What’s wrong with Matt Chat?

imagesSince my last post, I’ve been thinking more and more about what I’ve been doing “wrong” with Matt Chat, at least in terms of building an audience. Many folks have pointed out, and I think correctly, that with the caliber of guests I have on the show–and I’ve been maintaining that for years now–the show should be doing much better. There are countless guys out there doing simple reviews and let’s play type videos who are simply obliterating my views and subscriber lists.

This whole situation reminds me distinctly of my days in a rock band in Natchitoches, Louisiana. After a certain point, we felt we had a very good setlist, good performance skills, and enjoying plenty of opportunities to “break out.” We even had a newspaper reporter show up at a show and write a very flattering review of our set–with three different photos of the band.

Yet acts who were apparently “sucky” compared to us were getting ten times the people showing up to support them. Any wannabe band playing Green Day covers would kick our ass ten ways to one. We tried to put a brave face on it, but inside, it hurt like hell.

Our fans were endlessly dedicated, always there, talking up the show, trying to get their friends to come, etc. But there were just never enough of them to keep us going–we literally couldn’t get gigs because we simply couldn’t get enough people there to justify our slot. Eventually, we just had to give it all up.

Of course, there were plenty of excuses. The most common one was, “Well, this is stupid ol’ Louisiana, and the people here just don’t appreciate what you’re doing. If you were in California, Seattle, or ____, things would be totally different.” Whatever. The only place we would’ve been successful is in our dreams.

On several occasions, I’d ask folks what they thought of the band, and what they thought could make it better. I was surprised how many times someone would say–right to my face–“Well, the band is fine, but you need a new singer.” Only problem with that was…I was the singer. I figured a few of these folks might just be assholes, but I heard that enough to finally start coming to grips with it. There are some things that sincerity and hard work just can’t get for you, and being some kick ass front man was just not in the cards for me. At that point, I had two options–either find a replacement and content myself with just playing guitar, or quit. I moved on.

It’s perhaps inevitable that so many years later, I’d find myself in a similar situation. Here I am, still that same awkward, dorky nerd, trying to delude myself into thinking I’m some kind of videogame Johnny Carson. And I’m hearing the same kind of arguments from good hearted people who (for whatever reason) are able to see beyond my limitations and actually enjoy and appreciate what I’m doing. I hate to disappoint these folks. I can’t help but be reminded of the awesome guys and gals who’d show up at our gigs, buying us beers and talking us up to the patrons there, and doing whatever they could to keep us going. I guess it must be how shitty sports teams feel; no matter how crummy you are, there are always loyal fans out there who seem to enjoy supporting the underdog.

I remember one night playing a song that required chorus. I’d occasionally reach back to push the button on my amp to turn it off and on. After the set, some old guy comes up to me and asks what I was doing. “I’ll be right back,” he said.

The chorus pedal.

The chorus pedal. Thank you, sir. I hope you are still at that redneck bar, giving some other nerd that little bit of encouragement to hold on just a little bit longer.

He comes back later and gives me his old chorus pedal. “I want you to have this,” he said. He didn’t look rich. He didn’t look drunk. If anything, he looked like he saw me as some younger version of himself, some kid who hadn’t given up yet. I thanked him. I still have the pedal. I gave up.

Here’s the facts. My videos struggle to get a thousand views. And it’s not like I’m just throwing this stuff together in a couple hours. I spend all weekend gathering material, editing, rendering, and often re-shooting scenes or commentary for upward of 12 hours or more. If a guest mentions a game, I do whatever it takes to find it, install it, get it working, and show gameplay footage at high quality. It kills me when I have to give up and just show a lame screenshot. I imagine most people watching my videos have no idea that I may have spent all day locating some obscure Mac or Atari 8-bit game, getting it running in a horrendously undocumented emulator, capturing footage on my wheezing old PC, just to show thirty seconds of footage.

Meanwhile, Mr. Popular is doing Green Day covers–oops, doing an unboxing video of shitty NES games he bought at Goodwill, and he gets 40,000 views in a day. It’s the Green Day cover band all over again.

I guess people have enough sense not to tell me “Matt Chat would be great if you had a different host.” After all, it’s a one-man operation, and without me, there is no Matt Chat. Would I be willing to do all of the work I’m currently doing–producing the show, and find someone else to replace me as the “face” of Matt Chat? The cynical side of me would love to find some babe to do the show for awhile.

