At the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Ryan Letourneau gave a talk about YouTube’s influence within the indie gaming community. Letourneau, who makes videos on YouTube as Northernlion and has more than 280,000 subscribers, urged developers to seek out YouTubers and used a few case studies to show just how big of a boon the Let’s Play community can be.
The most important anecdote in the talk concerns The Binding Of Isaac, an indie game released in 2011. Letourneau quoted the game’s developer, Edmund McMillen, who claimed that sales jumped from 150 a day to 1,500 a day after YouTubers like Letourneau began publishing videos about it on their channels. The increased attention may have helped The Binding Of Isaac snag a spot in a pay-what-you-want Humble Indie Bundle, which furthered its success. The game has now sold more than two million copies.
This anecdone is extra interesting because Northernlion, while a moderately popular channel, is far from the most popular gaming hub on YouTube. The lesson is clear: Developers can reap huge benefits if their games are shared on YouTube, even if it is only a collection of small and medium-sized channels doing the sharing. On the other side of the coin, YouTube gamers should make sure to stay tuned into the indie gaming community, where they will find plenty upstart developers who will happily give away their games in exchange for some interactive press.