Not Every Developer Is Convinced Let's Play Videos Are A Good Thing

Not Every Developer Is Convinced Let's Play Videos Are A Good Thing

The popularity of Let's Play videos is undeniable, and they have quickly woven themselves into the fabric of of video games. That doesn't mean everyone is comfortable with them, and that got the developers of That Dragon, Cancer into hot water with some players.

Until recently, players could upload any video on YouTube related to That Dragon, Cancer and make money off it. I'd even made a short video on my personal YouTube channel. Not too long ago, I got this email in my inbox:

Not Every Developer Is Convinced Let's Play Videos Are A Good Thing

A Content ID claim is different than a copyright strike. The former means you're (likely) giving up the rights to make money on the video, the latter means the video can be taken down, your channel can get deleted, and other nasty stuff.

I saw this and moved on with my life, but I don't publish videos on YouTube to get rich; it's a hobby. That's not the case for other people, who are trying to make a career on the video service, and those creators sent the developers of That Dragon, Cancer some sharp questions about the change.

Not Every Developer Is Convinced Let's Play Videos Are A Good Thing

"I've been sitting here this morning paralysed at what to say in response to this," said the start of a blog post by That Dragon, Cancer designer Ryan Green.

Describing the reception to his game as "incredible", Green couldn't be happier about how people have responded to his family's tragic story. But it comes with a serious caveat: they haven't made any money on the game.

"Our studio has not yet seen a single dollar from sales," he said.

The developers "underestimated how many people would be satisfied with only watching the game," and became frustrated by the millions of people watching the game on YouTube translating into zero revenue for their years of work.

So when Green saw tweets asking about deprived revenue, it struck a nerve.

"And so yes, Let's Play person, I agree with you," he said, "it does suck to have someone else making revenue off your work."

That Dragon, Cancer's score was composed by Jon Hillman, and Green decided he had the right to make money off videos using his music "without permission."

"If there is revenue being drawn from that use, we believe he should be compensated," said Green.

But when people started getting upset, the developers reconsidered. The flags have now been removed from people's videos.

"We did not intend to make copyright claims or to force anyone to take down their videos," he said "we simply intended for Jon to be able to draw some income from the original soundtrack to our game that he poured his heart into."

Despite the reversal, Green is adamant there's still a problem, pointing to the difference between Let's Play videos for a game like That Dragon, Cancer and, say, ARK: Survival Evolved. One is a linear, narrative experience most people will only play once, the other is a dynamic and ever-changing multiplayer game.

"If you compare the millions of views of the entirety of our game on YouTube to our sales as estimated on SteamSpy, you can hopefully see the disparity," said Green. "We have seen many people post our entire game on YouTube with little to no commentary. We've seen people decompile our game and post our soundtrack on YouTube. We've also seen many, many Let's Players post entire playthroughs of our game, posting links to all of their own social channels and all of their own merchandising and leaving out a link to our site."

Green made an appeal for people to use That Dragon, Cancer videos as a chance to share their personal stories. But more to the point, he hopes they will encourage their viewers to support the developers, so that they can make more games.

"This small act will allow us to continue to work," he said.


    I'm with the developers on this one. Let's Play-ing has gotten out of control.

      Agreed, the dev said it straight up, there's a difference between lets play video's for different genre's of games. In this case a lets play video of his game is essentially letting anyone who wants it experience the game for free. It will kill off this type of game if it doesn't strop.

      With the degree that LP's have allowed content makers to earn a living, so should the people who have made the game/music etc.

      I don't believe that they can earn the a portion of the advertising material used at the beginning of LP's videos as they did not put out the video or organise the work, but should be able to charge a small fee for using the music.

      Charge a fee too high, you lose the publicity that LP's provide. I see it as similar to playing music on the radio, the creator of the work received anywhere between cents to dollars.

    This has been my point all along except if I do it in a post about AngryJoe bashing Nintendo I get called a shill :D

    That money that is very well making some Youtubers rich is not completely theirs, full stop. As copyright law might currently favour the big corporations, these smaller more nimble one-man conglomerates can use the rule book to bend and distort whatever laws they can on the fly.

    That Dragon Cancer is something that should be heralded, about what's possible for the medium. That won't be able to happen when every story about it afterwards is as depressing and uncomfortable as this is. Kinda shows we aren't ready for it quite yet.

    Fair enough, some games have zero replayability so if you watch it once there's no point buying it yourself. That's what happened with Firewatch for me, I watched 2 LPs and didn't buy the game.