In reality, though, it all comes down to one thing: popularity. Those Green Day cover bands weren’t packing clubs because people really wanted to hear Green Day covers. They came because those guys were popular, and the folks showed up because they liked them, probably wanted to be like them, or at least wanted some of that aura to rub off on them. Even if, for the sake of argument, you claim we had far more talent, it wouldn’t have made a damn bit of difference. Not one damn bit.

If it’s a popularity contest, the real nerd loses. Every f**** time. Story of my life.

I’ve received lots of good suggestions about ways to improve the channel. My favorite in the “Why didn’t I think of that?” category comes from Felipe. Even though I’m pretty sure Felipe is in the “your show would be awesome without you in it” camp, his idea of making a 5-minute “potpourri” video with clips of awesome quotes from interviews and such seems like solid gold to me. I’ll definitely start working on that and hopefully have it ready soon. To that end, if you can think of any awesome quotes (either from guests or hilarious moments from my retrospectives) that you think I should put in, let me know.

In the meantime, though, I’ve come to a few decisions about the show. For one, I’m going to stop whining, bitching, and moaning here about the lack of views that I or anyone else feels I “ought” to have. Instead, I’m going to focus on pleasing the fans and friends I do have, and trying to do the best for them that I possibly can. And I honestly think the best way to do that is just to keep doing what I’m doing, not let myself get discouraged, and keep the drinking horn flowing.

Given the choice between brothers or a horde of fickle, “me too!” fans, I know who I want at my back. I never have been nor will I ever be popular. But for those half-dozen folks out there in the club, brace yourself…We’re about to rock.

38 thoughts on “What’s wrong with Matt Chat?

  1. Joe Kent

    Matt, I’ve been following your show from the very beginning, and it has lasted me through three break-ups, four apartments, some financial trouble, and getting back on my feet again. Whenever I was really down, this show always managed to bring me back up again. I always notice the little things you put in, and wonder — how the heck did he get that footage? I’ve taken a lot of things from your show — your interview style, and your tone, and used it in my own work. Your show isn’t about quantity, it’s about quality. Quality of the games your reviewing, quality of the guests and topics, quality of the — beer, and quality of the host. What you’re doing is very close to artistic, and I am just a very humble fan with nothing very profound to say except that you’re awesome.

  2. Cody

    Your shows have never left me wanting, except to see the next episode, and I’ve watched so many I feel like you’re family. I hope that one day when my girlfriend and I travel America you’ll accept our invitation for dinner and drinks.

    It pains me to see you hurting and unable to reach a wider audience. I really don’t know why that is.

    But the day you become like other people on YouTube, fat with yellow finger cheese and a headset screaming at the camera about poo jokes in order to rack up the views, I will kill us both πŸ˜€

  3. Jake

    It’s definitely not you. You are the show and the reason it works so well.

    I suspect the market for in-depth interviews of golden age PC gaming gurus is smaller than any of us would like. There are a few transcendent rockstars, that even kids today have heard of, like John Romero. The Romero episodes have around 30,000 views each.

    If there was anyone else doing what you’re doing on YouTube, we could get a better idea of where you might be falling short. But I’m not sure there is.

    Do a search for “Brian Fargo Interview” and look what comes up. Your interview is near the top. The Machinima interview has a few more views, but is ranked lower (I may be in some Matt Chat filter bubble, I don’t know). The only Brian Fargo content that dwarfs yours is his own Wasteland 2 Q&A. You’re clearly doing something right. He had to raise the biggest indie game Kickstarter in history to get 5x the views your videos did!

    This may sound distasteful, but maybe you need to mix in some more mass-market interviews. Epic Games, Infinity Ward people – I know you don’t care a lot for the shooters but maybe you could get some of the console gamers viewing your channel and broaden their horizons a bit at the same time by introducing them to your format.

  4. DP

    Keep rocking on, Matt. I’ve been a fan of Matt Chat for over three years now, I purchased your book Dungeons & Desktops and loved it, and your podcasts keep me distracted at work. I fully understand needing to adapt to build your audience, but you should know that a number of us out here already love your work, and will keep showing up as long as you keep churning out quality interviews and retro reviews; no babes necessary!

  5. Coyote

    I am NOT the guy to ask about how to do this right – because I suck at it too – but it may just be marketing. I found out about Matt Chat way back when via other people who were just “in the know.” You were already somewhere in the 80s or something by then. And I was like, “Holy crap, I loved Dungeons & Desktops and stuff, why did I not know about this?”

    Yeah, part of it may be because the mass market doesn’t care about a game more than two years old, or any game designer who isn’t named Miyamoto.

    Marketing is hard. At least for me. The only thing I know is that magic formulas don’t seem to exist.

