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Not Everyone Wants to Be a Pilot

How horror's renewed popularity through streaming might hurt the genre in the longterm.

If games are unique due to their interactive nature, no genre better underscores how this changes the dynamic between the creator and the consumer than horror.

Scaring myself in the dark for others has become one of my favorite, if unexpected, regular features on Giant Bomb.

In a book, you flip the page and the story moves forward. In a movie, you can cover your eyes and everything keeps going. Jason will continue to march down the hallway, whoever is next on the chopping block will die, and the credits will inevitably roll. That’s not the case with a horror game, though, and the ability to see what’s around the corner relies on the player to literally see what’s around the corner and press on.

For some people, that’s a line they’re unwilling to cross.

There’s some great stuff happening in horror cinema right now--James Wan has been a refreshing push on the glut of CGI-infused crap--but games are where I’m having most of my most terrifying moments. It’s why I wrote about how the Oculus Rift may be too much for some people. But based on my own time streaming horror games on Giant Bomb, so many of these games are already too much for people.

Just because people don’t want to play horror games, though, isn’t to suggest they don’t want to experience horror games. This is a key difference, one only more profound recently, as the genre has experienced a surprising bump in popularity that has nothing to do with players wanting to play. Instead, horror gaming’s continued relevance has much to owe to streaming. It’s enormous YouTube personalities streaming their scream-filled experiences on the Internet, and racking up lots of views (and dollars) along the way.

Take PewDiePie, for instance. You might not care for his shriekish nature (I don’t), but he’s also the most popular personality on YouTube, with more than 14 million people currently following him. Some of his most popular videos are reacting to horror games like Slender and Amnesia and complications of those reactions.

This doesn't really surprise me. Of anything I’ve done on the site, streaming horror games under the Spookin’ With Scoops moniker has generated the most passionate response from the community. Even though it only appeals to a niche audience--we probably max out at around 1,000 people watching at once--the people who tune in for Spookin’ With Scoops don’t just like the feature, they love the feature.

The response has caused me to pause on more than one occasion, too. I’ve written about how some horror prompts a “this is no longer fun, why am I doing this?” reaction. Amnesia did that, and several Oculus Rift experiments had me looking for the off button, as well. But I’ve been getting just as much out of streaming horror games as the people who enjoy watching me do it, too. Even though it’s just a number in a corner, knowing there are hundreds of people watching me play (perform?) is its own form of encouragement. These people need me! If I don’t play this game, who will? Even though my setup for playing horror games on my own is remarkably similar to the setup for streaming on Spookin’ With Scoops, it’s an entirely different experience. My nerves are calmer, and I take a certain sense of pride in being able to finish one of the games we set out to play. I didn’t just finish that game, we finished that game, and reading messages from users later who tell me they wouldn’t have played a game without watching me struggle through--that’s cool. It feels good.

The original concept for Spookin’ With Scoops was born out of last year’s Big Live Live Show Live. One of the reasons for that annual day-long nonsense was forcing ourselves to come up with new subscriber video ideas. We need to fill time between the bigger segments, so we were encouraged to come up with some ideas, even if it didn’t go anywhere after the show was over. Around this time, I had a sneaking suspicion I’d be moving back to Chicago at some point. I didn’t know when, but the passing of my father made the move a question of when, not if. So it made sense to start learning what this whole live streaming thing was about. But what the hell would people want to watch? The most successful material on Giant Bomb is what’s born out of our individual strengths, and besides Ryan, I was the only one who genuinely loved the horror genre.

It makes me wonder about the future of the genre, though.

Whatever one thinks of PewDiePie, his influence on YouTube is undeniable, and horror games have played a huge role in that.

A couple of people told me they’d purchased Outlast after watching me stream roughly half of the game, knowing full well they had no intention of playing it themselves. Good horror--games, movies, literature, haunted houses--are built on surprise. When the surprise is removed, much of the reason it’s enjoyable is stripped away. If people are increasingly looking towards playthroughs of horror games as a way to enjoy them, could it begin hurting the bottom line?

