(Caution for swearing in some of the videos!)
A video of a host or multiple hosts playing a videogame, some are meant to be comedic while others are actually be instructive to help players through the games that are being played. The name “Let’s Play” is essentially short for “Let’s Play (insert videogame title)”, which I think is charming since it implies that the viewer gets to experience the game along with the host in a way that is fun and personal.
To explain why Let’s Plays are so important to the Youtube ecosystem, we must first understand the stats.
Taking a look at the top 100 most subscribed channels on Youtube, a lot of them are for music such as ChrisBrownVEVO (93rd), RihannaVEVO (8th), Skrillex (28th) or even a more rare independent music artist like the internet-cherished Lindsey Sterling (79th). However a good number of the top 100 are also Let’s Plays!
Some of the most popular comedic Let’s Play hosts are:
- Rooster Teeth (7 Million Subscribers and 29th most subscribed Channel in all of Youtube as of 2/7/2014)
And a personal favorite of mine that didn’t make the top 100 list:
GameGrumps (1.3 Million Subscribers as of 2/7/2014)
A whole lot of people like video games, especially those who are active online, so of course some game channels are expected to have a high number of followers, but I’ll allow The Game Theorists (1.6 Million Subscribers as of 2/7/2014) to explain more of the science behind garnering subscribers.
If you already know who PewDiePie is, feel free to skip to 2:55 of the video to begin at “the birth of youtube” section.
So views does not exactly equal better content, more promotion and more followers as it did in the very early days of Youtube. Since 2012 the equation looks different, adding retention time and selecting from the other suggested videos. Let’s Play videos are suited to Youtube’s algorithm, so the take away from The Game Theorists video is the equation is now views x minutes x videos per watch session x uploads per week = watch time per weak.
According to The Game Theorists, Let’s Play videos are the perfect format to take over Youtube since they have long run time, serial nature, and with little to no editing to do which increasing frequency of posting. Because of this massive watch time buildup, Youtube promotes the channel and videos more so that more people will watch, furthering the snowballing popularity of the channel.
If you wanted to hear more about PewDiePie, go to 8:12 in the video.
Finally, enjoy an animated clip from an episode of Game Grumps where they play Pokemon Emerald version, because it is hilarious.