How YouTube Let's Players Help Indie Developers

Why free exposure is never a bad thing especially for an indie game.

YouTube’s gaming community has grown exponentially over the past few years. Gaming is now one of YouTube’s biggest draws, with millions of users logging into the site every day to watch their favorite YouTube Let’s Players as they share interesting new games with the world. The games they play can be anything from the latest AAA title to the most obscure indie game.

There really is no rule of thumb when it comes to what these channels will play and why. However, there’s no denying these YouTubers draw a large audience, with each subsequent video posted garnering almost 3 million views each. YouTube Let’s Players may have some sponsorships (Loot Crate, Audible, Crunchyroll), yet there’s something inherently admirable about watching a popular YouTuber play through an indie game.

This is a critical form of free promotion and marketing for an indie developer who may not have the means to put their game in front of an audience of millions. Certainly, these YouTubers gain ad revenue from each video and some indie games are so incredible they don't really require the promotion via YouTube.

While it’s great watching someone play through AAA games you may not have the cash to afford, it’s another thing entirely to watch a Let’s Player screech in fear at a solid indie horror game. Some would say that putting a game’s content online for people to watch would discourage them from purchasing the game themselves.

However, we see things a little bit differently. To begin, it’s true that some viewers would rather watch someone else play the game than purchase it themselves. Yet having a good preview of how much fun a game is from someone you watch regularly and have come to trust can be just the incentive you need to make that purchase. 

Indie games don’t have the kind of marketing available to them that AAA games do. You’ve probably heard enough news about Titanfall 2, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, and Battlefield 1 to make your head spin. But how much have you heard about indie games like Civilization 6, Seasons After Fall, Abzu, or Sneak Thief? This is why it’s nice to be able to discover new indie games through the suggestive power of YouTube Let’s Plays. We all live busy lives, and sometimes games just slip under our radar.

Thankfully, YouTube Let’s Players do this for a living. Not just to entertain you as they joke and jest on camera, but also because they genuinely enjoy gaming. We here at Indie Obscura also cover games because we love the industry. We share titles we're passionate about with you because we sincerely hope you’ll hop on Steam, or jump on your console, and grab the game for yourself. 

The simple act of giving a game exposure can be lifesaving to an indie developer, and we tip our hats to YouTube Let’s Players like Markiplier who frequently plays games off of Game Jolt. In addition, there are countless others (Pewdiepie, Cupquake) who also do their part in giving indie developers an extra hand. These people aren't tearing prospective buyers away by sharing the game through a free medium like YouTube. Instead, they're showing millions of people why these indie games deserve all the attention they can get. 

For more indie game opinion pieces here at Indie Obscura, be sure to check out some of our other features including how the new Steam review changes hurt indie developers, whether or not the ARK: Survival Evolved paid DLC is bad business, and a look at the extraordinary people behind 8-Bit Salute!   

Morgan is a writer, indie game lover, and socially awkward coffee addict. Need something? Morgan can be reached at or if you like, you can say hello using GIFs on Twitter.


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