“In our case, the goal was to make the scariest game ever! [laughs]” said Outlast designer David Châteauneuf in our recent interview. “Without really thinking it could affect the sales. I don’t think it will affect the sales that much, but it’s definitely something--I was on a panel at PAX Prime and there was a guy [who said] “I love horror games, I wish I could play them but I’m too chicken. Is there a trick? Is there something you guys can tell me so I can play those games?” I had no answer for the guy, except to crank up the volume and turn on all the lights. You might enjoy it a little bit. There’s no way I can explain how to play horror games without shitting in your pants.”

More than two million people watched (most of) PewDiePie’s videos playing through all of Outlast. I know that Outlast hasn’t sold more than two million copies, not even close. When I asked about the prospects of an Outlast sequel, Châteauneuf admitted the sales weren’t there yet.

“For sure, everybody that play Outlast wants Outlast 2,” he said. “That might be something that we have to take into consideration. At the same time, we know that there’s a lot of players cracking the game, so we’re losing sales at some point. If we don’t have enough money, we might also try to adjust on what’s going to be the next title.”

The volume of interest in horror games on YouTube, Twitch, and other places show a growing demand for horror, but it’s also demand for watching people playing horror games, not playing. Everyone wants to ride the rollercoaster, but not everyone wants to be the one sitting in front.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
123 Comments Refresh
Edited by HiCZoK


Good Article tho, Patrick (still reading)

Posted by JayDee

if when, not if?

Posted by VierasTalo

Dammit Patrick, I was right up on the screen when that header popped up.

Posted by Rirse

@hiczok said:


Good Article tho, Patrick (still reading)

Edited by JJBSterling
@rirse said:

@hiczok said:


Good Article tho, Patrick (still reading)

Edited by moregrammarplz

I'm definitely one of those people who loves Spookin' but would never play any of those games.

I'm an anxious person. I get super nervous just watching Patrick play those games. But, as weird and embarrassing as it sounds, having him there lets me experience scary stuff while also keeping my connection to the slightly less frightening world outside. Since I don't know anyone who plays these games in real life, Patrick is my lifeline through which I can wade out into the world of horror games for a little bit.

In a way, Spooking with Scoops is like a meta-horror film about a normal dude (Patrick) going through some seriously unnerving shit (like playing Oculus Rift horror games in a dark room in the middle of the night, jesus christ). It's a story, and the protagonist is Patrick. You want to see him succeed, but even when he doesn't, you understand why he turned the game off and just sat there holding his head in his hands.

Posted by Treythalomew

This is true for more than just horror games. I watched a guy on release day play all of Gone Home and went from getting ready to buy it to never needing to. The experience was enough for me to not need to do it on my own. Even today with it on sale half off, I have no desire to see any of it again because it was basically a movie that I watched someone else walk through.

Posted by StriderNo9

Totally agree.

Edited by gaftra

I really have no desire to play a horror games but really enjoy the Spookin segments. The horror genre hasn't been something I've thought about since Silent Hill 3 and doubt that I'll come back to it.

Much in the same way DOTA is entertaining to watch but is not something I want to play, I really enjoy checking out these games.

Edited by joshwent

Not trying to be mean at all, but I think Patrick is actually proving himself wrong here.

He talks about the huge recent surge in popularity of horror games, and that some of that is thanks to people streaming their playthroughs. He then comments that many people still plan on buying those games (sometimes to not even play them!) after they have seen most of the content through a stream. So it would seem that streaming is helping those games sell.

Then there's a quote from the designer of Outlast saying:

“For sure, everybody that play Outlast wants Outlast 2,” he said. “That might be something that we have to take into consideration. At the same time, we know that there’s a lot of players cracking the game, so we’re losing sales at some point.

He's clearly saying that their problem with sales is because many players are illegally downloading the game, which has nothing to do with streaming. So Patrick's thesis here of:

How horror's renewed popularity through streaming might hurt the genre in the longterm.

is actually proven wrong by his own article. Right?


The reality seems pretty simple. People who watch horror streams, for the most part, never intended to buy the game, so the dev isn't loosing any hypothetical money. And thanks to streaming, they're actually gaining massive free publicity that they'd never would have been able to afford on their own.

And piracy might hurt game sales.

The End.

