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7.26.21   6:00 PM

Megan Letter, the YouTube creator known as MeganPlays, makes videos ranging from colorful walkthroughs of Roblox games to snippets of her everyday life.

Letter has an audience of nearly 5 million subscribers across four channels, in addition to 3.4 million TikTok followers, making her one of the biggest gaming creators on YouTube. Her popularity has gone beyond videos, extending to merchandising, her own game development studio, and her own Roblox game, Overlook Bay, which launched last year.

Letter spoke about the challenges of building a game development studio, why TikTok’s algorithm isn’t great for creators, and why the next frontier for her channel is real life content. The conversation took place as part of a Business of Business panel about succeeding in the creator economy. You can watch the entire session, which included journalist Alex Kantrowitz and artist manager Keith Dorsey, on our YouTube channel. We'll be posting clips featuring Kantrowitz and Dorsey later this week.

  • How to build a game development studio


    While the game development studio fell into our lap, it kind of just naturally progressed that way. It wasn't a part of my dream board or anything like that. I think all creators should diversify. And my husband, he was a large YouTube creator before me and he had multiple lives as a creator where it was really working, but it wasn't working, and then he switched to cryptocurrency and I was really working. Then he got out of that and then he switched to something else that was really working. He's very “Go go go,” so he starts a lot of ventures and they all seem to succeed.

    When I started my stuff, he was immediately like, “Let's get you started on merchandise because that is super important to diversify even a little bit.” I was like, “I don't really think I'm big enough to sell merchandise.” I said it basically doesn't matter. We start now, we grow it alongside and then yeah, naturally a TikTok comes out you feel as people blowing up on TikTok like “Okay, I should get on TikTok,” do a couple of things. See what happens. See if my audience is on TikTok and my audience very much is on TikTok.

    "I started using a third party game development studio, crashed and burned my last $120,000 on that, very bad. And my husband being the guy he is, he was like, 'I'm not giving up. We're gonna do our own game studio.'”

    I do have maybe 3.4 million TikTok followers, but I don't think that they're as stuck as my 3.6 million YouTube subscribers. I think that those hold more value and brands. I'm not really sure yet though. Because so many people could explode on TikTok so fast. I do see TikTok continues to grow right now, their algorithm is a little bit messed up because they have introduced a sort of pay to win feature for some advertisers and stuff like that. It's kind of the path that we saw Instagram go down where they started valuing businesses and companies who are going to pay over creators. I saw a significant drop during that. 

    So really, the game studio fell in our lap because I am a Roblox creator and we wanted to create a game because that's what Roblox is. It's a metaverse, it's a place where you can create your own game, and then it's pushed to people. And we thought it'd be really cool to have my own game where we can create whatever content we want. And then I can create videos on that content that we created. There's some games I like to play, but they have UI everywhere. Sounds like it'd be nice to have a button to turn off that UI on the game, like “We’ll just just make our own game and implement these things.” It would make this really easy for me to create content on.

    I started using a third party game development studio, crashed and burned my last $120,000 on that, very bad. And my husband being the guy he is, he was like, “I'm not giving up. We're gonna do our own game studio.” And I was like, “Yeah, okay, sounds great. What could go wrong?” We didn't just lose $120,000 doing this or anything. But he figured it out. And he is an amazing leader. He's in meetings all day for the game studio. So I help a lot with the creative direction and the face and the ideas and fun things we could do with the games. But he manages the whole team, the programmers, the modelers, the environmental artists, and we are currently in the process of moving into a big building on the site.

    "I think all creators should diversify."

    We're moving on up and we're bringing everyone in house for the game development studio. So it really fell in our laps. But it's been a lot of hard work to get there. But like I said, we weren't like, “Let's start a game studio. And this is how we're going to diversify and do that.” The love of the craft snowballed into something a lot bigger, if that makes sense, because we also didn't really know that that was as lucrative as it was, just started being so diversifying. It's very, very important for all creators. 

    I have taken some steps back from posting Roblox on my YouTube channel, because as you can imagine, probably posting every single day on like two or three channels. It's a lot. I want to focus more on real life content in the MeganPlays brand. So I've taken a step back there, and I'm allowed to do that if I wanted to quit YouTube. Now I could, I don't want to but because we've taken these other steps to diversify, it's just been really really beneficial and it makes me feel a lot more secure in my career as a YouTuber and allows me to make the content that I want to create.

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