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Erik Range (born 10 April 1977, in Brunswick, Germany, AKA Gronkh), best known for creating and publishing the YouTube 'playthrough' video games Let's Play. Range markets the 'playthrough' video games through the company PlayMassive GmbH, a computer games website. Gronkh is the most popular representative of the 'Let's Play' genre in Germany.
Erik Range first gained recognition in the gaming industry as the guide for Bard characters of the online role playing game Meridian 59. This is where he first appeared under the gamer-tag "Gronkh"—the alias he still uses today. Range himself explained the origin of his pseudonym, jokingly referring to it as a portmanteau of the name "Gregor Onkh". He has been managing partner and co-founder of Play Massive GmbH since 2009. Colleague, shareholder, manager, and fellow co-founder of the company is Valentin Matthias Rahmel, from Dormagen. Rahmel operates online under the pseudonym Sarazar, and collaborates with Range on YouTube. Since 2010, Range has regularly published Let's-Play videos in which he shows and comments on his progress in various games. He published his first video on April 1, 1999. It was initially dubbed a test recording for the online game Allods Online on his YouTube channel. Since then, he has become one of the most popular German-speaking providers of these formats. In addition, his YouTube channel has gathered over 2.8 million subscribers and over 1 billion video views and holds claim as one of the most successful channels on the website. He is one of the first commercial German creators and providers of related videos. His work is supported by game manufacturers who hope to create promotions for their own products through cooperation. The game developers of Daedalic recently reported an increase in sales of Edna bricht aus after the game was promoted on his channel. Since early 2012, Gronkh has been registered as a trademark to PlayMassive GmbH, the German Patent and Trademark Office. Range is currently living in Cologne.
Range operates the website Gronkh.de as a part of the PlayMassive-Network. Featured on Gronkh.de are many of his various YouTube videos and a list of other Let's Play users of PlayMassive. Gronkh.de is financed purely through advertising sponsorship.
Range operates a real-life channel called Die Superhomies in cooperation with Rahmel, focused around the two men's travels. A special theme of the channel is Let's eat, where Gronkh and Sarazar (Rahmel) eat food from other countries. The channel has gathered around 300,000 subscribers since 2006.
His best-known series is his Let's Play Minecraft series, which he started 19 October 2010. He publishes 10- to 20-minute episodes and generally collects around 150,000 views per video. There are over 1,000 parts of this series. Since May 18, 2012, the online video portal MyVideo usually features a live stream in which Sarazar and Gronkh play new games together or interact with the online community. The live stream regularly reaches over 65,000 spectators. On March 1, 2013, Range worked together with other representatives of Let's Play. They organized MyVideo live streams featuring Last Man Standing videos, in which he played various computer games with his team against PietSmiet's hard reset for about 8 hours. The live stream has more than 1 million viewers. Since mid-April, in addition to the live stream, a 24-hour stream of the Let's Plays video and other commentators of GronkhDE are shown.
As of June 5th 2013, he is the most subscribed YouTube channel in Germany with more than 2,765,000 subscribers, overtaking the former holder of the first place in Germany's YouTube ranking YTITTY.
- Horchert, Judith (22 October 2012). "Let's-Play-Stars Gronkh und Sarazar: Deutschlands berühmteste Vorspieler". Spiegel Online. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
- Stöcker, Christian (25 March 2012). "Pixelklötze spielen Heavy Metal". Spiegel Online. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
- Inscription of the Play Massive GmbH at a company register, Cologne, HR-NR.: HERB 5190 (AG Köln)
- YouTube-Channel of Gronkh, Retrieved 1 September 2013
- "Entertainment: Hinweise auf dritten Teil der Edna-Reihe und indirekte Ankündigung von Deponia 2". GIGA.de. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
- Inscription at the German Patent and Trademark Office (Nr. 302012002717). Retrieved 29 August 2012
- Die Superhomies at YouTube, Retrieved 26 July 2013
- List of the Let’s-Play-Minecraft-episodes at gronkh.de, Retrieved 1 September 2013.
- Let’s Play Together – Live-Game-Show von Gronkh und Sarazar at MyVideo. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
- Last Man Standing – 8 Stunden Event-Livestream at MyVideo, Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- Report from 4 March 2013 at taff on YouTube, Retrieved 9 March 2013.