Edited by Vashyron

I like watching people Horror games, especially with the current trend of being totally helpless, because there are so many Horror games that I just won't play because my instinct is to run up to it and club it before I run away cause said clubbing did nothing and having that monster slash me open and my intestines fall out...where was I? Oh yes, I don't like not being able to hit things in my horror games.

Posted by Milkman

I am definitely one of those people who just likes to watch (aww yeah). I just don't think I have it in me to play games like Amnesia or Outlast but I love watching them on Spooking.

I'm not sure if there's a solution for getting money from these people though, besides some really gross shit like restricting people from streaming your game or something. Also, while I think this kind of streaming obviously effects horror the most, I think it extends to other genres as well. Recently, I've seen a lot of people saying that they just watched Beyond on YouTube or even games like Last of Us. As games become more story focused, streaming is definitely something that developers are going to have to be concerned with and I don't think the business solutions to this stuff leads anywhere good.

Posted by MemphisSlim

I'm not sure what depresses me more:

1) That devs making cool experiences enjoyed by hundred of thousands are seeing very little income from it, or

2) That I'm not remotely surprised :(

Posted by DorkyMohr

I think that the argument that "Well I watched a lets play, so now I don't have to play the game" has been brought up before and I think it probably does more to bring more players in than away. For horror games that conversion rate is probably a lot smaller given their nature, some don't want to experience that and probably would never regardless of someone streaming it.

Personally I'm someone who really didn't have any interest in horror games, but starting with footage of the first Slender and eventually Spookin With Scoops, I'd say that my interest in horror games is higher than before, which is a least a factor in my decision to check out a game or not.

Posted by Milkman

@joshwent: I would think that those people who bought Outlast just to support it, even if they didn't plan on playing it are a pretty small minority. I'm sure they exist but I think there's way more people who will just watch Patrick play through Outlast and get what they want out of it without buying it.

Posted by hp1703

@moregrammarplz: Well written response, and I couldn't agree more.

Watching Spooking with Scoops, to me, is not about being too afraid to play horror games. Whenever I try to play a horror game, my logical mind takes over so much that I end up pulling myself completely out of the experience. My mind doesn't allow the immersion needed to enjoy the game.

But there's something about these horror games being so frightening for Patrick, that I'm able to empathize with his feelings during the show. Watching him play makes me just as nervous and anxious as he is, and both of these feelings are far more intense during Spooking With Scoops than they would be if I was playing the game by myself. It's only through that empathy, and my desire to see Patrick the protagonist succeed, that I'm able to enjoy this genre at all.

Posted by mbkish

Hate PewDiePie, love Spookin' with Scoops. Honestly, I wouldn't play most of the games you play on Spookin', not because I am not able to, but mostly because I just don't want to. I am glad you played through Outlast because, after the initial quick look, I had written it off. On the other hand, I played through Machine for Pigs because I like the original and wanted to. I get see games that I normally wouldn't play as well as get exposed to games that I may have never heard of.

Posted by MemphisSlim

Also: I think Scoops is "doing it right" by cutting playthroughs short, so viewers have even more incentive to check out more of the game if it looks interesting. And GB in general tends to only do full runs of older titles, avoiding the cannibalization of modern indie sales.

Edited by Deathpooky

I wonder how much of this is unique to horror games with streaming and videos in general becoming so immensely popular. I agree suspense makes horror more of a special case, but other games rely on story, graphics, music, or other non-gameplay elements that can equally come through when watching versus playing it yourself.

In my opinion, most videos are just as much about the personality interacting with the game than the game itself. Liking watching someone else play through a horror game is different than liking playing through a horror game yourself. Just like watching someone else play through a I Wanna Be the Guy clone, speed run a game, or play a competitive Dota2 match is different than playing any of those yourself. So I don't think sales will ever be hurt, if only because people come to videos for different reasons than they come to games themselves - I've never seen someone say "well now I don't have to buy this thing I was going to buy because I've seen it all."

But it would be interesting to take one of the big personalities and see how big the sales bump is after they highlight a game, and if that varies based on the type of game.

Posted by ildon

I guess the question is whether those people watching the stream or YouTube videos were ever going to buy and play the games themselves, and how much of their enjoyment is coming from the actual game itself rather than the reactions of the personality playing the game.