    The other thing is – maybe make fewer assumptions of your audience. Instead of telling them what Matt Chat features, tell them why they will benefit from watching it. “Learn how Richard Garriott made so much money out of high school by being a fantasy geek that he quit college! And find out what it was like to be a game developer who went to outer space!”

    Free crap and callouts work too.

    And simply getting the word out to other places where potential viewers may be found.

    Yes, I know, I can talk about it, but I’ve not done such a great job doing it myself. If I’m so smart, why aren’t I rich? But anyway, it’s a thought.

  6. Felipe Pepe

    Even though I’m pretty sure Felipe is in the β€œyour show would be awesome without you in it” camp
    More popular yes, more awesome no. πŸ˜‰

    But seriously, I replied to you on the other post; is not that you get in the way of the show, but that your presence doesn’t add much. If we got Totalbiscuit to do your show, it would be the same thing, just with a more popular host.

    But you are a guy with lots of experience, books published on the subject, tons of interviews with legends of game design. That authority, that “weight” is something that you have and other people don’t. That is what you should explore. If Matt Barton, cRPG historian, tells you that Pool of Radiance is a must play, that HAS to have more value than random internet nerd doing a “Top 50 cRPGs”.

    To place it in the Rock band comparison, imagine yourself back on the road, against the popular guys. But this time you have a bunch of released albums on you back and toured with Mettalica, Iron Maiden and Motorhead. You’re not just a nerd now, so don’t limit yourself to being one.

  7. Keith Burgun

    You’re thinking of Matt Chat’s role wrong – it’s primary value is historical recording of these important figures, *not* being a super-hit show. It’s a museum, not a rock concert. Both have value.

  8. Colin

    I don’t have much to add, except to say (as others have) that your show really has a distinctive focus and quality – it’s really in its own league, although unfortunately the audience for interviews with many of these people may indeed be small these days.

    I sort of see Matt Chat as the go-to place for interviews with legendary designers in much the same way I see Classic Game Room as a great place to watch reviews of classic games.

    I agree with Jake that interviewing people from more ‘current,’ bigger-budget devs is not a bad idea – I don’t think it’s distasteful, especially considering that many old-guard gamers enjoy classic and modern games both, and may want to hear the differences in philosophy between, say, ’90s designers and current designers.

  9. Daniel W

    I found your channel about half a year ago. Someone linked your Gothic Video in a german Gothic Forum. Someone who was surpirsed that this game was somehow known in the US. So I clicked on it and watched the show. Didn’t expect much first and thought “Oh yeah, yet another let’s-player which the internet oozes out like crazy” but after I’ve seen the video the first thing did was slamming that subscribe button and watch more of your videos. For me it was very appealing to see that someone obiously puts a whole lot more effort into this than just play some random game, turn the camera on and just see what happens without any plan whatsoever. Or mindlessly screaming random bollocks into the mic like many youtubers do it just for the views.
    I very much like how you’re researching your subject matter, organize your interviews and not only show pure gameplay but also always can tell something about the development and history of that game or developer. It’s not only very entertaining but also very informative. Would be really sad to see that go.
    So just do what you do and as long as you love what you do I’d absolutely suggest to stick to it.
    Don’t compare too much with others – just keep on your stuff.
    Wouldn’t make much sense to completely change your format only to cater to a specific kind of audience that you don’t want on your channel anyway. Like users only wanting to see someone enrage on a game or something along those lines. Unfortunately there are a lot of those viewers – but who cares?
    Totally looking forwared to see more Matt Chats – wouldn’t be the same without the “rather excellent drinking horn”! πŸ˜€

    Also, I want to share with you this video by the artist Steven Silver I saw lately and kind of fits on that situation. No advertising intended, it’s just exactly what I do think what he’s saying there.
    Hope it can motivate a bit. πŸ™‚


  10. Bruno

    One thing I think you should try to do is get the show posted on gaming websites with large audiences, like Destructoid, The Escapist and Giant Bomb.

    When you post your videos, you should always send a gazillion emails to different editors in all the gaming websites, letting people know you made the video and also including on the email, in text, large excerpts of the interviews where you point out what was said that is new or interesting.

    Journalists are often too busy to watch the video unless they know there is something important in it. Many of your interviews include great exclusive info that would easily be a headline on a slow news day, but journalists are not going to watch the video looking for that stuff, you have to let them know it’s there.

    Never think “I won’t send it because they won’t read it or they won’t care”. So much stuff is obtained simply by reaching out, you have to do it. And be creative at it. Increase your internet presence with Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets to promote the show.

