Let’s Plays: A New Approach to Gameplay

I get stuck in games easily. I get stuck on what people might see as easy levels and after a few tries, I have a tendency to give up. I think it happens to the best of us, doesn’t it? We get stuck on a level and leave it on a dust. But now, instead of not knowing what happens next, we can watch someone else play the game and beat it without having to do anything. All we have to do is watch. Let’s Players make up a large part of youtube that play games for the entertainment of other users. They offer tips on how to play the game and sometimes provide funny commentary. Watching Let’s Plays almost makes it feel like you’re playing the game, but are you losing the experience by watching instead of playing?

Part of what makes video games interesting compared to books or movies is that you’re actively doing things. You make the choices and you call the shots. Some games are more guided than others, but a key part is player control, which can result in a game over screen. It’s one of many components that makes games what they are. Some games are interactive, but they often provide challenges and end goals that make them interesting.

Let’s Plays can appeal to more than just gamers though, someone that doesn’t have the time or money can watch a Let’s Play of that game and feel just as informed as someone that plays the game. This raises issues in the game community though, some might feel threatened that those that watch Let’s Plays aren’t part of the game community and they aren’t gamers.


The thing is, game manufacturers know that people like watching a game before they play it, Many game companies will give streamers early access to the game before they give it to the gaming community to raise hype. This may be a marketing move on behalf of the company, but it encourages the world of streamers and Let’s Players.

Watching Let’s Plays may take the game experience away from the user, but manufacturers and large industries like Amazon and Google have seen the potential of using Let’s Plays and game streaming for monetary gain.

  3 comments for “Let’s Plays: A New Approach to Gameplay

  1. rselbrede
    April 19, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    This does seem to have an interesting potential for gaming companies to make money. However, I don’t think it could be regulated very well to keep Let’s Plays off of Youtube. I personally enjoy watching other people play games more than actually playing them myself. So, I understand the rise in this kind of experience. It would be interesting to see though if companies will be able to capitalize on its growing popularity.

  2. stephk
    April 19, 2015 at 11:38 pm

    BLESS YOU FOR DOING ONE ON LETS PLAYS. Achievement Hunter is my life right now (in my free time, of course)

    Anyway. Lets Plays really are a great new-ish idea. As someone who does not have the time (or effort, really) to build fantastic things in minecraft, I find it quite enjoyable to watch the AH crew do it. Hours of their work in 20 minutes of my time. It works well for me! Another aspect of Lets Play is who it is playing the game, which is a big thing for me. I love Toby Turner and the AH Crew, but don’t particularly care for Pewdipie. So, I’ll be more apt to watch a Lets Play by Tobuscus or AH than Pewdipie, even if it is the same game. So, in addition to the ease of watching a video in a short time versus actually playing, I can also see my favorite youtubers goofing off. it’s a win-win when I have no time to play myself 🙂

  3. noahdking
    July 24, 2015 at 11:53 am

    Lets Play was a good topic, and I don’t think one that many people would have chosen. Personally I find them to be a win/win. Big gaming industries like Bethesda, Bioware, and 343 make money by selling their games to streamers early, the streamers get the benefit of playing the game early and doing something that they enjoy, and players and non-players get the benefit of learning how to tackle a level, or even just watching a playthrough of a game that they don’t personally have the time to do on their own. You are right though, streaming and Lets Plays take away the Player’s choice element of a game, which is a very important element indeed, the nice thing though, is that you don’t have to watch them if you don’t want to. That said, I do understand how incredibly tempting it is to not resort to watching a playthrough when you’ve been stuck on the same level for a month.

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