There's also the idea that, if a horror game's fun can be entirely experienced by watching someone else play it, was it really that good at being a game to begin with? I still primarily judge games based on my direct interactions with their mechanics over whether they surprise me or whether the story was any good. Some horror games have cool mechanics in addition to the jump scares and surprises and creepy atmosphere, but the majority of them are basically just a series of Halloween haunted houses, where the player is basically just tasked to walk through it, sometimes with light adventure game puzzles. If you strip away the scares, you're literally just walking through an environment, which can sometimes be fun (I had a lot of fun just walking around in Skyrim/Fallout/etc. sometimes), but usually gets old fast and can't really hold a lot of people, especially those not already into horror.

Ultimately, I would like to think streaming/reaction videos are a positive overall, rather than a negative. More people get exposed to the genre who might not otherwise have known about it when a particular video goes viral, and that might get them interested in buying other horror games, if not the one that was spoiled by watching the stream. Like I wonder how many sales of A Machine For Pigs were from people who had watched a streamer play the first Amnesia but hadn't bought it themselves.

Posted by BenderUnit22

Yo Tricky, Imma let you finish, but Day[9] had one of the funniest Amnesia playthroughs of all time. OF ALL TIME!

Posted by csl316

Good article. I wanted to get the new Amnesia but I just knew I wouldn't play it. Hell, I probably won't play much of Neverending Nightmares but I wanted to support Matt.

Also, I just heard about Pewdiepie two weeks ago. Who is he? What does he do? What makes him different than other over-enthusiastic Youtubers?

Edited by Vuud

You hear a lot about fake twitter accounts and facebook pages, enough to wonder how many of those viewers on the most popular youtuber channels are for realsies. I can imagine someone out there has some sort of aggregate view generator or something, like those computers that make thousands of tiny stock market transactions every hour to game the system.

Posted by joshwent

@milkman said:

I'm sure they exist but I think there's way more people who will just watch Patrick play through Outlast and get what they want out of it without buying it.

Sure, but how many of those people would have bought the game if there were no streams?

I actually think the argument that streaming hurts game sales is the weakest when it comes to horror. Like others have mentioned here, people may watch streams of games like Beyond: Two Souls because they still want to experience the story without having to play the game. They may have bought it, but because they can watch it for free, they won't.

When it comes to horror though, that visceral experience that Patrick talks about is impossible to get without playing the game yourself.

At the same time, there are people who want to see the game, but are just too afraid to play it themselves. Those people would have never bought the game anyway, so the dev is loosing nothing. And in fact, may be gaining from the heaps of free advertising, so if that dev's next game is something that person thinks they could handle, they'll be more likely to buy.

Edited by Three0neFive

Maybe I'm being a bit of a presumptuous dick here, but I absolutely abhor Let's Plays. Not because of the personalities or the perceived "easy money" or whatever, but because I've met waaay too many people who simply watch LPs of games online and enter discussions as if they've actually played them. It's incredibly obnoxious when you hear someone trying to tell you how much such-and-such game totally sux0rz, you guys, and when you ask if they've ever actually played it you're met with "No, but I watched a Let's Play, so I basically did." I do enjoy Retsupurae, but that's about it because I seem to be in the dying breed of people who actually like playing videogames.

I dunno, maybe I just have shitty acquaintances.

Edited by Deathpooky

@memphisslim said:

I'm not sure what depresses me more:

1) That devs making cool experiences enjoyed by hundred of thousands are seeing very little income from it, or

2) That I'm not remotely surprised :(

This is why I'm always mixed on companies trying to get more control of their games, as much as the Internet goes crazy when there's any hint of developers interfering with youtube/streamers. Hundreds of thousands or millions of people enjoy a game (in a secondary fashion) from one sale, a youtube star will make tons off of advertising, and all the developers get back is the hope that some of those people will buy the game.

It's just the way things are on the Internet, and I'd generally prefer openness and more content over heavy-handed copyright control, but it still feels wrong. It would be nice to see some way in which developers can get something tangible out of the tons of people experiencing their game second-hand.

