From Let's Plays to Esports: The Evolution of Video Game Content Editing

By Chris Wells
Mar 21, 2024
6 minute read
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At the intersection of technology, art, and storytelling lies the future of gaming entertainment—a landscape rich with potential, driven by the creativity and innovation of editors.

The video game industry's explosive growth, expected to reach a staggering $189.3 billion by 2024, has not only created new games and interactive experiences but also a thriving ecosystem of video content. Platforms like Twitch have surpassed traditional sports viewership among youth, not to mention the burgeoning realms of YouTube and TikTok. These platforms have become pivotal stages for gaming content, where playthroughs, tutorials, reviews, and quick challenges captivate a diverse audience range.

From casual YouTube playthroughs and TikTok challenges to the competitive frenzy of esports on Twitch, the adaptive and swift editing style unique to gaming content is pivotal. It heightens the excitement of live esports events while ensuring shorter videos retain their punch, maintaining viewer engagement through quick, compelling snippets of gameplay, reviews, and gaming humour. 

This blog aims to unpack the nuanced world of video game content editing. It will examine how cutting-edge techniques shape gaming content across platforms, transforming it from a solitary pastime to a shared, widely consumed form of mainstream entertainment.

From Playthroughs to Professional Esports

The Dawn of Let's Plays

At the turn of the millennium, the gaming world witnessed the emergence of "Let's Plays" (LPs), a format that revolutionised how we engage with video games. Originating as simple playthroughs, Let's Plays were distinguished by their addition of commentary—often humorous or critical—offering a personal touch to the gaming experience. Unlike traditional walkthroughs, LPs focused on the player's subjective journey through the game, enriching the content with personal anecdotes and emotional reactions.

This era also saw the rise of influential figures like The Angry Video Game Nerd (James Rolfe), who expanded the LP format with his critique-filled adventures through retro games. Rolfe's blend of humour, criticism, and nostalgia and his editing prowess set a new standard for gaming content, inspiring countless others to follow in his footsteps.

Evolving to Esports: A Leap in Production

From these grassroots, gaming content branched out into the spectacle of professional esports, marking a significant shift in editing technology and production values. As dedicated esports leagues emerged, they adopted broadcast-quality production standards, necessitating dedicated editing teams to craft content that matched the intensity of the professional gameplay.

This branching out from playthroughs to esports broadcasts was not merely a leap in content quality but also a reflection of the gaming audience's growing appetite for high-energy, engaging experiences that mirrored the excitement of competitive gameplay.

While casual gaming videos continued to thrive, esports editing catered to a new segment of viewers seeking the adrenaline rush and narrative drama of professional tournaments. The emergence of esports editing represented gaming content's expansion into a new frontier, one that demanded a level of polish and production value on par with traditional sports broadcasts.

Influence of Early Innovators

These types of content laid the groundwork for the dynamic and engaging content that defines the modern gaming and esports landscape. By blending personal insights with gameplay, these pioneers created a blueprint for content that resonates with audiences on a deeper level, bridging the gap between gamers and viewers.

As we look to the future, the evolution of online gaming content continues, driven by technological advancements and the creative vision of content creators. This ongoing transformation promises to elevate the viewer experience further, offering new ways to engage with the world of gaming. Whether through immersive esports broadcasts or entire homemade documentary features, the legacy of early gaming content creators remains a pivotal influence, inspiring the next generation of editors and gamers alike.

Key Editing Techniques in Esports and Gaming Content

Elevating the Pace in Esports

Maintaining an electrifying energy level is paramount in the digital arena, where gaming content reigns supreme. Editors weave this magic through swift cuts and seamless transitions, echoing the game's inherent pace. This method ensures that viewers remain glued to their screens, engrossed in the non-stop action. It's a dance of pixels and sound, where each edit is a beat in the heart-pounding rhythm of gaming content.

The Art of Montages

The pinnacle of gaming content lies in its highlight reels and montages. These are not merely compilations but narratives that celebrate skill, strategy, and the sheer thrill of competition. They evoke anticipation, highlight player prowess, and set the stage for dramatic showdowns. Through their stylistic editing, these montages become anthems of the gaming world, immortalising moments of victory and valour (at least in videogame form).

Harmonising Gameplay and Commentary

One of the most delicate balances to strike in gaming content is between the action on screen and the commentary. Editors adeptly juggle gameplay footage and commentator insights, ensuring a seamless narrative flow. This equilibrium not only enhances the viewing experience but also enriches the content, making it accessible and enjoyable for a diverse audience.

