Over the last few weeks there has been an uproar in the YouTube gaming community due to a segment from Jimmy Kimmel Live. In the video, Kimmel mocks the community of people who watch Let’s Plays because he doesn’t understand why anyone would want to spend time watching someone else play a video game. The video was posted to his official YouTube channel and received some serious backlash, ending up with the most dislikes he has ever had on one video. In an attempt to pacify some of the disgruntled gamers and game watchers, he reached out to two Let’s Players: Markiplier and Miss Mae. He invited them to come on the show and teach him a bit about what it’s like to make a Let’s Play and why people would want to watch them. But despite their best efforts, it didn’t really seem like Kimmel got the message, or even wanted to try (nice Power Glove, Kimmel). And I get it. For many, Let’s Plays are a ridiculous concept.

 

So allow me to explain some of the reasons why many people watch Let’s Plays.

 

1.  Don’t own a game console/the game in question:

 

Many people simply don’t have access to the hardware needed to play certain games or they don’t have the means to obtain the game in question. This could be because of monetary issues or because they’re young and their parents don’t let them, or for any other number of reasons. Since they can’t play it themselves, they choose to view the game through someone else’s game play.

 

2. Don’t have the time to play the game:

 

Some games can take upwards of eight hours to play all the way through – and that’s without any easter eggs or alternate endings. This is a lot of time to dedicate which some people simply don’t have. Watching or listening to a Let’s Play is passive. A viewer can put on a Let’s Play in the background while they work or study.

 

3. You own the game but are stuck on a certain part:

 

Video games can be confusing and difficult. If a gamer gets stuck, it’s useful to watch someone else teach them how to progress. Videos of gameplay are also helpful in viewing alternate endings and easter eggs which the gamer may not have discovered in their playthrough.

 

4. The video creator can do something really cool:

 

There are many highly skilled gamers who can shows of some impressive skills. Perhaps the gamer can 100% an extremely hard game in only one run through, maybe they know how to complete a really difficult achievement or they can do an impressive speedrun of a game. Maybe you like watching the pro Esport gamers compete.

 

5. Watching people fail at games is funny:

 

Let’s face it, whether it’s yelling in frustration when they get stuck, or laughing at a ridiculous glitch or screaming at a jump scare, watching someone else fail epically is hilarious. This is why Let’s Plays of “Five Night’s at Freddy’s” became so viral on YouTube.

 

6. The way the Let’s Player plays the game is entertaining:

 

Each person has a different style when it comes to how they play a game. Some people like to explore every nook and cranny of a game while others shoot first and ask questions later. Others enhance the video by creating games or jokes within a game. These shenanigans are exciting and viewers tune in to see just what the gamer will do next.

 

7. You like their commentary:

 

YouTubers have an online presence and their commentary while they play is often incredibly funny and entertaining. A viewer may choose to treat the video more like a podcast and listen to the gamer as if they were a vlogger.

 

8. You are looking for a new game:

 

Many loyal audience members trust their favorite Let’s Player’s taste in games. If the viewer sees the gamer playing a new game and enjoying it, they can take this as a recommendation that the game is worth purchasing.

Lastly, it is possible that the viewer just really likes watching people play video games and that’s okay. Let’s try not shame other people for what they like (unless it’s illegal) even if we don’t completely understand it. Or maybe you could give it a try for yourself and see what all the fuss is about.

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