Posted by FreakGirl

Very nice article, Patrick!

I am a total chicken, when it comes to playing or watching horror games/movies, but nonetheless I don't want to miss out on them. So I started watching the YouTube videos first by RaedwulfGamer and am now also a huge fan of PewDiePie.

I even bought Outlast and love it. I just don't play it in the dark with headphones on, that would be too much for me to take. That's why I am also not planning on playing any horror games on the OR. Ever. It would scare the living hell out of me.
So, good thing, that there are people out here, like you Patrick, through which I get to see such games as well!

Posted by MeAuntieNora

SpeedoSausage's fantastic summary of PewDiePie:

Retsupurae's "Adults React To PewDiePie"

Edited by edgeCrusher

You seem to be making the same assumption as people who complain about software piracy. I think it's more than a stretch to think that every single view of a video is a lost sale. I'd be more inclined to assume that the videos are a great form of advertising. I'm not a horror guy, I don't read Bloody Disgusting, I have no idea what's going on in that genre, so your videos are keeping me informed of what's new and interesting. I'm probably never going to buy any of them, but I like to be informed about all sorts of games.

Posted by crithon

huh, I honestly thought Quicklooks came before this whole twitch viewing phenomenon.

Edited by DTS

Interesting read. Thanks for covering subjects that I don't have in my wheelhouse.

Posted by cooljammer00

Oh hey, Spooking with Scoops tonight.

Edited by cooljammer00

Good article, but in the same breath you mention some people are buying Outlast to support the team but never playing it BECAUSE of a stream they saw, AND the idea that streaming will possibly kill the horror genre because people will have seen all the scares already.

I mean, if I'm buying the game but potentially never playing it, how does that hurt the bottom line? They still get paid, get good buzz, and all the other things that come with a successful launch. There's a good chance that Outlast was NEVER going to sell 2 million copies because it's an extremely niche horror game.

For example, I own a copy of Amnesia. I will never play it. But I get what they were trying to do and I think that's cool for people who want that experience.

Posted by telliot

Another great read Scoops, Thanks!!!

Posted by Crembaw

@vuud said:

You hear a lot about take twitter accounts and facebook pages, enough to wonder how many of those viewers on the most popular youtuber channels are for realsies. I can imagine someone how there has some sort of aggregate view generator or something, like those computers that make thousands of tiny stock market transactions every hour to game the system.

It's definitely possible. I mean apparently liking, unliking and then reliking a video equates to 1.2 total likes; if that subsystem is easy to fuck with, who knows about the viewership counts?

Posted by AssInAss

I think people buying the game even if though they would never play it is the result of the guilty conscience for having watched someone else play the whole horror game without paying a dime.

Like how some people who've pirated so many movies or music CDs will go buy the piece of media even though they've already experienced it in full.

Posted by CornBREDX

I play horror games every chance I get. I love the genre.

However, horror has always been one that sees a decline in sales. Let's not forget, Frictional went bankrupt to create Amnesia, and it was not an immediately successful game. If it weren't for the fans, and people buying tons of copies and giving them away, I am not sure that game would have been successful. I went to a lot of threads around the net (at the time) where people were buying extra copies of Amnesia and giving them away. All to help frictional succeed.

This isn't a new thing for horror, although I would say there has been a steady decline for horror games since the 90s. I feel that's one big reason psychological horror (such as Silent Hill) has the potential to be more successful, as it messes with your mind in a different way than what people perceive as horror anymore.

People don't get it. That's the challenge of playing a horror game. Playing it, without being too scared to walk another step. That's what I love about horror games.

Edited by GaspoweR


Back on the topic, I really can't take horror games especially in long stretches since it isn't healthy for me. My heart rate and blood pressure would just shoot up and it's not something I'd rather experience. I wouldn't be able to sleep well, too. The last horror-themed game that I've actually finished was Dead Space 2 which a lot of horror game enthusiasts would say that the game was not at all as scary compared to the first game. There were moments that I had to be on high alert during combat situations or when going into rooms and parts that there was a sense of panic and urgency (e.g. Ubermorph encounter nearing the end of the game)

All in all, I actually do enjoy them but having to play through them myself is not something I seek out or look forward to.

