Note: This is a post from this giant bomb thread, but it is something I wanted to talk about on my blog at some point and seemed reasonably articulate in that regard.
Okay so I have a vaguely successful Youtube Channel at this point (300,000 views, most of them since late March), I think a lot of that had to do with just random ass luck but also playing a new game (Bloodborne to start with). I have zero production values other than trimming videos and pretty much just straight upload stuff from the PS4 with no commentary, I do have “ambitions” of becoming a dedicated LPer on Something Awful or what have you but simply don’t have the setup for it at present, nor is there much evidence that doing so would cause the channel to grow. I think talking on a mic and having a facecam would, but not necessarily having high quality videos.
The esteemed Supergreatfriend, the best LPer in the universe, only has like 13,500 subscribers; and a random douchebag like Kailvin has roughly the same amount. I suppose there’s another lesson to be learned here and that is to buddy up with someone else who has a youtube channel, for example Northernlion’s wife is a twitch partner and has 43,000 subscribers on youtube. I haven’t done this yet but it could feasibly happen in the future when I’m actually in LP mode and not just upload a bunch of stuff mode.
So what sets me apart aside from playing new games? I happen to be good at games, like almost every game. Okay, maybe not Rocket League. I think that + luck + relevancy/immediacy is what causes a channel to grow. You might want to start out with a smaller game with a devoted Reddit community, this is sort of what I wound up doing with Helldivers and it’s possible simply having a couple dozen videos with a few hundred views was enough to propel all the Bloodborne videos to whatever “heights.” As far as retaining the audience, well my current Bloodborne videos get like a dozen views in a couple weeks time (whereas some of the ones closer to release have over 10,000); I mean it’s just a vicious decline due to the average attention span of the modern video game player. I do however get 1-3 subscribers a day and theoretically that will eventually help to outweigh the desolation of interest in anything older than one month/one week/one day/one hour.
A large question is “how important is charisma?” Well, it certainly is important but maybe not on the absolute bottom, I think charisma is more of a thing that matters later on, that’s what keeps viewers watching Kripparrian throughout his entire adult life; early on what’s more important is playing new stuff, playing it reasonably well, and uploading something every single day; possibly a lot of things. If we look at the Men Drinkin’ Coffee, perhaps the most charming bunch of gentleman on the face of the earth, they’ve been at it for at least 2 years and they only have 4,000 subscribers; I could feasibly reach that number (assuming a natural growth) in the same time period without ever saying a single word in any video I do.
As far as what games to play, well play something that you can distinguish yourself with; if you play an adventure game that plays out almost exactly the same as everyone else’s run then there’s not really any reason to watch yours over someone else’s that the viewer is presumably already familiar with. This is why Bloodborne is such a great game to start with, there’s very disparate approaches to the game and there just weren’t a ton of people doing Logarius’ Wheel stuff at the moment when I started, which led to at least like 40-50 thousand views on that concept alone.
So if I wanted to start afresh I would begin with Dark Souls 3 when that comes out and try to play with weirdass weapons and play with them well.
For more evidence of the recency issue: when it was released I did a Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition run through the weirdest mode with the new characters Lady and Trish and it has done pretty well aside from copyright issues (apparently every song and almost every cutscene in the original is content ID matched); one of the videos is over 1000 views now and I’m sure several others will be there at some point. The game is like 7 years old or something, but not this edition.
I’ve also done Arkham Knight videos 3 or so weeks after it came out and almost every video is still in the single digit view count as far as I know. Now granted while Batman has a huge skill ceiling it is difficult to actually show that off and people just aren’t that interested in it on that level. DMC has an even higher skill ceiling but whereas absolute perfection is what you go for in Arkham in DMC you can still play well and occasionally take a few hits; which leads to a much different viewing experience from player to player. So DMC is a more specialized game and I played it right when it came out and this is the reason why the videos do well but the Arkham videos do terribly.