The Relationship Between Developers and LPers

Recently Notch has tweeted about what happened with him and the Yogscast guys, which basically involved them apparently being assholes at MineCon. Now Notch might (though I really doubt it) be embellishing the truth, but even if he was, this would be an interesting topic anyways. So while on Twitter I could mostly just make a series of curt, 140 character tweets, here I can go into more details. Anyways…

The tweet from Notch that stood out to me was this…

And they claim they’re the reason minecraft is big and that we should thank them more than anyone else in the community. They’re total dicks

Now, I find this particularly interesting, because I got a lot of attention for I Wanna Be the Guy due to Lets Players Ultra J Man and Cloud…. but are they the reason IWBTG succeeded?

No, they’re not. Not exactly, anyways. If you make something good that’s spreading with word of mouth, and the game is fit for LPs, of course someone is going to LP it. A great new, unknown game creates potential opportunities for LPers and in turn, they create the necessary buzz for your work. I benefited from J Man and Cloud and I’m pretty sure they benefited from my work. It was Win Win. If they didn’t do it, someone else would have gotten the notoriety instead. If I didn’t make IWBTG, well, their are plenty of other games to play. It’s not always an even exchange, but at the end of the day, no one is beholden to anyone — this is a symbiotic relationship.

Yogscast has over a million youtube subscribers and they have ads. Clearly they’re doing well for themselves. But I refuse to believe they brought over a million views to Minecraft. Surely a lot of their success has to do with having minecraft to play…. but making videos while having over a million subscribers certainly creates positive buzz, even if every single one of those subscribers owned the game. Notch seems to understand this (or at least isn’t a dick) and Yogscast doesn’t.

So basically, if you’re a game maker, be happy if you get wonderful, funny and talented people LPing your game, and LPers, just be happy that games are being made that you can use to display your talents (be they gaming skills of comedy)! No one entity is the king of this ecosystem and acting otherwise is just being a dick.

Edit: Makaris has a good summery of the events that transpired after Yogscast had a chance to respond. Notch was probably just mostly talking out of his ass. I recommend clicking on the comments section.