So hey, I read an interesting article the other day.
Since game-play videos blew in everybody’s face, and YouTubers started having advertising revenue thrown in their faces at fucking irresponsible velocities, now gaming companies have to do something to react. Some publishers already reacted by claiming copyright infringement on gaming videos, claiming unlicensed use of their intellectual property, and having their videos taken down. Again, proving how badly outdated their understanding of public relations is, and their understanding of internet-culture and its volatility to perceived threats to creative freedoms. So that whole embarrassing thing happened, and while some had to back down in the face of the public backslash, others are still planning and schemes to get their slick, black tentacles on at least some of the Let’s Play and gamer video revenue.
What’s more interesting is what developers are going to do in response to gamer videos. People like to be entertained, and people like the chance to see the game being played, before opening their wallets and handing out their money for something that might turn out to be a load of old, sweaty bollocks. So, lots of people watch them, and use them in making purchasing decisions, and good YouTube publicity makes a big difference in sales.
Developers are already modifying their practices to take advantage of their medium of free advertising, and people, such as the very sexy Mr. Cliffy B, are starting to make games with the aim of making them more fun to watch being played by other people. The obvious problem is that there is a difference between being fun to watch and fun to play, and that is not really an area where you want to start moving too far in the other direction. Watching someone fall on a skateboard and dive head first into a pile of fresh dog-extracts is something we are all delighted to watch, but it’s a lot less bloody fun to do it yourself, isn’t it?
This kind of development might mean tougher times for games that are piss boring for bystanders, like RPGs, strategy and adventure-games, while leading to a bigger surge for comedy, horro and simulator Games, like the Surgeon Simulator, Amnesia games or the Goat Simulator. It might lead to games seeing the red light that might have really good story-telling or engrossing game-play, just for putting outside observers to sleep, like your Harvest Moons and Civilizations.
It shouldn’t really be a threat to anyone, since there is enough market appeal even in the most marginal niches, for developers and publishers to make income out of, except the games industry has a bad phobia of half-measures: it’s all or fucking nothing with some companies. There’s been lots of sad examples of gaming publishers frenziedly chasing the latest trends in frantic fear of becoming obsolete and falling off the market, each competing about who can follow the trend the hardest. This should raise at least some bloody fears about developers starting to make their big titles exclusively for Youtubers and Let’s Play videos, at the expense of making games for their actual consumers. Because this is the only bloody industry that is bloated, dysfunctional and plain fuck-pickling retarded enough to do it.
The other awkward little question is ethics. Since Youtubers play a part in how people value and evaluate a game’s entertainment value, they are a nice, juicy target for publishers to exploit. Most Let’s Play videos are made purely for entertainment and contain less “hard” criticism towards the product, the makers don’t really have any responsibility over how they represent the product, or how much some random twat might enjoy it. Publishers might therefore feel tempted to manipulate Youtube representations, through manipulating the video makers with money, free content, prostitutes, flowers…whatever. A possible stick to the carrot of material “gifts”, might be the YouTube copyright valve: taking down negative videos and allowing more positive ones to stay online, or demanding authors to change their content, before allowing them through the censorship net.
The gaming industry has a lot of players who are not afraid of being a dick, nor being seen being one, and the concern here is that the Youtuber phenomenon might offer new venues for dicking.
Why not go and read the article here?