, I just can't figure out how to progress- and FAQs don't always cut it, especially if it's a map issue or a "retrace your steps to this thing you never took note of" issue.

All that said, regarding commentary, with most LP-ers, less is more. And sometimes, more is a lot less (Shut up, kid!).

ObsidianJones:
Console Exclusives. I just got a beast of a laptop and I don't see any reason to get a PS4 pro or Xbox One X in the near future (especially with the window 11 game store).

But I'm still interested in Until Dawn or Bloodborne. Experience it for myself? That would be great. But if the line up of console doesn't move me, I can't bring myself to shell out four hundred and sixty dollars for a one experience.

Of course there are exceptions. I was poised to buy PS4 for Silent Hills because I've been madly in love with that series for years. But there are simply not enough series I'm madly in love with that will cause me to do such an action.

I created a Japanese PSN account just to get Silent Hill 4 on my PS3 a couple years ago. I had played it nearly a decade earlier on Xbox but between babysitting Eileen and the ghosts (still the only enemies in a game that instantly give me goosebumps) it got the best of me around the hotel section. Then after I sold it I bought the PC version a few years later and tried again. This time there was a glitch in the subway that messed up the resolution, and controller support was shoddy through Xpadder.

Then finally I happened upon it on PSN, but only the Japanese store. Ironically it was still localized though, and it ended up being one of my most worthwhile gaming purchases. I scraped by with the "Escape" ending with an equal sigh of genuine relief and satisfaction. Definitely the most challenging of Team Silent's efforts imho, but I gained a greater appreciation for this entry in the series. They tried new things, and even though it was flawed, its high's were some of the best in the series.

Really disheartened that it may very well be the last truly great Silent Hill game ever made. I still enjoyed Origins (came close to the feel and structure of the original three, decent puzzles), Homecoming (satisfying visuals and decent atmosphere), and even Downpour (Arguably the best presentation of the town itself) to a fair extent, but they were all ultimately ground balls next to Team Silent's efforts.

I don't understand them either. They seem to have nothing to offer someone like me but then i have friends and can finish any game you shove in front of me so i guess i'm not the target audience :p

When I watch a full LP it's usually because the game is for a console I don't own. I like Zelda, but I'm not really interested in buying a Wii U in order to play skyward sword. I also sometimes do it so that I can experience games that I have trouble with the controls like System Shock 1. I like System Shock, but I don't find the gameplay that enjoyable because it has always felt really unnatural to me.

I mostly watch competitive gaming streams instead of Let's Plays. Anyway, it's a viable way for non-gamers fascinated about gaming to experience them. You don't need equipment, the games themselves, or any gameplay skills either.

Wintermute:
Yeah I guess it's one of those things that also make me say "am I too old?"

As far as I can tell, it's not that different from MST3K or Red Letter Media's Best of the Worst. I happen to enjoy Best of the Worst, so I can see why people would like LPs. They're ok if it's a "summary" of the game, instead of hours and hours and hours and 70 videos of someone playing the same game from beginning to end. Mesh Does Doom is my favorite "Let's Play" and that was before youtube.

People like stuff I don't and vice versa. That's about it.

It does make me feel old, not getting it. I have a lot more respect for reviewers than Let's Players and I understand the appeal of getting reviews from a non-journalist. Maybe I find hard to understand why people would enable gamers to make money from just playing video games in their room and shouting things at them. Some of them, like pewdie pie, almost feel manipulative to me. 'Can we get over a million likes for this video?', they say. Maybe people don't mind or don't think about it like that. And maybe it's no more manipulative than any marketing campaign.

I do think some of the reasons people have given in this thread have given me a greater understanding as to why so many people are watching them though. Let's Players might seem more appealing to me prior to when they start doing it for a living (when it's just a hobbie).

dscross:

I do think some of the reasons people have given in this thread have given me a greater understanding as to why so many people are watching them though. Let's Players might seem more appealing to me prior to when they start doing it for a living (when it's just a hobbie).

Like you [would], I prefer Let's Players who're more real, less cartoony, and still manage to be entertaining. "Dark Souls with James" is a good example, imho. James had never played DS before, and his friend and co-worker, Mitch, tried to act as his "expert" guide. The appeal is not only that I know the game as well as I do and like watching someone "try hard" for their first time in DS, but also that it's just two friends talking shit and cracking each other up over how bad James is at the game; it reminds of the times I sat in the basement with a friend or two and we swapped the controller back and forth playing a single player game just for laughs.

I see let's play abit similiar to how I used to watched over my brother when he played games on his pc. Granted he wasn't funny as in making witty comments like some let's play do.

Also as for the op statements-
I don't exactly have alot of free time to spend hours playing a singular game. Ok sound superficial since some let play cover a game campaign that would be the same length to have you played it, I meant more on the ones that edits their video that chop the trivial parts of the game.
Even then I find modern game a hassle into making sure your spec match the game spec, make room in your storage and the time it take to download the whole game!

I see some let's play in a similar manner to the commentary to films eventhought some let play may talked anything but the game itself!

I don't have friends to play the same video game with. Well ok I have a couple of friends but out playstyle on video games are competely different!

The op view let players as complete strangers that we shouldn't give a danm on, does that logic apply to current celebrity, writer, singer, artist and etc? I mean be honest, most of us would never met those celebrity in person in our life time unless you are a super fan that have to meet that person in real life! Is it fine that those celebrity make money just cos their talents has more value than the current let players out there? To me that is no the most part as most let players has "entertain" me in their comment and playthrought (the same entertainment I get from singer and actors etc). That enough warrant me that it still take talent to be a successful let players. I'm not exactly an easy person whose can laugh out every single comedy out there like let say Family Guy.

Lastly

Ender910:
Unfortunately that means wading through all of the loudmouth idiots that make up the majority of streamers and "Let's Play" uploaders. There are times I really wish TwitchTV had never become a thing.

The Twitch audience likes that stuff. The Tobuscus/Sodapoppin/PewDiePie style of high-energy douchery is popular. Popularity breeds imitation, which creates culture. Dignity doesn't pay the rent, popularity does, or as CaptainSparklez might note, can pay for a mansion.

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