    That said, if this bothers developers then they should be up front and show in big block letters that they are not giving permission for their game to be posted on YouTube and for people to make cash. If they're up front about it then people can't argue when copyright claims are made or videos are taken down.

    A YouTube blackout will also likely effect their sales as the game won't be spread as far but whether that's less than lost sales from LPs or not who knows.

    So basically don't make a game that LPs will spoil or if you do then expect it to happen and don't whinge about it when it does. That's reality these days and not liking YouTube won't make it suddenly disappear.

      The law is already upfront for them, unless explicitly stated by the author/content creator, then no permission is given.

      LP'ers just need to learn copyright law themselves before 'working so hard' on content they have no legal (and somewhat moral) basis to monetise.

      I am all for Youtube enabling developers and LPers to work together so they all get a share of the revenue, but expecting developers to lay down and let LPers get rich off their own hard work is a bit much.

        I fundamentally disagree. I'm no lawyer, but the reading I've done of transformative works protected under fair use would render most - if not all - Let's Plays as protected by copyright.

        What YouTube does is circumvent that, giving the original IP-holders the benefit of rights that I am absolutely certain they don't actually have.

        Possibly so that it never has to be tested in court. Which is pretty gutless. Corporate interests are becoming the reality, and not the law as it's meant to be, with all the Fair Use protections it affords.

          Fair use doesn't apply here. The game assets aren't transformed in a Let's Play, only the performance. You need permission to display those assets, regardless of the manner in which you display them. Allowing content creators to claim fair use by using copyrighted assets and only changing the way they're presented would also allow people to record movies at the cinema because the nature of the angle and motions of the handicam would constitute a transformative performance, or making custom music videos would be permitted because only the audio was duplicated but the video content was 'transformative'.

          It doesn't work that way. You require permission to make video content from video games. Of course it's terrible publicity for companies to deny that permission, but the rights holder does have the right to do so if they choose.

            Definitely, provably untrue when it comes to personality/reaction type Let's Plays.

            But in the case of the movies, it's the same purpose, isn't it - and that's well-established. There are standards on how much footage you can show when reviewing/critiquing a film before the law decides that the critique video can actually be used for the same purpose as viewing the movie - to 'get the story'. At that point, it stops being protected, even if you have added flair.

            (Ethically, I agree that when the primary point of the game is to deliver a narrative and the interaction is largely uninvolved, then the purpose is going to be much the same. But I'm not convinced that the law would allow for the same 'spirit'. I think the interactivity is being dramatically undersold here.)

            But when it comes to all the reaction types, the personality-injection? The purpose is fundamentally different. Pewdiepie doesn't have hojillion subscribers because he's covering the most popular games. Viewers are there to see the Let's Player. The content works with that. The primary purpose is not to consume the original content. It's to watch someone doing it. A very specific person, if popularity numbers are anything to go by (and they are, and should be). That's the truest indicator to purpose.

              If it's definitely provably untrue, then definitely, provably prove it. Even Reddit's VideoGameAttorney says often in his AMAs that most LP transformation justifications are weak and probably wouldn't stand up in court. It doesn't matter what the viewers are wanting to see, copyright doesn't care about that. It matters whether you used copyrighted assets in your content and whether your use of those assets - not the entire work, as you keep erroneously claiming - is within the grounds of fair use. If the assets themselves aren't transformed, it's not a protected transformative work.

              To be blunt, it feels like you haven't given this any real thought at all, just wishful thinking. If I use copyrighted music for my own video, it's not transformative, it's a copyright violation. If I take artwork from Fez and use it in my own game, it's not transformative, it's a copyright violation. If I take the main character model of Rico from Just Cause 3 and make a 3D movie out of it, it's not transformative, it's a copyright violation. Transformation must be applied to the copyrighted asset, not its context.

              Last edited 26/03/16 3:26 pm

          Fair Use doesn't cover commercial use, my bugbear is specifically with LPers who monetise their videos and cry foul when the developers want a cut. Which I thought was clear in my post.

          As far as LP's that aren't monetised and show the entirety of the game without commentary? That would depend on the game, thankfully the Copyright law in this instance is on a case by case basis and there would be arguments for and against the practice.

            Actually, commercial use is covered for works which are sufficiently transformative, which is what I'm arguing.

            Not so much the straight, 'start to finish' let's plays, but the ones which are getting struck down anyway, featuring LPers injecting personality or commentary.

              and if I was a judge in a Copyright Infringement case I would generally disagree with your argument.. unless the LPer was only using highlights.

