Do you think Let's Plays boost sales and visibility or cost companies sales

Dio

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Apr 3, 2013
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I'm on the side of 'visibility,' but I was talking with someone else who doesn't buy games at all now and just watches LPs. He doesn't wanna buy the game after finishing an LP either since he feels he got his fill. What's your opinion on this? I don't know if there's any actual numbers, but I'm curious. He's also probably a minority.

Note: I realise sometimes this is a case by case scenario. Some games would be toiling in obscurity if not for the LP community 'showing off' an awesome game that suddenly had a huge rise in sales. After PewDiePie played Skate 3 it actually went back into the top sales charts for the year of 2014, even though it had been four years since the game came out.

However, some game companies also seem to think that LPing certain properties hurts their business and issue game channels with takedowns for infringing content.

EDIT: Recent discovery that I'd missed when I made the thread. I was quite surprised to see these numbers from Toby Fox's poll regarding Undertale:

 

gigantor21

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Jan 2, 2013
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In most cases, I don't think they do enough of either to change the sales trajectory all that much.
 

LegendofLex

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Outside of a handful of examples where there's a really popular video related to a game that got otherwise pretty small amounts of attention and the game suddenly shoots up in popularity, I doubt they do much one way or the other.
 

DNAbro

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Nov 18, 2013
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Pewdiepie let's played Skate 3 and it charted in the U.K around the same time, years after the game came out. They do make an impact and it is usually positive.
 

James Scott

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May 24, 2014
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If you're an indie with no marketing budget then yes. If you're a AAA publisher I don't think it'll make a noticeable difference
 

Dio

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I don't think it really makes a huge effect in the grand scheme of things.
Some of the greater examples have been quite drastic, though. There are certain games who owe their entire fad status to having been given exposure by famous let's players (see: Five Night at Freddy's, Goat Simulator)
 

Platy

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Depends on the game ... Story heavy games cost sales (adventures and the like) but gameplay heavy games (mario maker, minecraft) boost sales
 

Brazil

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I know for a fact that a really obscure Brazilian horror game went from zero to hero after PewDiePie played it. They attributed at least 1 million copies sold to that video.
 

Guevara

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I'll be honest: sometimes I watch Let's Plays instead of buying a game if I'm feeling lazy.
 

Flandy

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I think most people who would watch a lets play instead of actually buying a game probably weren't interested enough to buy it the game in the first place.
 

Easy_D

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Marketing people are good at their job, youtubers wouldn't be doing sponsored content if it wasn't a net profit for the companies that they partner with for those videos.

In short, yes. By a fair margin I'd wager. I'm also guessing youtubers ruined our chances of ever getting a Frictional/Chinese Room collab ever again :(. Haven't seen a single Youtube "personality" who didn't shit massively on the game. Yet people seemed to love SOMA, which I find shares a lot more in common with AMFP than the original Amnesia.
 

Weebos

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I think it greatly depends on the game. Smaller games seem to benefit more noticeably from high profile Let's Plays. I can't imagine they move the needle much on AAA games though.
 

Takao

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I think it really depends on the game. I can see Let's Plays absolutely killing the sales potential of a visual novel or other narrative heavy games. On the flip side, games that focus on gameplay can probably get a big boost if it's something that looks fun.
 
Aug 29, 2009
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Not GAF, lol
I've bought quite a few games from Let's Plays.

Metal Gear Solid, Tomadachi Life, some bridge building game, and a few others I forget.

Absolutely they influence sales. If they didn't, you wouldn't see developers attempting to make "Let's Play Bait" type titles.
 

enzo_gt

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Jun 7, 2009
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I've heard a lot of accounts from both sides, but I think the potential for dissuading someone from experiencing something because they've just vicariously experienced it or because it no longer looks worthwhile to them is a bit greater than "wow, this looks fun, I should buy it now!"

Really tough call though, it's clear Let's Plays have been huge for some indie games, but you never really get a clear indication on the games that don't go viral or people don't jump on with esteemed interest early on.
 

Zerin

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Largely irrelevant, but all things have outliers (Skate 3 in this case).

LPs are just a data point in considering a purchase personally if I want to get past review/prepared footage.
 

davepoobond

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depends on the type of game i would say. indie games benefit, big games its a wash.

for purely cinematic games, i can see how they would suffer severely indie or not.
 

jahasaja

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Not sure, my game was featured by a famous lets play with over 500000 views. Did not amount to many sales.

He even liked the game..
 

Easy_D

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I think you're underestimating the power big Youtubers have these days.
Yeah, they influence millions of people's thoughts I'd bet, the big ones have insane reach and they cater to young people with malleable minds too ;P. I wonder when the YouTube bubble is gonna pop, it seems to have reached its zenith with guys like Pewdiepie. I hope it doesn't bite people who rely on it as their sole source of income in the ass too hard.
 

singhr1

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I think Until Dawn is a great example of how a game this year basically had its entire marketing campaign done by YouTube and Twitch. It wasn't on many people's radar until then
 
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The customers who'd be satisfied by simply watching the gameplay are probably not the sort of people you want to build a customer foundation anyway.
 