    Also, when posting the videos, you should post a teaser first, with the juiciest bits, and then post the bigger videos. This way, you can condense the promotion of the interview in one event, instead of forcing the audience to wait the for the second and third part of the interview to know everything that was said.

    Don’t get me wrong. The fact you post the interviews with almost no editing is on of the reasons I am a fan. However, this might be on of the biggest problems in promoting that content, since the media does not work that way. The audience usually doesn’t wait two weeks to finish the interview they are seeing. By that point, most of them has already moved on to other stuff.

  11. Alchemist

    Hey Matt, I’m glad to hear you’ll keep doing what you’re doing – and not change drastically to reach “the masses”. You’re genuine and approachable, you’ve got personality and I disagree with any notion saying the show would be better with a different host. Watching the show feels like hanging with a friend, sharing our enthusiasm for classic games, the history of games, and good beer. I wouldn’t want it any other way. And no one else covers the kind of material you do. Hearing about LORD / the BBS scene from Seth Robinson was fascinating, for example. Rock on – I raise the horn in respect!

  12. Aleksey S.

    Hi Matt,

    I’ve been thinking about why your show is getting so few views… for years now. I too noticed the quality game footage content you put in.

    I believe that your presence/voice is NOT the “ruining views factor” here. There are several other nerds who are just as nerdy as you (and me), they wax on about videogames in decidedly non-booming voices, and their channels are more popular than yours.

    If I were to narrow down why exactly your audience is so limited, it’s probably because your show is fascinating to wannabe game designers like myself. There are far FEWER of us than the game PLAYERS who watch the other channels.

    There are lessons in those interviews you make, but those lessons are interesting and relatable and applicable to those of us who strive to make games, not as much to those who play them.

    This is also combined with the unfortunate variability of webcams and ISPs, so your footage of developers is often grainy, blurry, choppy, or out of sync – because of THEIR computers.

    If there’s one thing I learned painfully thus far, it is that cosmetics matter a LOT more than we would like to believe. For instance, my game “Dead Colony” was better than a lot of lulzy slapped-together indie crap that gets 50000 views, but it used “programmer art”, so nobody made a single review or let’s play video of it. All submissions were ignored.

    These other nerd channels, they pack a lot of game footage into a 15-minute clip filled with original thoughts from the channel owner. So my current theories as to improving your views would lie among these:

    * Make an experiment with your next video. Don’t show ANY webcam footage, but have the interview audio go on while the screen is constantly busy with footage of relevant games, or maybe archive footage of the devs in question, something has to MOVE all the time on Youtube, you see. Maybe there should be a way to let viewer know which one of you is talking, or superimpose some of their current quotes over the footage, that part needs experimenting with.

    * Try making an independent analysis video of your own, where it’s your voice and opinion ONLY. Talk about industry trends, things that you feel passionate about changing (or improving). Analyze your favorite games. Never stop the movement of game footage while it happens. Eyecandy draws viewers on Youtube. I feel that that is, unfortunately, key.

    Good luck. I really hope you find the right path here. I can feel that it exists.


  13. Aleksey S.

    P.S. How about just minimizing the two webcam windows to the lower right corner while the game footage takes the majority of space?

    This is a format adopted by some “let’s play” channels, but it could work for developer interviews as well. Also, making webcam footage smaller will mask its poor video quality.

    P.P.S. Maybe the low-bitrate audio from your webcam footage should be upscaled and then filtered to remove background noise and sound more “professional”. In my meddling with even a simple editor like Goldwave, it has some nice noise removal filters, and even lets me do this “in batch”. Of course there are far more complex audio editors that can do a better job…

    P.P.P.S. Maybe some consideration should be given to shortening developer responses without changing their meaning – removing the “Um, you know, come to think of it, well, maybe I remember it wrong, but-” sort of things. The way news programs do it when they interview people off the street.

  14. DarkUnderlord

    Your problem is content.

    Ray William Johnson got internet famous for making short five minute videos about whatever was funny that day. The brain input required to process that is pretty low. You don’t need any background about Ray or what he’s doing, he’s straight into it and HAHAHA funny dog video.

    Now the production itself is great. Setup, even the host (although I too would love to see a hot chick – it’d be a fun experiment) are all fine.

    But… You interview obscure developers who made games in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

    I have to:
    a) Remember the 80’s and 90’s (being older helps);
    b) Know the game you’re talking about and;
    c) Care enough about the game to know the developer you’re talking to.

    Hell, I’ve played some of this shit and half the time I’ve never even heard of the people you’re interviewing.

    Back to Ray. I can watch any one of his videos without any prior knowledge. All I have to care about is: Will this be funny?