              Mystery Science Theatre 3000 is probably the closest example of an LP in a different media.. and the cable channel had to also own the broadcast rights to the film MSTK3 is riffing on in order to air the show.

                Except that was straight viewing-media to viewing-media with commentary, whereas a game is interactive converted to LP viewing-only.

                  I personally don't think the distinction is enough to consider the vast majority of LP's transformative works, especially as the interactive responses are still all coded and written by the developer.

                  At least not so far that the rights owners are not entitled to a cut of the profits that the LP makes.

          I'm no lawyer... Probably should have stopped there mate.

        The law is up for interpretation up until the point that a case actually goes to court and a precedent is set. No LP gaming videos have yet gone to court so any debate or discussion on fair use, transformative works etc is just speculation.

        In terms of That Dragon, Cancer the dev has pointed to LPs and blamed them for poor sales. This is not necessarily the case. They may have lost some sales, and they likely gained sales from LPs. Firewatch which is in a very similar genre has sold over 500K units. The game has sold incredibly well and it's another one that has almost no replay value and can be spoiled completely by watching a LP series.

        So the devs would do better to actually look at their game and realise LP vids aren't solely to blame and may not even be the largest factor in their poor sales. The subject matter for a start is pretty heavy for a lot of people and that genre is very niche to begin with. I haven't looked into the game other than hearing/reading about it in passing so I can't really say much else.

    He's right, we should all go back to buying games on blind faith like in the mid 2000's after the development/publishing side of the industry killed demos.

    I get that it sucks especially for short linear games with minimal interaction but the let's play format fills in a hole that the industry created when it comes to keeping potential customers informed as to what they might be buying into.

      You don't need a full playthrough of a game available to watch in order to avoid buying a game 'on blind faith'....

      Because reviews aren't a thing that exist and have served the purpose of informing customers of what they're getting into for decades? And for all sorts of products beyond just games.

        Reviews are ultimately subjective, what's good for the goose may not necessarily be good for the gander. If you're deep into games this probably doesn't matter, you are more likely to read the full body of a review and follow people in the media who have opinions and tastes that align with your own.

        But you average off the shelf kind of purchaser may do little more than glance at a score and take the approach "Oh this number is high, this must be great", despite the fact that the might have very little interest in actually playing that kind of game. Someone who prefers first person shooters probably isn't going to find something like Pillars of Eternity a worth while purchase.

        Demo's and now let's plays allow people with lower over all investment to get a more personal feel for what they might be getting into.

          Somehow I doubt the "average off the shelf kind of purchaser" is going to be the sort of person who looks up lets plays or reviews.

          Demo's and now let's plays allow people with lower over all investment to get a more personal feel for what they might be getting into.

          At what point though, does it go from "Getting a feel" to "Well I've just seen the whole game, no need to buy it now."

            At a point defined defined as reasonably by law. Exactly the same as how it defines how long an academic breakdown can go, showing clips from a movie, before it has to stop and start analyzing, in order to not simply be usable as a replacement for just watching the movie.

              At a point defined defined as reasonably by law.

              Which is? As far as I'm aware, unlike movies and so on, there hasn't been a legally defined length of time for a game.

        Yeah, because there's never been a game where the reviewers have gone "ZOMG BEST GAME EVER GOTY FOR SURE" and then the general public have gotten their hands on it and gone... "What the hell is this crap?"

        Oh. Wait. No, that's happened a lot. Gee, I wonder why people don't trust reviews?

          And there's never been a demo where people have been "hey this is awesome/crap" and the resulting game has been the opposite. Or even just the start of the game itself was awesome and the rest was crap. Yep, nothing is infallible except for reviews.

            As stated elsewhere, it has been found numerous times that demos are more likely to decrease sales than anything else.

            Let's Play videos are typically seen as being more "independent" than a lot of major review sites, where there is a perception (whether true or not), that their reviews are more likely to be favourable in order to keep receiving advance copies of games from developers/publishers. Furthermore, if someone has done a start to finish Let's Play of a game, then that would suggest that the game is somewhat enjoyable, or else the player might have stopped it before the end.

            The point I was making is that "professional" game reviews arguably have a less reputable nature when compared to reviews for many other types of products.

              You know I wasn't arguing for demos, right? That was the other guy.