Posted by JazGalaxy

I think this is a good article, but I think it's too exclusive to horror. I think it fails to take into account how the number of people watching ANY "let's play" video are likely very different than the sales would suggest. There is just a growing number of people who are interested in watching videogames and not playing them.

Which, conversely, means that the industry is creating games that are as much or more fun to watch than they are to play (especially if you don't have to pay).

Posted by gbrading

Thing is, I would never play horror games like this; I feel the streams offer a valuable service of showing off the games to audiences who might not try them, but then might be enticed to. When it starts stopping sales, then it becomes a problem.

Posted by pickassoreborn

I never heard of PewDiePie until comments on Patrick's videos mention that Mr. Klepek is somehow "ripping off" PewDiePie. What, so only PewDiePie can make Let's Play-type horror videos on the entirety of the YouTubes? Gahahaha!

After watching a bit of PewDiePie, I weep for humanity's future.

Posted by bvilleneuve

I'm not worried about the horror genre no longer selling because of streaming. I'm much more worried about it becoming predictable because of what streaming emphasizes.

When a lot of teams make horror games these days, they're hoping big YouTubers (like PewDiePie, who is horrible) will stream their games because of the marketing push that gives them. But the thing to get a game streamed popularly on YouTube isn't necessarily to make a good, effective, creative horror game; it seems nowadays all you need to do is put a bunch of jump scares in it so that the YT personality can bounce around and scream a lot. The predominance of jump scares is what has kept me mostly away from conventional horror games these days.

Posted by K4g4m1

I would never play a horror game (i can't even watch scary movies) but i absolutely love watching playthroughs of horror games. I feel an emphatic sort of connection with the streamer in that we are experiencing it together, even though I am just watching. I think this is because I react in much the same way to watching them play as they do playing.

It's a shame for the genre that the developers/publishers are not generating revenue for themselves from my enjoyment of these games, but perhaps there are viable alternative business models they could look in to?

Edited by Seikenfreak

Yea I'm one of those people as well who gets too scared to play some of this horror stuff. Obviously if I forced myself I could, but I don't enjoy the experience so I don't seek it out.

One of my earliest memories of being genuinely scared in a game was Mr. X from Resident Evil 2. It's not the dumb jump scare stuff, of course that scares me but whatever, it's the creepy lingering atmosphere or something that I myself need to move forward through. The specific moment I will always remember was a part where you had to walk into a room and around a few turns down this pathway until you reached a control panel. When you flipped on the control panel, the monitor above turned on and was a security camera watching the doorway into the room you're in. Mr. X was standing there and walked toward the camera and then out of view. I froze the fuck up. I was at a dead end. Do I go towards it? Do I sit here and wait to die? What do I do?

I played some of Amnesia: The Dark Descent but I don't think I ever finished it probably because it had moments like this.

So yea, going back to my original point, I don't really buy these kinds of games very often but I do enjoy watching other people play them. It allows me to experience the game with a layer of disconnect. Watching someone else play a scary game is easy. Being the person with control of the situation makes all the difference.

The original Condemned was another one I couldn't play much of. Was like the first X360 game I got I think. The audio in that game is fantastic. Standing in a room and directionally hearing hurried footsteps and junk falling around you was too much for me and I would just freeze up and not want to go any farther.

I've played a small amount of Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly. Heeeeelllll no.. The idea of having to stop and look at things through the focal point of a camera was ridiculous. Turned that ish off immediately. But I'd love to watch someone else play it because it's so famous and I want it as mental reference material.

Eternal Darkness was a different brand of horror. Maybe it had some traditional eerie elements but what I remember was like "umm.. omg.. why is it deleting my memory card stuff.. shit shit shit"

Back when I first started playing Minecraft, I would get so freaked out being way down in a cave and hearing things. I'd stop mining and look behind me and listen. Even just wandering the surface during daylight, I would often feel like something was watching me, especially in heavily forested areas. This is an aspect of the game I feel they have failed to capitalize on. I think a lot of people liked it at first cause it was sort of scary, and it motivated you to build some sort of fort to get a sense of protection. Once you realize there isn't really serious scary stuff, your only motivation to build is for the sake of building.