    You however, are targetting an incredibly small niche. As an example: How many people right now are playing GTA V? Find them. Now ask them if they can name any of the developers who worked on it (they won’t be able to). Now interview one of those developers, then see how many of those people playing GTA V care.

    If they love the game, they love THE GAME. They will rave about this part or that part. Watching someone elses Let’s Play is a great way to see something that maybe they haven’t tried. Or see someone do something they couldn’t, or just reminisce a bit. Watching a review is a chance to get an idea about the game before they decide whether it’s worth buying themselves.

    Watching an interview with a developer talking about his favourite parts, or his life story that led him here or what games influenced him, is mostly really boring…

    … unless you’re really into that shit.

    TotalBiscuit is internet famous because he does reviews.

    The host isn’t the problem because let’s face it, you aren’t featured a lot in most of your videos. Mostly we get game footage and the developer you’re talking to. We rarely see you except as an introduction. Most of your content is game footage playing while a developer’s talking.

    My only suggestion is that short of completely changing the show and making funny cat videos, I figure you go to all this effort of getting these old games up and running. Why not actually do a few Let’s Plays or reviews? Show people how you / what you have to do to get the old gems up and running. Review them. And add those videos into the mix. So you’ve got a Let’s Play / review of the game AND videos with the developer.

    That way people looking for an old game and maybe wondering whether it’s worth playing can find some footage of it, get an idea of what the game’s like and maybe play it. Then they might care enough to watch the interview with the developer.

    1. Confurius

      Funny you mention TotalBiscuit. He noticed he wasn’t getting a lot of views for his Convention Coverage which in contrast to his normal coverage featured Developer Interviews and Double Commentary with the Developer so he held a poll to ask what he could improve.

      It turned out hardly anybody (on his channel) was interested in what the developers had to say, since then he hasn’t done any commentary with Developers or interviews. This ties into DarkUnderlords comments about people not being interested in the developers of GTAV (well, they do care about “Rockstar” but not about the actual human developers behind the company).

      There sadly seems to be a large apathy to the developers of games. I guess it’s the difference between loving “playing games” and loving “games”. Similar with movies where a large part only likes to watch the movie and a small niche part is interested in the director and how movies are made. Movie’s stars generally get interviewed and not the movie’s director.

      1. TheHistoricalGamer

        I’m not sure that’s entirely true though because when Angry Joe does interviews he typically does pretty well view wise though he’s not on Total Biscuit level.

  15. Tyler

    It does suck that you dont get many views i hadnt even thought about that until i read this. I would like to help you improve your view count so im going to throw my thoughts in as a viewer. When i first found your channel it was about a year ago i was just searching for any information on Project Eternity and i found your videos with Josh Sawyer and i thought it was awesome so i started watching your other videos. At first i found i didnt care about the videos you made that didnt pertain to games that i had played or were panning to play but over time i became interested in them. I think the reason i became interested in them was because CRPG’s share a deep history and are interconnected with not only each other but tapletop RPG’s as well. And with all these new CRPGs being made possible by Kickstarter one thing you could do is try to get some interviews with people behind these new games like Eternity and Wasteland 2 because theres going to be a huge increase in interest when they get released. another thing you could try is to make more Matt Chat plays type videos like what you did with Divinity that video got 5,000 views, and with these videos you could recommend old CRPGs for new people who are just getting interested in Eternity or the new Torment and possibly make it a staple of those videos to discuss the gameplay elements that RPG games have and share like dialogue, stats and C&C and compare these to the new releases.

  16. Tyler

    And fuck all those guys who say its YOU i think youre awesome and really funny when you talk shit about how bad new RPGs are compared to the older ones keep it up i love your videos and dont make them like 5 minutes long please having videos that are 40+minutes long gives you ample time to put in information and your own jokes/stories so dont consolize your videos lol. Another thing you could do is Maker like a 3 part video series walking us through your life with CRPGs i think that would be fantastic id watch that shit all day errday

  17. Rzurr Szarnosh IV

    I like your videos a lot and I don’t think you’re awkward at all – you’re a pretty cool guy.

    Also, I don’t think awkwardness would have anything to do with lack of popularity – most of these internet starlets that are really popular behave like horrible jerks/lunatics – not exactly the kind of people one would like to spend time with or hire.
    If you want to see awkward, look at Spoony’s videos. His Lord British interviews scored about 20000 views each, but I have found them painful to watch due to Spoony being present in them. I actually had to stop watching the interview because of him and his crew. Not to mention that he went in all cocky and simply fell apart when he actually met Lord British.

