A Let’s Play (often abbreviated to“LP”) is a recorded video documenting a
play through of a video game, usually including commentary by the gamer.
Let’s Play videos focus on the individual’s subjective experience with the
game, often with humorous commentary. Many Let’s Play videos also act as
critical reviews of the game.
The biggest YouTubers, such as Felix Kjellberg (known by his online handle
PewDiePie), have enormous reach. PewDiePie Let’s Play videos reach over
27 million subscribers! Other major names include Rooster Teeth, The
Yogscast, Smosh Games, Game Grumps, NerdCubed, TotalBiscuit,
Northernlion and Machinima.com.
Howard Tsao, developer of Guns of Icarus Online had this to say on the
subject, “Along the way, we realized how powerful these videos and
YouTube casters are in getting the word out, especially for indie developers
like us. For instance, one YouTube video had incredibly generated over $35K in sales for us on its first day of going live. The players who got the game through videos of casters such as TotalBiscuit, Jesse Cox or Yogscast were generally enthusiastic and engaged.”
Borut Pfeifer of Skulls of the Shogun studio 17-BIT backs this up, saying,
“Most indie game success stories on PC in the last year or two have had
predominant YouTube coverage,” he comments. “With Skulls we definitely
sought people out and sent out hundreds of review codes to YouTubers,
which is a lot more time consuming than regular press because they don’t
have consistent contact info.”
A major Russian YouTuber, eligorko, covered the game, along with other
smaller Russian YouTubers. Pfeifer believes this coverage helped to elevate
Skulls of the Shogun to the second biggest seller in Russia for units sold.
Dan Pierce, UK developer of 10 Second Ninja backs this up, “As far as I’ve
seen, we haven’t had a significant spike from written press, but we have
seen spikes from YouTube,” he states. “Specifically, getting covered by Total
Biscuit gave us a sales spike that roughly mirrored the game being on sale
for a week. Getting covered by Dan NerdCubed brought in a bump of about
half that, despite his video having roughly 100k more views.”