On the other hand I've finished the original Dead Space. Not very scary. It became just like any other monster action movie or something.

Anyway I could go on and on but you get the gist. I have become a regular viewer of Spookin with Scoops over the past few weeks and continue to look forward to it. Thanks for taking one (or tons) for the teams Patrick!

Edit: Thought I should also mention that I don't watch PewDiePie cause it seemed like just a bunch of immature childish over exaggerated fake screaming.

Edited by AlKusanagi

My biggest issue is that the vast majority of these horror games are two hour or less experiences, with little to no replayability, so I'd just rather watch them passively like a movie than play them. Between Patrick and Markiplier, almost every indy horror game I'm remotely interested in gets played, so I'm good.

Posted by Wrighteous86

@joshwent said:

@milkman said:

I'm sure they exist but I think there's way more people who will just watch Patrick play through Outlast and get what they want out of it without buying it.

When it comes to horror though, that visceral experience that Patrick talks about is impossible to get without playing the game yourself.

On the other hand, a lot of the fear in the horror genre comes from the unknown or the unexpected. You're tense when you enter a room because you don't know what might be in there. Jump scares startle you because you're not expecting them. After watching a walkthrough of a horror game, or after having played through a horror game once, it's almost impossible to have that frightening experience again.

It's the same for stories that rely on a twist, without anything else interesting to prop them up. The Sixth Sense was a well made movie, but once you know the twist, there's not really much need to watch it again (except the one time to see everything from your newly informed perspective).

Posted by CitizenCoffeeCake

Pewdiepie is loved by 5-8th graders (I know tons of morons are old enough to know better like him too but whatever) for his immature "humor" and inane shouting. He is the ass end of the the "let's play" community and needs to stop making videos. He's like Nickelback in 2001 or something, loved by a lot of people but has no talent.

Posted by rabbithearted

This is interesting. I love horror games, and because of that I avoid watching Spookin' at all costs. Hell, I even skipped through the Harvester section of the other week's Unprofessional Fridays (just in case I ever wanted to play it).

But as a horror writer who is so entrenched in, well, horror, my dissertation is literally a nonfiction book on the genre, I think it's a bit of a fallacy to say "Good horror--games, movies, literature, haunted houses--are built on surprise." Basically, everyone knows what happens to Carrie White at the prom but people will still watch (and rewatch) Carrie--and the remake hit number 3 in box offices this weekend. If the appeal of horror--both movies and games--is limited to being surprised, I think that horror has, in some ways, failed. Even if you know what will happen, I think the best horror games (movies, books, whatever) have the combination of surprise, atmosphere, character to surpass simply relying on surprise alone.

Horror has always been niche, and I think that accounts for a sale deficit more than streaming video. After all, it's not like PewDiePie's horror videos get more hits than him screwing around with the Occulus Rift or playing any other games (I admit my source on this is "I looked at his youtube page just now to check his hits"), and I think the people who watch the videos and don't buy the game probably never would have bought it in the first place.

(... and for the record, I'm home sick right now and honestly have no idea what I'm saying because I'm literally working on a similar article based on surprise in horror film and I keep confusing myself typing this comment.)

Edited by Nethlem

@joshwent: The interview happened before Patrick came up with this article and the whole premise of "Streaming games makes them lose sales", so putting that quote there is kinda out of context.

I guess Patrick wanted to have at least some some developer insight on that topic, but the only thing coming close to that out of that interview, had been that "Outlast 2" line with the "cracking"

Tbh i consider that "2 million people watched the whole game on YouTube" the way more interesting, if not scary, number. For comparison: If you combine all the available Outlast torrents on piratebay, not removing fakes/not working ones, you still don't come even close to 3000 seeders.

Seeing as streaming, and monetizing of it, is still on the rise this could be a very interesting trend. Imho this goes along the same vein like companies trying to get a share of the profits of their games e-sport scene, anybody still remember all that hassle over Starcraft 2 with Blizzard and the Korean pro-leagues? I guess this will become an even bigger "issue" as time goes on and more people join the side of being "content creators"

Also: It's about time we get some new Endurance Runs :P