    I think that a lot of the mass appeal of these people (like Spoony, AVGN, Plinkett, etc.) is watching a mentally unhinged individual doing weird things.

    Personally, I like the interviews a lot. I also like watching the developers talk, seeing what kind of people they are, learning how they got into gaming and game development, etc.

    Though I haven’t seen many of them. I recently started regularly watching and watching older videos since the first Seth Robinson video. Before, I was watching mainly stuff that was related to my favourite games like for example Fallout.
    I suspect that a lot of people similarly watch mostly your videos related to their favourite games. For example your Tim Cain interviews have around 20000+ views each.
    So, I’d say that content is the key to getting lots of views.

  18. kravkalash

    Hey Matt,

    your show is awesome because of your presence, not in spite of it.

    YouTube views are thought to measure the impact, quality and relevance of content. Sadly, that’s just how mass media works – they are focused on reaching the masses, not their effect on the individual. I bet most of your 1000+ loyal viewers (which is, if you think about it, a large group of people) learn something or take inspiration from each episode – which is still only worth a single view in YouTube metrics. Many viewers just are not interested in videos that are longer than 5 minutes, or anything that needs more than the bare minimum of brain activity to watch. But that’s their own fault. =)

  19. James

    I just stumbled upon your site recently and think it’s great. Your stock of interviews with all the legends you’ve managed to round up here is staggering. The main problem I personally have with them is your focus on YouTube. Seems to me that you’re neglecting the big wide world of podcasting out there. I see that you have some of the chats on iTunes, but not all of them. I’d subscribe to an audio only podcast channel in a second since I love the subject matter and I listen to multiple podcasts on a daily basis. But I just don’t have the time to sit and watch long video interviews.

    It sounds like you’re spending a ton of time on what is, to me, the least important part of these interviews. Watching people talk, even with periodic graphics popping up, isn’t what people are tuning in for. They, and I, want to hear what these gaming greats have to say, and to hear you conducting the interview. But like I said, I’m new here, so take this with as many grains of salt as your doctor advises.

    As far as ideas for the future, here’s a few:
    – Unbox some of those old 80’s games. I recently took at look at my own retro gaming collection and opening up those old Ultima boxes, with their cloth maps and other trinkets, brought back a bunch of great memories. Publishers really knew how to package a game back then. It would be great to see other game boxes opened up and revealing the treasures they hold.
    – Like I said, provide an audio only version of the chats for people that like to take their chats on the road.
    – You mentioned a history podcast elsewhere on the site. I think that’s a great idea and would subscribe to that one too.
    – Start a news show on the current state of retro CRPG gaming, or even all CRPG gaming including current Kickstarters and whatnot. I looked for one on iTunes but couldn’t find anything.
    – In a similar vein, if covering the entire retro gaming world is too much, just focus on the CRPG Kickstarters of interest to your audience and provide regular updates and new ones to look for. I would love a central place I could go to, or podcast I could listen to, that would keep me up to date on all of them. I don’t even have time to keep up on the ones I’ve backed, let alone all of the others.

    Anyway, sorry for rambling. Basically, and I’m no expert, but if you want to broaden your audience you need to diversify, like a good portfolio. You’ve got a nice corner of the market here with your focus on retro games, and especially RPGs. I’d say dig in and go deeper. And as some other have said, it’s all about content, and to a lesser but still important extent, presentation. You’ve got something great here. Thanks for sticking around and fighting the good fight for all us old school gamers.

  20. Kordanor

    Personally I don’t like sitting and “watching” something which is basically audio only (though the video snippets are well done)
    So what I did was to rip the video from youtube, convert it to mp3 and then listen to it.
    Maybe that would be an alternative or addition: Move/ or add it to podcast platforms.

  21. Corwin

    Hi, I tend to agree with Bruno above. Most people don’t even know you exist!! Occasionally, I’ll see something on Jays site and take a look, and sometimes we’re sent a link to something interesting at RPGWatch and we’ll post it on our main news page, but half the time (at least) we don’t hear what you’re doing. As Bruno suggested, get the information out there to all the gaming sites which might have any interest and see what happens. If you have the time, join some of those forums and post there about what you are doing. That way you will build an audience as people get to know you. Marketing as Jay noted is tough and time consuming, but once you get it going, there’s a good chance it might start to snowball. What have you got to lose?!! πŸ™‚

  22. ShadowTiger

    I recently found your website/channel and I really enjoy the interviews. The overviews of old games is not really interesting to me.

    I have to say that quality != views. Views come from mainstream content, short form content, and also being part of a bigger social circle.