              There's been plenty of controversies with supposedly "independent" Let's Players being courted/paid off/encouraged to give favourable coverage or whatever over the years too, I don't see any reason why they should be viewed as any more virtuous or trustworthy than a reviewer. In fact this perception just makes them an even better target for some kind of underhanded tactic imo. Besides, there's plenty of non-professional/"independent" reviewers out there too. All you need to do is skim through a couple of different reviews and you can get a feel for the general consensus of what's true and what's not.

              Generally if you're that unsure about a game you'd only want to rely on single person's opinion if you've been following their work long enough to have gotten an idea of their general tastes and how they've compared to your own in the past anyway.

      To be fair, the publishers stopped releasing demos because making the demos cost them both money AND sales. There was a somewhat infamous talk at GDC where a company showed that releasing a demo actually reduced their sales.

      This probably says something about the quality of games in general, or at least about the games covered by the GDC talk.

    As a big fan of "lets plays" and "lets players" I can totally see the devs point. If the game is linear and story based the whole experience can be ruined and therefore "harm" sales. Although you can't exactly say that's the case every time, because a view isn't necessarily a lost sale in the same way that a pirated copy isn't necessarily a lost sale.

    If I'm watching a lets play or twitch stream and I like the look, gameplay, soundtrack, whatever enough, I'll stop watching and buy the game. I did this with the Last of Us on PS3 and the remaster announcement was enough justification (for me) to buy a PS4 and TLOUR. I did this with Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. There are plenty of examples across my gaming libraries where I've done this, even if I wasn't buying the game for me because it was spoiled by the LP, I bought it for my gf to play unspoiled and consciously to support the developer.

    I dunno, I guess I just feel it's not quite as black and white as both sides of the argument would have us believe.

    Last edited 26/03/16 9:29 am

      It's easy to say it's not one to one and dismiss it but when you're talking millions of views even a small percentage of conversion still means hundreds of thousands of sales which is a lot of money no matter how you look at it.

        This is the piracy argument all over again though - equating one view to one lost sale (or whatever ratio you want to pick). There's an argument that LP videos have helped indie games to gain increased exposure and thus sales - so much so that indie devs have courted YouTube personalities to do exactly that!

        Perhaps if your "game" experience can be completely conveyed via a non-interactive medium, it might not actually be a 'game' after all. And that's an important distinction to make because games are ultimately a medium where interactivity and player agency are integral to the experience. Arguably in games like Gone Home or That Dragon Cancer you're just a camera with limited control over progression - you can't lose, you can't fail to progress, you just watch.

    Perhaps the devs could release their demo levels/early access (as some still do) and allow them to be shown by the LP's, driving interest for the game. The full release could be then be copyright protected from LP's to make sure players that buy the game actually get content not shown on the LP channels and even preserve at least some sense of mystery/excitement at being able to play the content.

      A few visual novels last year did this. They clearly stated at launch where video's and streamers were allowed to show up to, around 15% of the game I believe and then said no to anything more than that. Thats what this guy should of done. Should do now really if he's convinced that he's getting no sales due to people just watching it on youtube.

    Look up 'fair use', guys. This is so wrong.

    First: there's the whole jurisdiction thing.

    If you make money from running an elevator, that does not mean piping a radio station into the elevator entitles the artist currently being played to get music. The radio station does that, not the owner of every elevator, shopping mall, whoever is playing the radio. So the musician whose music is in the game gets compensated by the makers of the game, not by people making money off the game. This is something that still hasn't been sorted out when it comes to games, with companies like YouTube and Twitch just fucking rolling over even though the artists would lose if they tried this in a court, but it really needs to be done so we can prove that this is bullshit.

    Second: Transformative works.

    If you take all the pages of Harry Potter and twist them into an elaborate sculpture, you do not owe J. K. Rowling any money from the sale of your sculpture. The work has been transformed.

    The words are for looking at, but not for reading as a novel specifically. You're still reading it, if you want, but the purpose has been fundamentally transformed.

    The same is true of Let's Plays - video games are interactive; participation is required to drive the thing forward, degress of exploration are afforded and are in many cases critical to the experience. YouTube videos are not. It's difficult to imagine a more clear example of a transformative work.

    This applies not only to 'cinematics only' type videos which simply record the game being played start to finish to provide the narrative on the cheap (which is legal, but not entirely ethical, as regardless of transformative or not, the purpose in some cases of purchasing a game could be for the narrative alone), but ESPECIALLY clear and obvious when it comes to reviewers/let's-players whose reactions annd personalities are the core point of difference.

