Interactive Entertainment Renaissance: The success of gaming on YouTube
38 Million hours. That is approximately how many hours of YouTube the world watched this year. That’s about four million hours in a month. There is no doubt that YouTube is a popular service. However, thanks to the advent of console capturing devices in the mid 2000s, plus the addition of a sub-site dedicated to gamers just this year, this Google-owned service has become an indispensable part of gaming culture. But what else has helped YouTube reach such success?
The Hype Train Runs Right Through It
The first advertisement for a video game came to us in 1973 with the Magnavox Odyssey, which showed us various games like Hockey, Football, and Geography - of all things. Today, gaming advertisements and trailers have become something that gamers look forward to seeing every year at events like the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) or the Tokyo Game Show (TGS). Since only industry professionals and journalists can attend these trade shows normally, YouTube provides fans everywhere with the opportunity to see new gaming content and even exclusive footage and interviews that aren’t available anywhere else.
For example, the critically-acclaimed official trailers for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain were all streamed live to YouTube during each E3 conference from 2013 to 2015. Since then, those trailers, and every trailer that was uploaded to YouTube in between, have reached nearly 9.5 million views. This figure isn’t including re-uploads by other users, fan-made trailers, previews, reviews, or demonstrations of the game before its release in September.
In addition to this, YouTube is also a great way for fans to showcase original content that relates to their favorite franchises. Since virtually every developer and their marketing team has a social media presence in some form or another, this platform allows the more creative fans of a franchise to display their hard work - and sometimes even get it noticed by those developers. These fanmade works can take the form of music, short films, modifications to existing games, or even entire games based on their interests. And YouTube has a way for you to experience them all.
It's Got a Lot of Personality
As of September of 2015, around 15 of the top 100 YouTube channels are gaming channels, and that's not including the platform’s own #Gaming channel, or any of the pop culture channels that frequently have gaming-related content on them.
Of these top 15, 25-year-old Swedish gaming star PewDiePie holds the number one spot...not just in the Gaming niche, but in the whole of Youtube. This means that his channel has literally overtaken YouTube itself. Or, more precisely, it overtook YouTube’s Spotlight channel, which has only 23 million subscribers, compared to Pewdie's 39 million.
There are several other popular game streamers with varying levels of success - like Tobuscus, AlChestBreach, and Gopher - all of who stream many different games and content catering to different fans in the gaming niche. With the advent of YouTube’s gaming specific site, every gamer that wanted to stream their games online will now have each and every one of these top streamer’s fans looking at their content since it now has a home alongside the celebrities’ videos, and that presents a unique opportunity for any aspiring YouTube Gamer.
Overall, YouTube Gaming is a step in a direction that will elevate gaming into the stratosphere. Let's plays, commentary, and even eSports will become an larger part of an internet community that has already embraced gaming culture in all of its forms. New content is uploaded and streamed to YouTube every day, and who knows? Maybe the next PewDiePie is reading this article right now, planning their next big idea.