In recent years, YouTube has been dominated by “Let’s Play” videos that show people playing popular video games and adding their own funny commentary.
The trend can baffle some people. A recent South Park episode even parodied the gulf between those who love “Let’s Play” videos and those who just don’t get it.
When Dan Tibbets joined YouTube gaming giant Machinima as its chief content officer last September, he wasn’t sure what to make of “Let’s Play” videos.
“I wanted to find out what the special thing was that makes so many millions of people watch them on a daily basis,” Tibbets told Business Insider.
This need to understand wasn’t just a matter of curiosity for Tibbets. It was a necessity.
Machinima is one of the biggest purveyors of “Let’s Play” videos in the world. After studying the videos, the appeal became clear.
“A lot of the content that Machinima has that is game-play based is really about personalities,” Tibbet explains. “What they are really doing is entertaining a mass audience through their stories about the game or around the game or their lives, using game-play as a background. They are incredible radio hosts, comedians, writers, and on-air personalities. When you really look at it, it’s a group of storytellers and filmmakers.”
Tibbets has been developing “Let’s Play” talent and assessing how Machinima can use them in other forms of entertainment like talk shows, animated shows, and live-action comedy programs on YouTube, on television, or in movies.
One of Machinima’s most popular “Let’s Play” gamers, Jerome Aceti (aka JeromeASF), has amassed a dedicated audience of more than 3.5 million subscribers by making videos around Minecraft.
Tibbets says he recognised Aceti’s talent for comedy, and Aceti has now been working with the Machinima team to develop a variety of new programs — including animated projects and the recently announced “Jerome ASF’s The Baka Chronicles.”
Here’s one of Aceti’s most popular “Let’s Play” videos:
Aceti is even moving into traditional media, though that too is based around his Minecraft persona. He hosts the television show “Talking Minecraft” on Fusion, along with another Let’s Play Minecraft gamer, Jordan “Captain Sparklez” Maron.
“Jerome has so many other dimensions to him that you want to harness creatively,” Tibbets said.
It may only be a matter of time before Aceti breaks out of the gaming niche.