Chips and popcorn out, off to the sofa – we watch computer games. Read correctly: PC games can be played not only by yourself. If you want, you can also watch others play – the so-called Let’s Plays . Let’ s players are sometimes real stars and earn a lot of clicks and money by filming themselves playing and letting others watch.
Let’s Plays have been around almost as long as there have been computer games. The name for it originated around 2007 and is a neologism from the English request “Let’s play”, i.e. “Let’s play (together)”. Let’ s players are something like the explaining bears of the computer game scene. They play games, show their strategies and tricks, contribute a few opinions and comments of their own – and post the whole thing as a video on platforms like YouTube or Twitch online.
Sometimes the gaming stars document their gaming activities live and talk to their audience in parallel, sometimes they produce ready-made videos and the exchange takes place in the comment column.
Let’s players can actually be anyone who has a video game and a camera. In the meantime, there is an almost unmanageable number of gamers who invite you to play and discuss together.
However, some of them have achieved particular fame and are partly known beyond the computer game scene.
Gronkh about is a name that certainly many have heard before. Erik Range, as his real name is, was one of the first German Let’s Players and has been active on his YouTube channel since 2010. Around five million subscribers accompany him on his digital adventures. In addition to his Let’s Play videos, the trained IT specialist is also a computer game developer himself, has founded several companies and won various awards for his videos.
Simon Unge (real name Simon Wiefels) has been involved in the online video scene since 2011. He mainly played the open-world game Minecraft on his channels and also organized various large-scale projects with other gaming stars in it. Unge caused some media buzz in 2014 due to a public conflict with his network Mediakraft Networks, he reaches about 2 million fans through his various channels.
Elias “Eli” Nerlich, on the Internet as EliasN97 or Eligella , once started as an e-sportsman and participated so successfully in FIFA -competitions that he became a professional player for Hertha BSC. Since 2017, he has also let other FIFA fans watch him kick digital balls on his YouTube channel, where he has nearly 1.5 million subscribers.
Let’s Play videos are very popular among game-savvy kids and teens (but also among an older audience). Here they can learn about a game and form an opinion, can pick up tips for specific tasks or challenges, or just watch because it’s fun.
But let’s play videos are not only watched because of the games: The Let’s players themselves are often real stars as well. They often have a specific theme, so they primarily play games from a specific genre. Many comment on their videos in a very funny or entertaining way, making it an experience all its own. Their fans are therefore often loyal followers who also find a community among themselves in which to exchange ideas and make friends over a shared hobby – while the gaming influencers themselves sometimes earn a lot of money from advertising, merchandise or events.
Watch Let’s Plays together with your child. This will help you get a feel for what excites your child about their favorite influencers. In addition: Let’s Play videos can also be a good way for you parents to get an insight into a hobby of your child and maybe start a conversation about it.
If your child is younger, make sure they don’t watch Let’s Play videos of games that aren’t yet rated for their age. Talk to your child about how gaming stars make their money and help them critically examine product placements and advertising, as well as fundraising appeals. This is how you promote your child’s media literacy.