I know this is a very vague thesis that I’m drawing up here, and I can only speak from my own point of view and from those of a couple people I talked to about it. My statement is, that video-series like this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vi0WSKZzyls are potentially harming the video game indutry.
*Edit: This article is NOT intended to be against Let’s Play Videos – I love them! – It should more question the quality of (some) video games.
Let me start off by stating that I used to be but ain’t any more a hardcore gamer. There had been quite a few titles I kind of wanted to play and I was really interested in buying them, but here is why I didn’t buy those titles:
You usually don’t want to buy a pig in a poke. So I went to browse for ingame gameplay videos of those games on youtube and stumbled across a “Let’s play… Video” (I’m talking about on of these: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vi0WSKZzyls), basically a screencapture of someone playing through the game together with commentary of the player. So I started by watching the first part, however at the end of the first part I thought “Well, this was fun – how does it continue?” – so I watched the next part and the next part… more and more losing the desire to buy the game and play it myself. After I was done watching all parts(not all in one session ;-)) I had completely lost the desire to play the game myself since I already had seen everything and knew how it ended, however I did NOT feel less satisfied like finishing a game myself. And this happened with not only one title, but several that I considered buying.
Meanwhile I’m at the point where I pretty much only watch Let’s Play Videos, instead of playing a game and here are my points why:
- I don’t have to pay $50 for a youtube-video
- I get to see everything in HD, no matter how bad my system is(even on mobile)
- I don’t have to go through the hassle of installing a 10GB+ game
- I can fast forward boring parts or skip parts
- I can relax after work and don’t have to think while watching or I can choose to figure out the next steps myself and then say “Yes, I would have done it the same way”
- It’s just as rewarding as figuring out something by playing myself
I know that there is of course a big group of people, who won’t agree with me, who would put nothing over playing a game themselves and I do get their point.
However by looking at channel-statistics of accounts like this one: http://youtube.com/user/Toegoff or this one: http://youtube.com/user/RealistReviewer you can clearly observe quite a trend towards watching games instead of playing them and this thesis was also backed by quite a few people I was talking to who told me that they didn’t buy a game because they did watch it on youtube even though they did like it.
So at this point I would be interested how many people there are, who have done this, because I think there is quite a bit of money lost by industry because of peoply like me.
Another question is: Who is to blame? – Is it because games are still the same as many years ago just with slightly different content and a better graphics? Or is it because my habits as a gamer have changed, that I prefer watching a game instead of playing it?