    Teens around the world are tuning in to Pewdiepie specifically and not the eight million wannabes doing the same functionally identical thing as him, because it's not the GAME which is the purpose of the view, but the personality.
    (Forget the fucking soundtrack, people aren't watching Pewdiepie for the fucking soundtrack he's talking over. There's light-years of difference between ripping a game's .mp3 onto itunes and using the let's play video with that song playing in the background. Jesus fucking Christ.)

    Fair use and transformative works could not provide fucking clearer examples anywhere else. Let's Plays should be protected. And if any of these hosting sites have the balls to let it be tested in court, they will be. But they're not letting that happen.

    Last edited 26/03/16 11:10 am

      Normally I agree with you on this, but... well, for start I still haven't played any of the "walking simulator" type games, so my thoughts on this are based on assumption. From what I gather they tend to be more about delivering narrative through fairly minimal interaction, you're triggering narrative by moving your avatar to particular places in the game world so there isn't really any gameplay as such. In which case it makes me wonder if it really is transformative to record a playthrough. I mean a game like Super Mario Bros is as linear as it gets, but watching something like that is not the same experience you get from playing it yourself and having to rely on your own skills and reflexes.

      Actually, what if someone were to record a video of themselves reading through a book? Would that be transformative? Or how about not reading it, but recording the book as they slowly turn through page by page? Trying to think which one would be a better analogy in this case.

        When it comes to music in games - the claim being made here - in your book-reading-video analogy, it's like a typeface creator trying to make a claim against the video for showing a book that uses his font.

          Ah, right. In regards to the music then yeah, absolutely agree. Though it seems like in this case the music may have just been used as a means to get the videos taken down, since it's a reliable and proven method.

            Just one of many things wrong with the overall morass of trying to govern emergent technology with laws written before it existed.

          The typeface creator is a bad example for this because US law doesn't recognise copyright in typeface designs: only trademarks on names, and copyrights on "computer programs that draw the typeface" (i.e. the outlines plus hints).

          But if you did need a fair use rationale here, it would be more than just saying "this is a video so it is transformative". The video likely only displays a subset of the glyphs from the typeface, and it is unlikely to affect the sale of the original typeface. If you tried to create a font from screengrabs of the video, it would be quite low resolution and unsuitable for printing.

      See my reply to your previous comment. Performance is not sufficient to satisfy the transformation clause when copyrighted assets are being used directly and unmodified. Nobody's contesting the content creator's copyright over their own performance, just the use of copyrighted materials in that performance.

        It's kind of core to the performance, though. The purpose of watching Pewdiepie play Outlast is not to experience playing Outlast. But you need it there to do that. The fact that Outlast is being used does not entitle Outlast to the revenue from that performance.

        There is precedent for all kinds of cases around this, just not specifically this. And there should be. But YouTube is preventing that from happening by automatically saying, "You can sell your stuff... you just can't sell it here."

        Last edited 26/03/16 12:32 pm

          Thats no different though than if I posted up audio book files of me reading harry potter and tried to sell them claiming that I had transformed them. I can say all I like that its not the book people are listening to but me, but I doubt it would hold up in court. The same is true with lets play video's, people may prefer the witty comments of one streamer more than another but the video's still essentially contain people using a game for its intended purpose, to be played.

            This is where the interactivity is important. If a game was a movie or a book, there might be a point, but it's not. The PLAYING is the consumption, not the viewing.

            If you are viewing playing, you are not playing. You are viewing. That is a key difference.

            Also, I think your Harry Potter reading might actually stand up in court if the reading is you saying, "Well see, this paragraph is pretty good right here... '[quote text]' You hear that? That's way better than this other book I'm reading..." Which is what's happening in the Let's Plays that deserve protection.

            Purpose. If the purpose is to hear your commentary, there needs to be some base to work from. If the purpose is to simply consume the original material, then that's infringement.

            Last edited 26/03/16 1:05 pm

              You're inventing distinctions that don't exist in the law. The purpose clause of fair use distinguishes along lines like commercial vs nonprofit, entertainment vs education. LP and the game itself both fall under the same purpose (entertainment), it doesn't get any more refined than that.

              You seem to be arguing from the view of how you personally think things should be, but you're presenting it as though it's how things are, and it's not.

              Last edited 26/03/16 3:14 pm

                Also, I think your Harry Potter reading might actually stand up in court if the reading is you saying, "Well see, this paragraph is pretty good right here... '[quote text]' You hear that? That's way better than this other book I'm reading..." Which is what's happening in the Let's Plays that deserve protection.

