Erik Range, also called Gronkh (born 10 April 1977, in Braunschweig, Germany), is a computer games developer best known for creating and publishing the YouTube playthrough video game series Let's Play. Range markets these games through the company PlayMassive GmbH, which runs a computer games website. Gronkh is the most popular representative of the "Let's Play" genre in Germany.
Erik Range was born to a German father and a Russian mother in Braunschweig in 1977. He first gained recognition in the computer games industry as the guide for Bard characters that featured in the online role playing game Meridian 59. This is where he first used the gamer-tag "Gronkh", which he still uses today. Range said his pseudonym is a portmanteau of the name "Gregor Onkh". He has been managing partner and co-founder of PlayMassive GmbH since 2009. Colleague, shareholder, manager, and fellow co-founder of the company is Valentin Matthias Rahmel, whose online pseudonym is Sarazar. Rahmel collaborates with Range on YouTube.
Since 2010, Range has regularly published "Let's Play" videos, in which he talks about his progress in various games. He published his first video on 1 April 2010; a test recording for the online game Allods Online. Since then, he has become one of the most popular German-speaking providers of these formats. His YouTube channel has had over 4 million subscribers and over 1.7 billion video views, and is one of the most successful channels on the website. He is one of the first commercial German creators and providers of related videos. Range's work is supported by game manufacturers that want to promote 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 Range's channel. Since early 2012, Gronkh has been registered as a trademark to PlayMassive GmbH at the German Patent and Trademark Office.
Range operates the website Gronkh.de as a part of the PlayMassive network. Gronkh.de features Range's YouTube videos and a list of other Let's Play users of PlayMassive. Gronkh.de is financed through advertising sponsorship. Range also operates a real-life channel called Die Superhomies with Rahmel, which is about the two men's travels. The channel has gathered around 440,000 subscribers since 2006.
Range's best-known series is his Let's Play Minecraft series, which he started 19 October 2010 and ended on 25 January 2014. He published 10- to 20-minute episodes and received around 150,000 views per video. There are 1,278 parts of this series. Episode #1000 was supposed to be released on 15 April 2013, but instead, episode #999.1, and subsequently the episodes #999.2 - #999.999 were released, which is why the last episode is numbered #1,251. From 18 May 2012 until 28 November 2014, the online video portal MyVideo had featured a live stream, in which Sarazar and Gronkh played new games together or interacted with viewers. The live stream regularly reached over 65,000 spectators. On 1 March 2013, Range worked with other representatives of Let's Play to organize MyVideo live streams featuring "Last Man Standing" videos, in which Range played computer games with his team against PietSmiet's hard reset for about eight hours. The live stream has more than a million viewers.
Since mid-April 2014, a 24-hour stream of the Let's Play videos and other commentators of Gronkh.de are shown. As of 22 May 2016, Range is the second most subscribed YouTube channel in Germany with more than 4,150,000 subscribers, the most subscribed channel in Germany is the football channel freekickerz with more than 4,350,000 subscribers.