Kieli

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The biggest streamers like Pewdiepie and Markiplier can definitely boost sales of indie games.

For triple-AAA titles? I don't think it makes a difference. It may sway the small base of people on the fence.
 

Dio

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I think most people who would watch a lets play instead of actually buying a game probably weren't interested enough to buy it the game in the first place.
I don't think this is entirely true for things that are heavily linear, narrative titles. You will experience it in exactly the same, or almost exactly the same, way the Youtuber who played it did - for games that have combat systems and the like, no two playthroughs are 100% identical. Not so with, say, linear VNs that some famous LPer decided he'd do a series on and everyone who watched the LP wouldn't get anything extra from playing through it again by themselves.
 

Burt

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First thing that comes to mind is how LPs saved Until Dawn, considering the (lack of) marketing it had. Probably had a huge effect on Rocket League too, if we're bundling streaming in. It can make a huge positive difference for nearly any non-AAA game that doesn't have a huge marketing budget tied to it.
 
Oct 11, 2009
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There is no way you can EVER proof any way or the other but you can say for sure that having the LP around does spread the word and gets people to know your products more then if it was not there.
 

Nairume

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It depends on the game. Games that have enough variables going on to where a given LP isn't going to either show you everything the game has to offer or the sole way of completing it probably aren't going to do much. On the other hand, one-and-done kind of games that show everything on the first pass and don't really have much in the way of switching things up could get hurt by them. Anecdotal of course, but I've known people who have passed up on linear and/or story heavy games in favor of just watching/reading LPs. I obviously can't make any claims to whether or not people like that add up enough to damage a game's chances, but it wouldn't surprise me if it were actually the case. It also wouldn't surprise me if said LPs equally drove people to try said games out regardless of being spoiled on them, though.
 

M3z_

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I've been influenced both ways. There have been circumstance where I have watched a game get played and instantly known I now wanted to play it. I have also seen games be played and realized the LP gave me all I really wanted out of the game. Generally it plays a positive role or none on my buying decisions though simply because I tend to only watch LPs of things I am tangentially interested in or have already played. Anything that I am definitely interested in but have not played I tend to avoid until I have played it.
 

yatesl

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Depends on the game ... Story heavy games cost sales (adventures and the like) but gameplay heavy games (mario maker, minecraft) boost sales
Absolutely this. A game like The Last of Us, TellTale games - it'd hurt (how much is up for debate). On the flipside, games that are pure gameplay - Dark Souls, Binding of Isaac, Mario Maker - benefit from it.

And that's ignoring the game of the month by Pewdepie, and the rest.
 

The Ummah

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I purchased Contradiction over the weekend because of the hilarious Giant Bomb play through.

Generally though, if I'm watching a play through of a title, I'm not looking to purchase it anytime soon. When I do, I'll just watch a couple videos and pick it up when I'm not hooked on a game already.
 

Nothing1016

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Indie games, sure. Any AAA game from Ubisoft, Microsoft, EA, Sony, Square, Capcom, Nintendo, Konami (lol), etc. probably not. Overall, lets plays have a negligible impact on the market.
 

Ivan A Nguyen

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My son is 5. He watches Family Gaming TV on the Wii U youtube app. If he likes the game then he'll usually pester me to buy it. I've bought minecraft on a tablet and on the PS3, for multiplayer, due to their playing. I've gotten Soccer Physics and epic dismount due to them too.
 

Xeteh

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Depends on who it is. I remember a while back someone on Giant Bomb (I think it was Jeff) talking about how after PewDiePie did some videos with Skate 3 well after its original release date it shot up the sales charts for a bit. I have no doubt if he or other huge streams/youtubers do coverage of games that they get a solid boost in sales.
 

GhostTrick

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On multiplayer games, I think they have a good effects. But on story driven games, I think it has a negative impact.
 

Sheentak

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Multi-player games, Simulators and games with strong gameplay are big winners. Story driven games are losers, for example i watched all of Untold dawn and Gone Home on youtube.
So i think it totally depends on the genre. Undertale got huge on youtube and has a massive fanbase, but How many "Fans" have played the game?
 

yanipheonu

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I can see how it wouldn't boost sales. Unless you're game clearly sucks and falls apart during a let's play. And even then, they say any advertisement is good advertisement.

Not that it matters. The companies could utterly hate Let's plays, they'll keep playing.
 

Ploid 3.0

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I use let's plays to see if I'd like a game. I almost got FFXIII Lightning Returns, but it seem like the time limit will make me hate it. I use them as the new reviews, look at how gaf couldn't wait on Giant Bombs Quick Look when they first started.
 

Drkirby

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I think for smaller titles, they give a big boost to sales. For larger/older games, I don't think they make a difference. The only way they could make you lose sales is if the game sucked, or had zero replayability and watching someone was just as good as playing it.