Flammable Penguins

Claire Blackshaw's Forest of Fun

Lets Play: Design Goldmine on YouTube

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Lets Play: Design Goldmine on YouTube
So about two years ago I discovered the Lets Play phenomnia on YouTube thanks to Kikoskia and his awesome X-Com playthough. Which was a game I love and have played many times. I quickly discovered this is a design goldmine.

Go to YouTube and search for "Lets Play" right now.

Key Uses
  • Discover or Investigate Games
  • First Timers: These are pre-compiled amatuer focus test.
  • Experienced: Shows you details of the game you would have never seen.
  • Low Investment: Financially and Time-wise

Some tips on how to best use these.

Save Time

My primary use is for games I don't have time to play, or old games I missed out on and don't have the system for. I try to play as many games as I can but time being so precious it's hard. I find I can watch these while doing other things at home. Also the information is richer in many contexts. Though you do miss out on the first hand experience.

The Commentator is the best Source

Switch Often, Sample as many as possible. Whether a game veteran or a first timer their stream of conciousness is so useful. Seeing parts of the game they are frustrated with or just don't click with is so brilliant. Also with experienced players you get so much value out of the community in such a condensed format. I watched playthrough of Cave Story which exposed me to so many things I was unaware of having played the game myself.

Don't Read the Comments

It's a waste of time and in some cases will make you super sad. Seriously stay away. Maybe read the top rated comments, and that's it. Too much time wasted.

Games you Suck at or Don't Enjoy

Well these guys do enjoy them, and are the audience. So let them get you excited about it and watch their skills show you the game as it's played by the community.

Volume low but audible, Treat it as work

The fact of the matter is most of the production values are terrible and the voices are not brilliant. Sometimes I hear a grating American accented voice (Sorry USA but you are high pitched in some parts of your country). Also sometimes the profanity gets bad and I have to just stop, but hey there are loads of clean ones out there.

These are your audience, not your Peers

Okay firstly that's a great thing because the raw opinion is so useful. Though as a designer you've learnt (or will learn) to apply a sanity filter to raw consumer feedback. Remember to apply it in this case, and if you need to learn how well this is a good place to start.

Overall I cannot recommend this trend highly enough to designers as a useful research tool.

Question: Any other designers watching Lets Play videos as research?