Advanced Graphics and Visual Effects

In the esports arena, advanced graphics and visual effects do more than dazzle; they provide a window into the complex strategies and split-second decisions that define the competition. The Overwatch League (before it imploded) is a testament to this, employing real-time data visualisation to break down gameplay strategies, making the action comprehensible and captivating for both seasoned aficionados and newcomers alike.

Narrative Crafting

At its core, editing gaming content is about storytelling. Whether it's a gripping esports tournament or a casual playthrough, editors craft narratives that captivate audiences. For esports, they delve deep into the journeys of players and teams, employing documentary-style techniques to foster a connection with viewers. 

For other gaming videos, editors weave narratives through creative editing choices. A skilled YouTube creator can turn a simple playthrough into an engaging adventure by building tension, highlighting pivotal moments, and injecting humour or drama.

On TikTok, quick edits and seamless transitions help construct compelling narratives within seconds, drawing viewers into the world of a game or challenge. Across platforms, editing transforms gaming from a solitary experience into a shared narrative, allowing audiences to live the thrill, excitement, and emotion of each gaming moment vicariously.

Challenges and Solutions in Editing Gaming Content

Navigating the Fast Pace

In the world of gaming content, where action unfolds at breakneck speed, editors face the daunting task of capturing the essence of gameplay without losing the audience in a blur of motion. The key lies in executing precise, strategic edits that maintain the narrative's coherence and engagement.

This challenge requires not only a technical mastery over editing tools but also an intimate understanding of the game's storyline and dynamics. Effective editors must weave through the adrenaline-pumping sequences, ensuring that the narrative thread remains visible and compelling, thus keeping viewers hooked and emotionally invested in the unfolding action.

Embracing Technological Evolution

The digital landscape of gaming and streaming is in constant flux, with new technologies and platforms emerging at a dizzying pace. For editors, this means the learning never stops. Staying abreast of the latest editing software, graphic enhancements, and streaming innovations is crucial for keeping content fresh and engaging.

Editors must be agile and ready to incorporate new features and techniques that enhance storytelling and viewer interaction. This adaptability not only keeps their content at the cutting edge of gaming entertainment but also allows editors to push the boundaries of creative expression, introducing audiences to new storytelling possibilities that redefine what gaming content can be.

Crafting Immersive Experiences

One of the most significant challenges in gaming content editing is creating an immersive experience that mirrors the intensity and immersion of actual gameplay. Editors are tasked with selecting the most impactful moments from hours of footage, condensing them into a format that captivates and retains viewer attention.

The solution often involves innovative uses of visual and sound effects to heighten the sensory experience, making viewers feel like they are part of the game world. Techniques like picture-in-picture for showing player reactions or incorporating game soundtracks and sound effects can significantly enhance the immersive quality of the content.


Navigating through the evolution of video game content editing reveals a dynamic landscape shaped by early influencers and cutting-edge techniques. From nostalgic Let's Plays to the adrenaline-fueled world of esports, editing has transformed gaming into a globally shared experience.

Editors harness tools like Lightworks to master the fast pace and technological advancements, crafting narratives that resonate with audiences and capture the essence of gaming culture. This creative vision pushes the boundaries of gaming content, turning solitary play into a compelling, communal phenomenon.

The future of gaming content brims with potential, driven by technological progress and a growing audience craving engaging experiences. For those at the editing helm, the opportunity to influence gaming's next era is immense. By leveraging innovative editing tools and drawing inspiration from the field's pioneers, creators can forge immersive, captivating content. This is more than entertainment; it's a chance to unite diverse communities in a shared passion for gaming. Thus, the journey of video game content editing continues, inviting all to shape its trajectory with every cut, transition, and narrative twist.

Additional Resources

For deeper dives into editing techniques and Lightworks tutorials, visit Lightworks Resources. Enhance your skills, discover community insights, and bring your creative visions to life.

Transform your video editing journey with Lightworks. Whether crafting a short film, a documentary, or a personal vlog, Lightworks gives you the tools to tell your story your way. Download now and embark on your path to becoming a master storyteller.


Author's Note — AI and Content Generation

In our commitment to transparency and ethical practice, we wish to disclose that artificial intelligence (AI) played a role in crafting this piece. However, it remains primarily a human endeavour, with the core content written, edited, and meticulously proofread by our team. 

AI served primarily as a tool for workshopping drafts, researching topics, and ensuring a consistent writing style. Importantly, our use of AI is designed to complement, not replace, our team's efforts. It allows us to efficiently utilise our resources, enhancing our work without compromising or diminishing the value of human skill and creativity.