Know the game you’re playing

Pointy Flat Cast 024 – Know the Win Conditions

So recently I’ve been playing a lot of The Cycle and there’s just one small problem. The people I’m playing with don’t know how to play the game correctly! It’s infuriating to watch as my teammates engage in pointless combat only to waste a lot of time and effort. That time could have been spent farming objectives and now our squad is falling behind.

This is because those people are playing the wrong game. The Cycle’s win condition is based on farming objectives efficiently. Engaging in combat with the first squad you see will slow down your overall rate at which you are acquiring points. This is similar to the world of content creation.

In order to succeed, you need to know the game you are playing. You need to know the rules of the system and in doing so, you can determine the win conditions available and focus solely on working towards those conditions. I see a lot of smaller content creators with the same complaint, and it’s a complaint I make myself as well from time to time. And that complaint is that the platforms are rigged to make you fail. There certainly is some truth in this complaint, and I’m certainly not excusing the obvious flaws in these platforms that heavily favor the largest content creators and corporations.

However, I think it’s rather unfair and illogical to claim that success is unattainable on these platforms. It only requires one to realize the rules on which each platform operates and identify the necessary win conditions for success.

For example, for smaller content creators who are struggling on YouTube, I often see the same type of behavior and content put forth. They oftentimes release unedited Let’s Play series and are confounded when those videos don’t succeed, oftentimes blaming the algorithm for their lack of exposure. This is far from the painful truth, as one would only need to look at many smaller channels producing unique and visually stunning content that are succeeding to this day. The truth is, Let’s Play series are one of the hardest types of content to succeed with on YouTube for one simple reason, there is absolutely no incentive and perceived value for the average viewer to watch a fellow average person play the game.

There has to be some added value to the content to attract potential viewers, as well as being visually pleasing to behold. There needs to be either educational value added by providing viewers a look at a higher level of play or a deep understanding of game mechanics, or have an onscreen persona that is unique and adds value through entertainment.

On top of this, a considerable amount of time and effort is needed to edit and produce a video that is visually pleasing to behold. This requires more planning and effort than simply just playing a game.

One channel I consider a pinnacle of production and a combination of both entertainment and education is Game Theory. Compare the amount of effort put into each video from Game Theory and compare it to a smaller content creator’s Let’s Play series. The difference is night and day. Value must be provided to the viewer in order to incentivize them to watch your video over someone else’s.

Once the main body of your content is improved through this lens, then everything else will fall into place, such as choosing the right title and thumbnail, and performing tests such as thumbnail splits and etc. but those will be a topic for another day.

I want to encourage all of those struggling content creators out there, of which I am also one of, to take a step back and really look at what it takes to succeed on whatever platform you are on, be it YouTube, Twitch, Mixer, etc. You can’t project your own idea of how you want the system to work onto the platform itself because that will only lead to inevitable failure and frustration. It’s going to take an incredible amount of time, effort, planning, making mistakes and failing, and learning from those failures to attain any level of success. Simply coasting along and generating mediocre content will not get you anywhere.

As they often say, don’t hate the player, hate the game. I think that statement is not applicable here but it sounded nice so I’m going to use it to end today’s post.

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