By Krysta Scripter
Last month, Jimmy Kimmel got a whole lot of heat for his skit poking fun at YouTube’s newest platform: gaming. Last week, Stephen Colbert interviewed Felix Kjellberg, or as he’s better known, PewDiePie, the massively successful YouTuber with over 39 million subscribers. Kjellberg racks in a whopping $4 million a year.
Colbert achieved what Kimmel could not; he treated Kjellberg with respect and interest, inviting him to the show like a celebrity. The interview, while only uploaded in part to YouTube, has been a massive hit. It was successful in all the ways Kimmel’s skit was a disaster.
From the bit of the interview shared online, it’s clear that Colbert, who may or may not be interested in video games, or watching others play video games, recognizes the fact that for some, it is a way of making a living. Kjellberg’s $4 million salary is nothing to sneeze at.
While I believe hate comments are never OK, I’m not surprised Kimmel got so much backlash for his half-baked critique of YouTubers and the Let’s Play community.
Truthfully, I can understand Kimmel if he didn’t get why people watch Let’s Plays or didn’t enjoy watching them himself. If you don’t like football, then why would you watch a game? But if you’re going to talk about how stupid football is when you’ve never even watched a game, then expect some backlash. I’m not a huge fan of sports, but I can recognize and respect the fact that Matt Ryan was the highest-paid NFL player of last year. And yes, I did Google that prior to writing this piece, courtesy of Forbes Magazine. I like to research things I know very little about before I make flimsy statements.
Now is the time to admit that I love Let’s Plays, and I’ve been watching them for years, particularly the Achievement Hunters with Rooster Teeth. I sit down every Friday for their weekly Minecraft videos, and some of the Grand Theft Auto Let’s Plays have had me in tears from laughing so hard. I used to not talk about it much to others, almost agreeing with Kimmel’s jab. How lame is it to watch other people play video games instead of just playing them yourself?
Then I realized that one, video games and their respective consoles are expensive as hell, so why not watch others play something you can’t currently play yourself, and two, what other industry benefits almost entirely from people watching footage of something they may or may not do themselves? (Hint: This goes right back to the football analogy.)
Ultimately, I get it if you don’t like Let’s Plays. I’m not mad at Kimmel for disliking one of my favorite hobbies. I’m a big girl. I can handle it.
However, I don’t like when people take jabs at things they barely understand. The media rarely understands the scope and depth of the video game industry and its community. But you don’t see me whining about how stupid football fans are.
Krysta Scripter studies journalism. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @krys_scripter.