Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Are Developers Paying For Let's Play Videos?

We are all now accustomed to the barrage of video game, um, videos on YouTube via speed runs and Let's Play. Several aspiring individuals have become internet famous and developed a stable income from such ventures. A few developers have spoken against these videos and that said "one man businesses" making ad revenue from YouTube channels should be paying the dev's for a share of the profits. Why? Well, they're not making enough money from gamers playing their games. Duh.

And while there is growing concern that developers may be paying the bigger internet personalities to play their products, Gamasutra took the time to survey 325 developers to ask them if they pay for YouTube plays. Unsurprisingly most don't. Why? Well they haven't caught on to just how popular Let's Play videos are, and potential revenue it may generate. To note: the concern about dev's paying for a person to play a game is viewed in a similar light to a publisher asking a magazine to give a positive review to their product. While there are strict rules on the magazine/newspaper side, there are none for the internet. Some people may feel cheated by their internet heroes by promoting a game that might be crap.

The charts show just how little dev's are interested in Let's Play. They may not see the potential revenue from it, or some of the products are no longer in print (a number of Let's Play videos focus on retro games that can only be found on emulators or the occasional PSN, XBox Live, Nintendo Store. Few cover current games.) Only 5 developers paid a flat fee for YouTube gamers to play their products, and 2.1% for a revenue ad share. Just a bit over 19% of developers have considered it, but so few follow-through. On the other side, few have receive requests from said YouTuber's to get paid for playing.

I think most devs see paying someone to play their game akin to paying a reviewer to post something positive about their product. They won't do it because of the ethics behind it. At the same time, they don't have a problem with people playing their game. Right now the motto is: the less involvement, the better. But the survey does show that some devs are okay with paying for people to play their games, and promote them in such a manner. The shift may be starting soon where we see the next "GameGuy" being sponsored by Activision.


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