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I do the type of videos I watch.
For me, I'm the type of person who makes a pizza and then sits down to watch the entire playlist in one go, and preference a playlist with 10+ videos. I prefer most of all videos that are over an hour long, 2 hours is better. If it takes me 4 or 5 hours a day of 4 or 5 days in a row to get through your playlist, I'll sub to you and watch your other playlists too, because I like a gamer who get to the end of super long games. I'm not interested in the sporadic play a new game every week type of player.
I love gamers who play 400+ hours of Witcher 3 or Civilization 6, or Don't Starve or any other mega long game that takes months to get through. I like watching people play those games, because those are the games I play and I like seeing other people find things I missed ot miss things I found. Ect.
For me it's like "movie night" sort of mindset. I want to sit down at the end of a day, have a nice relaxing meal, and watch a nice long relaxing video. Life is hectic and spending 3 or 4 hours before bed watching a long gameplay is how I relax.
I really DO NOT like videos that are under an hour long. Thing is, I been a hard core gamer since the late 1970s. I dominated at the local arcades back decades ago when I was a teenager, Then when home systems came out in 1982, had them and got every single game. 40 years, many systems and 2,000 games later and I've literally played every game of every system on the market. Back in the 80s we played games without save points - you wanted to get to the end of a game you had to play it for 8 hours straight and do so without dying, otherwise you had to restart and play from the beginning. Kids today with their savve points giving them the freedom to play 10 minutes here, 10 minute there, would never last in a game they had to play all day long without a break.
The trend in 10 minute videos says a lot about the mind set of today's gamers. I really find it annoying that no one can be bothered these days to sit down and actually spend 2 hours playing a game. If the gamer can't be bothered to make a long video I find it difficult to be able to take thm seriously as a gamer and that's probably because I grew up playing arcade games where you HAD to play for hours, standing up, in public, with no save point and no pee break...you played to the end or you didn't have what it takes to call yourself a gamer. I find it hard to think of a short video as worthy of my time to watch, because I know there's no way they did any hard core game session in 10 minutes.
So first thing I notice about a video is how long it is and skip past the short stuff. I'm glad youtube allows us to search for videos by length.
And then I want to see EVERYTHING in the world. If the gamer runs past a door without opening it, my brain is going "No! No! No! You missed a door! Go back!" I very much prefer watching the OCD-type game play where every corner is explored, every plant harvested, every rock over turned, every monster fought, every bag looted... nothing missed, nothing cut.
I know some people think it's weird, but some of my favorite part of game plays is watching the gamer decide what to buy and sell and upgrading stats and doing inventory management. I know every says that stuff is boring, but I just find it so fascinating to watch and see which items they choose, especially if they are talking about why they went with this sword over that sword, etc.
I just get so disappointed when the buying/selling, allotting xp, changing inventory, etc parts are cut out.
I also get annoyed by loud gamers who scream for no reason other then they feel the need to fill up empty silences with noise. It's so stupid when they do that. There's nothing wrong with spaces of silence, that means the player is focused on the task at hand.
I prefer the calm laid back, get the job done, no need for loud flashy bells and whistles type of personality.
So, when I started actually making my own videos, I made really long RPGs, that cut out nothing, explored everything, and did it in a calm, laid back manner.
I know, long videos, full play throughs, nothing cut... are rare, few, and hard to find because no one sits down long enough to either play or watch them... but that's the style I like to watch and it's also the style I like to play.
Interestingly I find most of the gamers I watch are older 30s/40s+ and so perhaps it's an age thing? Older players are more focused on longer game plays or something, maybe? I don't know.
Basically I just made the type of video I prefered watching. I know there is not much demand for the type of videos I make, but, they are the type I enjoy watching and they are hard to find, so why not make them to fill in that glaring empty space?
In the end it falls back to the old: "play what you enjoy" thing. I play the games I enjoy watching and make the style video that is the type I watch when I'm not playing. So it's kind of a "do what you know" sort of thing for me.
While I have other stuff on my channel, my primary focus is Witcher, with about 70 episodes up already and 200+ total episodes already recorded and scheduled out for the next full year, and about 500 more episodes to be played.
