Let’s Plays, or LPs, refer to an audio-visual genre in which a gamer plays through the entirety of a videogame and records it for others to view. The video is often accompanied by the player’s responses and reactions to real-time situations within the game. A gamer may also choose to insert a pop-up window into the video so that the audience can gauge the gamer’s emotions as they play.
This immersive format is incredibly popular among content creators who use online short-form and streaming platforms, such as YouTube and Twitch. Here are three reasons why the Let’s Play genre has become such a pervasive form of entertainment on the internet.
There is a Vast Variety of Gaming Content to Choose From
If a game exists, there is likely a Let’s Play of it. It doesn’t take long for gamers to create content out of videogames that have been newly released. Many content creators also generate videos and streams of older games if they think that they will gain a sizeable audience in doing so. This allows viewers to choose from a seemingly endless selection of games to watch. And with more and more content creators flocking to the Let’s Play format, the selection continues to expand exponentially for potential spectators.
Many Viewers Prefer Specific Content Creators
Most viewers initially watch Let’s Plays to enjoy a particular game, but over time, they may grow fond of a content creator’s running commentary or personality and subscribe to the person’s channel for future playthroughs. Game Grumps host Dan Avidan and his cohost, Arin Hanson, became famous for that very reason. Hanson and Avidan’s charismatic personalities and witty remarks, paired with their eclectic choices in games, elevated their Game Grumps YouTube channel to incredible heights of popularity from 2014 to 2017.
The success of Game Grumps is especially impressive because channels that consistently feature more than one player are relatively uncommon. Most content creators operate solo and will only collaborate with colleagues for videogames with multiplayer settings.
Viewers Don’t Have to Play the Game to Enjoy It
Viewers who watch Let’s Plays can spectate the progression of a videogame without having to spend hours of their own time to beat it.
There are a couple of reasons why someone may choose to watch a game instead of playing it. Usually, it is because the viewer is interested in the game but is not invested enough to buy it for themselves, or because they cannot afford to purchase the game in the near future. The other reason for watching an LP may be that the viewer has already played the game and wants to see how a content creator overcomes the same challenges.
Let’s Plays constitute a burgeoning genre of cyber entertainment, even though the overwhelming majority of players use a small number of platforms to disseminate their content. And LPs have attracted enough attention within the gaming community that many gamers have started their own channels with the hopes of eventually being able to engage a core fanbase and to make a profit off of their videos and streams.