                Like this isn't a textbook example of every protected analysis/review that gets by?

                And completely ignoring the ?

                I argue that the principle is sound, but hasn't been tested properly to set a precedent, and needs to be. (Y'know. So that I can be vindicated.)

                Last edited 26/03/16 4:11 pm

                  Quoting tiny portions of a book for review purposes isn't comparable to a complete playthrough of a game for entertainment purposes. Fair use protects limited use of copyrighted materials for review purposes, but it's never permissible to include the entire Harry Potter book in a review; even an entire chapter is likely to be ruled in violation.

                  I'm not ignoring the transformation argument, I'm refuting it. The game assets aren't being transformed, it doesn't qualify for that clause in fair use.

                  Last edited 26/03/16 10:39 pm

      The reasons you mention are indeed exactly why I watch specific people's videos on Youtube.

      I couldn't care less what game they're playing, I'm watching because I find the people entertaining. Some of them could be playing solitaire and I'd still be watching because they themselves are the engaging aspect.

      I'll never understand the "Youtube isn't a real job!" crowd. The people who are making decent money off Youtube/Twitch didn't just get there by accident... They're doing so because they've managed to consistently engage people over hundreds of hours of content.

      It is akin to being something like a good TV show host... And I don't see anybody arguing that they should work for free because they didn't actually make any of the content on said show.

      First of all, in Australia you actually do need to get a license from APRA to play the radio for commercial purposes (your lift music example, or a company using the radio as hold music, etc).

      As for US fair use law, I think you are overstating the protection of transformative works: it definitely isn't a get out of jail free card. It might help with a LP video with commentary, but ones without might have a harder time.

      There are other factors in fair use that could also cause problems. The amount of the work used will have a bearing on whether your use counts as fair. For a single path story driven game, an LP video covering an entire play through could have trouble here, since it is using almost all of the work.

      You also need to consider the commercial effect on the original work. If people are watching the LP video as a substitute for buying the game (as the developers are saying), then that's going to be a strike against it too.

      There aren't hard and fast rules here, but for a game like this you'd either need to cut down on how much of the work you use, or ramp up the transformativeness. At the other end of the spectrum, for streaming a multiplayer game you could get by with less transformation. The video is not likely to act as a substitute for the game, and since every play session is different you could argue that you're only using a small fraction of the original work. What's okay for one piece of source material might not be okay for another.

    This is a tricky issue. I absolutely support Let's Plays in a broader sense, but games like That Dragon, Cancer are a little bit different. Their status as a "walking simulator" means that, functionally, a let's play of them is functionally almost the same as someone uploading an uncut movie with similar commentary (which we know has been a no-go on Youtube for a while). As long as some level of discretion is used, I think it's okay for a creator to make it so that their game is also a no-go for the same reasons.

    At the same time, I hope that the creator doesn't overestimate how much people would be interested in the game. Having interest in watching a popular Youtuber play something does not necessarily translate into an interest in buying the game, and some games that are rife with Let's Plays also went gangbusters with sales. I'm thinking Undertale on that point, which is noteworthy because story was also a selling point on that one.

    Whelp. If you're game is not selling because people would rather watch your game than play it, then I really doubt it'll sell much more should those broadcasts be removed.

    Someone makes a walking simulator with no gameplay and is upset when gamers would prefer to watch it.

      This is a pertinent (but unpopular) point. We were constantly told that these 'games' were a revolution for the sector, but they're not really games. The interactivity is token at best. They usually don't have a failure state (i.e. you can't 'lose' the game except by choosing not to play). It's a linear sequence of events that you just watch, except you have limited control over how fast it plays out and what camera angle you have. Interactive media like Gone Home and The Path probably aren't actual games for this reason - you can watch an LP of them and get pretty much the same experience.

      Which brings up the point that if you want to insist that your thing is a game, then you're insisting that the interactivity is paramount to the experience, and thus Transient's points above apply. Alternatively, you don't think this is the case and therefore it isn't a game and should be treated as a movie/book sort of thing.

      I think it's time that these were classified as some other type of media rather than piggybacking off the 'gaming' category to make them seem so sophisticated compared to the 90th iteration of COD. The sad part is we've had interactive fiction for ages now, and even text adventures had more gameplay than things like this.

        (i.e. you can't 'lose' the game except by choosing not to play).
        An strange game. The only losing move is not to play.
        How about a nice game of Go?

    That Developer, Cancer

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