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What Being a YouTuber was like during the "Let's Play" Era

In the vast landscape of YouTube, there was an era that captured the hearts and attention of millions of viewers: the "Let's Play" era. During this period, content creators embarked on virtual adventures, sharing their gameplay experiences with the world. 

Names like Markiplier. PewDiePie, Jacksepticeye, and more might ring a bell. That’s because they were some of the key YouTube channels that brought life into the whole genre. 

This was also a time when the whole concept of getting paid to play video games was such a groundbreaking new thing. Whereas nowadays, being a content creator and practically living and working when you want to is nothing unusual and is getting more common by the day.

As we reminisce about this golden age, let's dive into what it was like being a YouTuber during the pinnacle of the "Let's Play" phenomenon.

The Rise of the "Let's Play" Era

The early 2010s witnessed a surge in gaming content on YouTube, with the emergence of the "Let's Play" genre. With the advent of accessible recording and editing software, aspiring YouTubers could easily capture their gaming sessions, adding their own commentary and reactions to the mix. The charm of the "Let's Play" videos lay in their authenticity, as creators shared genuine reactions, witty banter, and immersive storytelling alongside their gameplay.

PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg - became the most subscribed YouTube channel in 2013. This is worth mentioning because his content largely consisted of gaming clips - with many different Let’s Play series videos. 

The YouTuber Lifestyle

During the "Let's Play" era, one of the fascinating aspects of being a YouTuber was the lifestyle it afforded. Content creators had the freedom to work from the comfort of their own homes, creating videos and connecting with their audience at their own pace. 

This flexibility allowed them to set their own schedules, working when they felt most creative and inspired. Whether it was in the early morning hours or late into the night, YouTubers had the autonomy to mold their work around their personal lives. 

This unique setup not only provided a level of convenience but also opened up opportunities for a better work-life balance, enabling them to pursue their passion for gaming while still attending to other commitments and hobbies.

Building a Community

During the "Let's Play" era, content creators weren't just gamers with a camera; they were community builders. Engaging with viewers through comments, Twitter, and live streams became an essential part of the YouTuber's journey. 

Fans connected over shared interests, discussing strategies, speculating about upcoming releases, and even forming lasting friendships. These interactions were instrumental in forging strong bonds between content creators and their audiences, leading to the rise of dedicated fan bases.

Exploring Diverse Game Genres

The "Let's Play" era witnessed an incredible diversity of game genres being explored on YouTube. From survival horror to open-world adventures, puzzle games to RPGs, creators ventured into uncharted digital realms, offering viewers an opportunity to experience games they may not have discovered otherwise. 

This era helped democratize the gaming landscape by shining a light on hidden gems, introducing gamers to new worlds, and providing a platform for indie developers to showcase their creations.

Crafting Unique Personalities

Being a successful YouTuber during the "Let's Play" era required more than just gaming skills. Creators had to develop their unique personalities to stand out from the crowd. 

Some were known for their humor, while others were celebrated for their in-depth analysis and storytelling abilities. Viewers connected with these personalities on a personal level, fostering a sense of kinship that extended beyond the virtual realm.

The Challenges and Rewards

While the "Let's Play" era was an exciting time for YouTubers, it came with its fair share of challenges. Creating quality content consistently, dealing with copyright issues, and managing the pressure to entertain were just a few hurdles they faced. 

Additionally, the ability to work as a "Let's Play" YouTuber often meant having the resources to invest in a powerful gaming PC. With high-quality graphics, smooth gameplay, and the ability to run demanding titles, these machines became essential tools of the trade. This allowed content creators to deliver visually stunning and immersive experiences to their viewers, further enhancing the overall quality of their videos.

However, the rewards were equally exhilarating. From the joy of seeing their subscriber count soar to the satisfaction of knowing they had touched the lives of their viewers, the experience of being a YouTuber during this era was undeniably fulfilling.


The "Let's Play" era was a transformative time for both gamers and content creators. It ignited a passion for gaming and brought communities together. 

Though the landscape of YouTube has evolved since then, the memories of that era continue to hold a special place in the hearts of those who lived through it.

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