    I think that the content you have is unique and extremely valuable, please do whatever you can to keep it up.

    1000 dedicated fans is worth more than 100,000 fickle ones. I do agree that making an audio podcast could triple your numbers, as most tech oriented podcasts get around 70% audio 30% video.

  23. Morlock

    Matt, you’ve got a great show and I while I don’t know you as a singer, I love your voice as an interviewer. I am shocked to hear that your videos are not more successful, but on the other hand, I don’t see you linked to or mentioned in a lot of places.

    No suggestions from me, just a note of support. I will keep watching, and wish you the success you deserve.

  24. jaes

    First, I’ll echo what many others have said – the host, you, isn’t the problem. You’re a good host.

    As others have also mentioned, it’s probably more the content, which is quite niche. And maybe a bit of marketing.

    One suggestion I have (I haven’t read all the comments, so sorry if I repeat something):
    Your show is very long compared to most other Youtube shows, it’s probably 1.5 hours per interview on average. That’s a lot of content, and I have to admit I usually skip through the content. I know you split each interview in to topics, but it can still be overwhelming. You shouldn’t necessarily change that – the depth it’s part of what makes your show unique – and since I browse your interviews more than watch everything, I’m probably not the to give a concrete advise if you should make the interviews shorter.

    But, no matter what, you could consider making a short version of your interviews, as a supplement to the full interviews – compress those 2-4 x 30 minutes in to one 10-15 minute treat.

  25. fknolschoo

    Maybe people are just fucking retarded and like rubbish. You know what gets hits? Gandam style and justin beiber and stuff I don’t want to see. Whats on the TV? crap. Whats on the radio? ads. It’s all market researched, it’s all making money. People like the dumbest shit.

    You do a review of an early 90s game then no one really cares. Why would anyone be looking that stuff up? And most people wouldn’t even know the developer of a game from the publisher and probably couldn’t name either – let alone know who any of the developers are by name.

  26. Mark

    Hi Matt,

    I totally know how you feel.

    I watched all your shows and I enjoyed them immensely. I have been working as a game designer on one fantasy RPG and I found your videos really informative and educating. Imho there are many people out there like me who enjoy your work and find it even inspiring. And I really do hope you will continue with it. So just wanted to let you know that you are doing it right and looking forward to your future endeavors!

    Mark, Slovakia

  27. Cuthalion

    Did you have 1,000 people in the audience every week when you were in a rock band?

    This may be just echoing a lot of people, but I’m glad you’re going to keep going. The lack of views is certainly part luck and part marketing, but it’s mainly because you’re producing industry content, not consumer content. Your stuff is interesting to game developers, wannabe game developers, and a few enthusiasts. It’s long, it’s slow-paced, it’s information-based rather than entertainment-based, and it’s immensely interesting, but only to the groups I mentioned. You’re not doing anything wrong. You’re just doing something that fits more at a trade show than on YouTube.

    If you really want more views, you would need to shorten the videos to 4 minutes, edit aggressively, talk quickly and enthusiastically, and probably either only interview current celebrities or internet-famous persons or produce different content altogether. You could give rapid-fire spoken essays on gaming, if you wanted. You could keep it slower and academic like Errant Signal, if you’re content with 5-digit view counts. Etc.

    But what you’re doing right now is incredibly important, I think, for gaming history. It’s just of academic and business interest, rather than popular interest.

    Anyway, I’m glad you’re planning to keep going. It’s good stuff. If you ever decide you want to do something easier or more popular, you’ve already given us some pretty great material and now have had plenty of ideas thrown at you.

    Put me down as another “person who listens to the audio”. I feel bad, because I’m not sure it’s registering the views (since I convert it instead of letting it finish playing), but I have way more time to listen to audio than to watch video. I think your content is ideal for that. As much as you love getting the visuals in there, which is informative in itself, people discussing things is pretty much right up podcast alley. See Ear Biscuits, for example, though they’re interviewing YouTube performers about how they got there rather than game developers.

    I plan to keep tuning in to MattChat as long as you keep making it! (Even if only to listen.)

