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Do Let's Players Deserve To Be Paid

Updated on November 13, 2015
  • A newer phenomena on YouTube among gamers is the art of the "Let's Play." On YouTube, people that go by the name Let's Players record themselves playing a game. There are many Let's Players on YouTube, as can be seen on Wikipedia, which shows a list of over 50 Let's Players.

  • A lot of these people turn this into a full time job, recording a video a day for each game they are currently playing through. Game developing and publishing companies often pay these people to record themselves playing through their games. In 2014, 26% of Let's Players with 5,000+ subscribers cut deals with game publishing companies. One can subscribe to a Let's Player's channel on YouTube, which will provide the subscriber with regular updates on new videos uploaded on the person's channel.

  • Since a lot of these videos have colorful commentary, humor, amusement, information sharing, the high entertainment value is clear and self-evident. Let's Players get paid via ad revenue, merchandise relating to the channel, donations...etc. Many of these Let's Players agree that since they are providing free PR for these games, they should be paid. However, there are people such as Phil Fish, a developer, who thinks Let's Players are basically pirates: stealing from gaming companies.

  • "Youtubers should have to pay out a huge portion of their revenue to the developers from which they steal all their content," Phil Fish said. "Ad revenue should be shared with developers. This should be built into YouTube. Anything else is basically piracy."

Comments criticizing the Let's Player community, such as Phil Fish's, have opened debate on what Let's Players deserve to be paid. On one hand, some people have the opinion that Let's Play videos are a natural extension of advertising, one that should be compensated as such with fair pay.On the other hand, others such as Nintendo, believe that YouTube ad revenue should be shared among Let's Players and gaming companies.
No matter where you stand on the issue around payment for Let's Players, it is undeniable the Let's Play community is growing tremendously in popularity; higher popularity means more viewers, which means more free PR for gaming companies, so it is not unreasonable that people should expect Let's Players to demand payment for the free PR. As an example of the Let's Play community's growing popularity, Let's Player "PewDiePie" has 40,206,082 subscribers and a plethora of videos that have millions of views.
On the positive side of all things Let's Play, entertaining videos are provided that are personable and create a viewing experience similar to playing or watching a game with a friend.


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