Just Witcher 3 alone is 600 hours long if you do a full completionist run of it, talking to every npc, doing every quest, getting every achievement... I'm doing a full completionist run of ALL 5 games (Witcher 1, 2, 3, Adventure, & Gwent) plus I'm doing modded game plays (currently playing a pink necromancer wizard Gerault on a purple unicorn... with pet chickens in tin foil hats - the mods you can find for Witcher 3 are awesome!)
You can tell I love Witcher.
Now, like you, I went and watched others to see what others were doing. See what my competition was, who does what, how long, why they do this or that, etc.
You know what I found? That it varies a lot.
There are people who do highlights, people who do 15 to 20 minute videos.
One girl, like me, did a completionist run, and her videos were 6 hours long each episode. She did 112 episodes to finish Witcher 3 (112 episodes each one 6 hours long) and she had no cuts at all. Everything was there, from grinding for hours to collect enough flowers to make certain items (for example there's an armour that requires 1,000 of a certain flower to make!.... when I reached that point it took me 7 hours to find and pick all 1,000 flowers!)
Then I found others who only recorded the fight scenes and boss battles and cut out all the harvesting and gathering herbs.
Another cut out all the fight scenes and herb gathering, and recorded only the story line conversations with npcs and cut scenes.
In the end, I discovered that each gamer had a different way of handling it depending on what they wanted to focus on. so...
I'm sure there's more types of channels out there that I've missed including, but this gives you the general idea. Each type of channel, does a certain type of method in terms of cutting, editing, and length and what works for one style may not work for the other style, so knowing what type of channel you want to be, will help you decide what type of editing and cuts and length to do on your channel.
So, what you do, depends on what type of channel you want to be. Each type of channel has an audience, you just have to figure out which audience to target.
For me, what I did, because I wanted to do a completionist run, I focused on looking at what other completionists before me had done. Asking myself: "What does the audience of completionist runs of Witcher look for?"
You remember that girl I mentioned with the 6 hour long episodes? Well, I contacted her and asked her. I explained I wanted to do a completionist run of Witcher and asked if she had any advice... you know what she said? Cut nothing. She told me that, her followers were obsessed with Witcher to the point that if she cut anything out, she'd get lots of comments complaining... they wanted to see he selling 10,000 herbs one at a time.... they wanted to see her managing inventory, character stat changes, equipment shuffling, walking the long road between towns, meditating, mixing potions, stopping to eat... (you know as detailed everything is in Witcher, I'm surprised they didn't have the requirement of stopping to pee too! Dang! Have you ever played that game! They included everything else he had to do.. even right down to the guy gets horny and has to go find a prostitute!)...
Anyways, she was explaining how the particular type of audience that watches a completionist run, they want to see EVERY choice you make 100% UNCUT. she said every time she cut something out, her viewers would get upset because they WANTED to see did she buy this sword vs that sword from this seller vs that seller. The type of viewer of the completionist run want to know every little last detail no matter how small, insignificant, or boring. They want it all.
But on the other hand, not everyone wants to watch a completionist run of a game, and so you do videos different for them. I think the bulk of viewers WANT stuff cut out. So, if you do cut things, you'll upset the completionist viewers but not the bulk of viewers. It boils down to asking yourself: Which audience do you want to please because you can't please both. You have to pick one and keep them happy.
The thing is, being consistent across your games. Such as ALWAYS doing completionist runs of EVERY game you play or ALWAYS doing fanfic montage, or ALWAYS doing cinematic, etc. That way your audience knows what to expect of you and your channel, and you'll end up attracting more viewers in the long run because you become known for one particular style of video regardless of the game.
So, in the end, for me and my channel, because I do full completionist runs of games, my channel has long videos (45 mins to 2 hours per episode) with 100% uncut raw game footage, with no edits. Even game crashes - that's in the video too. I cut nothing. However, that's because this is the style/method expected for the TYPE of let's play I'm doing. This style certainly is not for every one. The longer uncut videos does not attract the wide range of viewers you'd get with short heavily edited videos, because you are dealing with 2 different types of viewers.
Ask yourself, who your viewers are, what type of length/editing do this type of viewers want?
People who want everything, want nothing cut and longer videos, people who want just the story want the management, fighting and grinding cut and mid-length videos; people who want action want everything but the fights cut and short videos. No style is better then the other, each just targets a different type of viewer. Which type of viewer do you want to attract? Give them the type of video they want.
I had one game that I had played right when it came out. The video got 1,000+ views (which is huge for me because most of my videos get 30 views the first week, then reach 50 views by the 2nd month.)
Unfortunately, my health is not good (I'm an elderly/senior with chronic illness problems; people joke that I'm a "gaming granny" because so few women play games and so few seniors play games and to see a senior woman playing games... I guess I'm like a dodo or something - we just don't exist! LOL!)
... and that same week, my health acted up so I was 2 months before I could continue the let's play. The game took about 30 videos 15 minutes each to finish. Had I continued right after the first episode that got 1,000 views, those high views might have continued, because I had bought the game when it was released and was one of the very first lps of it. Unfortunately, by the time I was playing it again, lots of people had done it so it did what all my videos do - got 30 views each episode.
The game was Reigns. An indie card game. Not popular, so not a lot of people were playing it. Mark and Jack each stopped 3 videos in. Because the game had been released in another edition (German, I think) most all the videos were in the other language. So, I had catch the game right at the right moment, with that first video. It wasn't too big to be over done.
That experience showed me the differance with a video released right in the first hours of a game's release date, versus videos released 2 months later.
It's unusual for me to play a new release of a game, so I don't often get to see the difference in views like that. That just happened to be a game I thought would be fun to play and it was only a .99c game so I bought it when it was released. Usually the games I play are much older. For example the 2 games I play the most are Witcher (released in 2007/2009/2015) and Don't Starve (2013) So games that are 5 years or older. They are my favourite games, that's why I play them.
The Witcher series and Don't Starve are games that I can just sit there and replay over and over and over and over, so, you see me playing them over and over again. Both games are popular enough to pick up some views here and there, but both games are so popular that everybody has already played them, and the only people who really watch new episodes now are the die hard uber fangirl fans who just watch everybody who plays them.
So, for me, that means my target audience is not the general mainstream viewer of games, but rather the smaller group of fans for a single game. So I know ahead of time not to expect a huge amount of views because while each game has a large following, each game also has a large amount of people playing them.
A few times I have played games that my fans have suggested, but in those cases, they are games I would have played anyways and those fans knew that. They were not like: "Please play this game, it's great!" rather they were "I saw this game that looked like something you'd like. I know you liked ___ an this one is a lot like it." And in those cases, again it was an older game (5 years or older) and not a new release.
I've tried games in their alpha/beta test runs (Youtubers Life and Slime Rancher) but in both cases I tested the game during super early access, when the game was still super buggy and not really playable yet, so I stopped after 5 episodes. But though each game is now officially released, I've not yet gone back to play either.
I think, for me, I don't like the pressure of playing something that has to try to keep up with others. And I think, with new releases, there is just too much pressure to try to get views. Whereas playing an older game, I know there is no mad dash to watch it, so I'm more relaxed playing it. Does that make sense?
When it comes to buying a game, my biggest thing to look at is replayability. I hate games that you play in 5 hours, are done, and there's no point to going back and playing it again. I like a game that I can relax and replay for months or years on end. Which is why Witcher and Don't Sarve are my fave games, and why other games I play include Rise of Nations, Age of Mythology, Magica, Hatoful Boyfriend, Dandelion, etc. I like games I can just play over and over and over. City Builders and RPGs are great, especially open world sandbox games. I love games with lots of repetitive grinding, doing repeat things like picking every flower, herb, and fruit you pass. I like the resource management stuff, because it's very laid back and just a thing you can do to relax.
So for me, picking a game to play is all about:
If it's a game I can play in 5 episodes, I'll likely not buy it. If it's a game I can get 200+ episodes out of, I'll play it every day.
In any case, in the end, I just play the games that I play every day anyways. Stuff I play wither the camera is on or not. I'm not overly worried about views. I figure, if people want to watch it, fine, if not, it's no big deal because I had fun playing it.