  28. L. G. Bridges

    Hey Matt — You are a really endearing dude and your ‘scholarship’ in the realm of early computer games will always be welcome. You bring a lot of intelligent commentary to your show. I’ve still not seen the majority of your episodes, have not read your books on gaming (yet!), but I think there is a definite void in the published content addressing classic gaming, specifically old-school RPGs and the like. I am still an avid gamer and play a wide variety of games, but those early games are basically in my DNA. It is great to see someone do gameplay videos with some kind of commentary beyond fart noises and cackling laughter (although those things are good too, lol). Personally, I’m more attracted to the gameplay videos, because the nostalgic aspect of that, combined with the potential for injecting humor (as you often do) and also providing a critique of sorts (what worked well, how crazily clunky is game mechanic X even though we thought it was amazing at the time, etc.) is really great. The only suggestion I would make is for you to continue turning up the volume on those exact aspects. More humor, more comparisons to other games (old and new), and just putting a great lens on the “how far we’ve come” aspect. I think that last one is crucial, as other producers in this vein rarely seem to spend much time on this. Stay focused on the comedic writing. The Angry Video Game Nerd does a lot of things both right and wrong. I find him to be a genuinely funny dude, and the in-game commentary is key to that. I think he also does a great job with scripting and planning the commentary. The diarrhea humor and elaborate live-action stuff is kind of unnecessary in my book, though. I’m sure this is all a bit rambling at this point. Bottom line, please please keep doing what you’re doing, at least as long as it’s still fun for you. You’re doing a great job and provide a unique voice among a lot of mediocre ones! Thanks for doing what you do!

  29. Erez Ben-Aharon


    Love your videos, but the popularity thing IMO boils down to this: You are just too damn nice.
    All the other channels I frequently watch (TotalBiscuit, etc.) that are extremely popular are alas populated by d*cks (the youtube personality they present, since I don’t know them in real life). You and I both know that if you were a bit more edgy and dropped an F bomb once in a while, and yell angrily at some dubious game designs (or designer) – you would certainly garner more views. I don’t think I have seen a single interview where you were critical of the person interviewing or asking the hard questions (the Brian Fargo one was probably the closest you got to it with the ‘Cranmer Affair’), nor have I seen a frustrating moment when showing off some gameplay (not even as some particularly frustrating games, such as the Bard’s Tale series).

    Having said that, don’t change a thing – it will get you popularity of the uncaring masses, but lose you your core audience that truly cares.

  30. Daniel Thomas

    Hey Matt,
    To be honest I wouldn’t change a thing, sure one can always improve, but not for the sake of getting more popular.

    As a developer, artist and gamer from the Amiga it’s VERY interesting hearing these developers talk about everything got started.

    So I’m just speaking for selfish reasons, everything is right down my alley. I have a big playlist having these running in the back while working and it is really inspirational. I don’t want some little kid doing a let’s play screaming and yelling, what you actually provide is worth something, this is great wisdom from great developers which I think any indie developer would be interested in.

    And keep your let’s plays filled with behind the scene facts and all that, that’s what is really interesting.

    This whole deal with how and what people like, you quoted it yourself in a show.
    β€œThe best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.” – Winston Churchil

    Maybe it’s pretentious of “us” to think like this, but to me it is really true.

    Anyway, keep it up!!

  31. RuThaN

    My advice:
    – content is generally good enough main problem must be elsewhere
    – throw away too much nerdy stuff like beer reviews, i hate them with whole my soul
    – invest to adventising, it realy saved lots of guys in same situations, some of my friends
    – connect with someone realy powerfull, who could evelate you, you will maybe someones sidekick, but you will in results in much better situation. A saw your articles on gamasutra, eurogamer is now creating us team, there is Polygon, Rock, paper and shotgun. Maybe do retro stuff for TotalBiscuit, there are lots of good options
    – add to every game realy review – plus / minus table and X of 10 result. It would be hard but more profesional a more adult.
    – be more all actual and provide full service – review actual games and be cruel in evalution. And between them, you could every week add some retro stuff. I watching guys like AngryJoe (million users), only because i can look on same reviews by you. He has simply better coverage, he is able review every realy memorable importat game during whole year.

  32. Mauro Rosati

    Matt, it’s not your fault, I feel you for the part about the rock band, people just ignore the real talent and skill and prefer Justin Bieber and Pewdiepie (or whatever it’s called) instead of Matt Chat and King Crimson. It’s not your fault, you’re great in every way, I wish you’d be my professor so I’d liked studying more. You have the same thought I have, I’m a pro pianist (Conservatory Trained), I play guitar, bass guitar, drums, vocals and I don’t want to sound arrogant but I think to have skill and experience, I play since I was 8-9 years old and still people prefer these pseudo X-Factor temporary star to a real skilled musician, that’s how it’s works nowadays dear Matt. And again, you don’t have to change anything, I want your gameplay videos to be longer, I really like your stile, I’ve written this also in a thread on the forum.

  33. Pingback: Weekly Links #3 « No Time To Play

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *