It's been a big year for gamers on YouTube. The launch of YouTube gaming has only added fuel to an already impressive fire. Let's Playing is bigger than its ever been, and it's shown no signs of slowing down.
As this year comes to an end, we're looking back at the most successful gaming channels on YouTube. Some of the YouTubers on this list are long-standing pillars of Let's Playing, while others are up-and-comers that are taking the genre by storm.
For the most part, the most iconic names still dominate the field. PewDiePie is still the most popular YouTuber in history, boasting more than 41 million followers. Markiplier has continued to hold a strong presence this year as well, with more than 10 million followers under his belt (though it's worth noting that some of the personalities on this list have passed Mark's subscriber count). Because these two names have been so prominent for so long, it seems unnecessary to include them on this list.
Long-standing Let's Play behemoths aside, here are our picks for the top YouTube gaming channels for 2015.
This channel is run by various team member from Rooster Teeth, the minds behind the Red vs. Blue series and Achievement Hunter, a series of comedic gameplay videos.
LetsPlay's most popular videos are playthroughs of Grand Theft Auto V and Minecraft. Currently, the channel is populated with videos from a variety of games and genres, from AAA shooters like Destiny to indie sims like Surgeon Simulator and novelty games like Earwax, an auditory version of Pictionary.
This channel is unique from others on our list, because often more than one person is participating in the Let's Play commentary. There's lots of group banter in every video, which more often than not leads to some hilarious moments.
Because LetsPlay is more of a home base for multiple entertainers than it is the sole project of one gamer, they don't have any official social media pages. But you can follow @AchievementHunt on Twitter or visit the Achievement Hunter Facebook page to keep up with the LetsPlay team.
This is a Portuguese-only YouTube channel, run by Brazilian gamer Marco Tulio. His Minecraft content is by far his most popular, and it makes up most of his channel. But he also posts the occasional video from games like Happy Wheels and Five Nights at Freddy's. A lot of his videos are Let's Plays, but he will occasionally post animated shorts (like the "Life of a Creeper" video above), or even a Minecraft music video like this one:
Let's Playing is becoming increasingly more popular in Latin and South American regions, and AuthenticGames is a major contributor to this burgeoning scene in terms of both content and viewership. At the time of writing, he's averaging about 9,000 new subscribers every day.
Robbaz, a.k.a. Robert Öberg, is a Swedish YouTuber who's really taken off in the last month or so. In addition to his Let's Play videos, he has lots shorter clips that are heavily edited into comedic set pieces skits -- like his "Don't Talk to Strangers" montage, where he takes full advantage of killable children in Skyrim.
Robbaz focuses mostly on longer series as opposed to one-off videos where he tries niche games (a practice that's become very popular with names like Markiplier). His videos cover a wide variety of games and genres, from Skyrim and Fallout 4 to Minecraft and The Sims. On average, he's earning about 6 million new views and 26,000 new subscribers per month.
In addition to playing games, Robbaz is a self-proclaimed "mad scientist" whose most recent endeavor was mead-making.
Hardest part when making mead, getting all the labels at the same height. pic.twitter.com/9pOG22y2aJ— Robbaz (@RobbazTube) December 19, 2015
Kwebbelkop, whose real name is Jordi van den Bussche, is a Dutch gamer. He rocketed to stardom after the 2014 release of the Grand Theft Auto V remaster for current-gen consoles. For the better part of a year, he made almost nothing but GTAV videos.
Kwebbelkop earned his fame through stunt videos and racing collaborations in the GTAV world. He has since branched out to other games, but still maintains an extreme edge in most of his videos. In one Fallout 4 video, for example he sets off to kill the toughest creatures in the Wasteland with only the weird melee weapons he collected throughout his adventures.
4.4M views in 1 day! Breaking our old record by 1M views! We're so gonna hit this 100M views/month! pic.twitter.com/OvQpLgHtdh— Jordi v/d Bussche (@Kwebbelkop) December 21, 2015
This educational channel is the brainchild of American YouTuber Matthew Patrick. Unlike most of the other YouTubers on this list, The Game Theorists provide analytical insights and theories on games (like the theory video above). They're known for addressing difficult or niche topics. The talks range from the representation of culture in video games, to theories that change the way we see games or connect one video game universe to another.
The channel has four different hosts, who each run their own segments. Matthew Patrick (MatPat) hosts the most popular segment, Game Theory. This series explores popular video game theories as well as theories that MatPat has come up with himself. Gaijin Goomba, the second hose, runs two segments: Game Exchange, where he examines the hidden culture of a game, and Culture Shock, a series of short videos where Gaijin showcases a bit of culture in a game that simply wasn't big enough to put into a full Game Exchange episode. The third host, Ronnie, runs DNSQ (Digressing and Sidequesting) -- a series that focuses more on game design and mechanics than actual gaming. The final host, Drake, also has two regular segments: Crossover, where he connects two very different video game franchises, and Smash history, where he examines a Super Smash Bros. character's move set to see which games in that character's franchise the moves originated from.
The Game Theorists are averaging about 6,000 new subscribers per day. MatPat also has a second channel called The Film Theorists, which currently has about 1.7 million subscribers. In 2015 alone, he's collaborated with some of the biggest names on YouTube, including Markiplier, Smosh Games, and TheJWittz.
This might seem like a strange choice, seeing as the subscriber count hasn't passed the 1 million mark yet, but Funhaus another channel run by the Rooster Teeth team -- the same guys responsible for the LetsPlay channel that we mentioned earlier in this list.
This channel has only been around since February of this year, which makes the subscriber numbers much more impressive. The Rooster Teeth guys use the Funhaus channel for gameplay videos, the Open Haus Q&A series, and the Dude Soup podcast. Perhaps the most interesting series on their channel is the Demo Disk series, where the guys play old, crappy demo disks, with admittedly "varying results."
Meet the Funhaus Team.
As you probably guessed by the name, TheDiamondMinecart is a Minecraft-heavy Let's Play channel run by Dan Middleton (DanTDM).
TheDiamondMinecart showcases lots of Minecraft mods, and has a series called Diamond Dimensions, where Dan plays with a survival modpack that he put together himself. There are more than 230 videos in that series at the time of writing.
TheDiamondMinecart uses a lot of recurring characters, the most notable being Dr. Traysaurus -- a scientist who's often up to some sort of mischief. DanTDM also does an occasional collaboration with his wife, Jemma Middleton (a.k.a. xXJemmaMXx).
Dan won a Kid's Choice award this year and was also an award presenter at the 2015 Bafta Game Awards. His channel suffered a dip in views after he broke his hand in October of this year, but it looks like he's bounced back for the most part. On average, he's still pulling in about 8,000 new subscribers per day.
Today, we hit 5 BILLION total views.. That's absolutely mindblowing.. I pic.twitter.com/oU7NRQfqIX— DanTDM (@DiamondMinecart) November 25, 2015
KSI is the username for British YouTuber Olajide "JJ" Olatunji. His main focus is FIFA. His channel is fairly controversial, as his overconfident personality and racial humor doesn't rub everyone the right way.
In 2015, however, KSI hasn't been focused as much on gaming. In fact, he's used his YouTube popularity to jumpstart his hip-hop career. In March of this year, he released his first single titled "Lamborghini" (see below). The music video has garnered an impressive 30 million views, and reached #30 on the UK Top 100 chart. In October, KSI announced an upcoming debut EP, Keep Up, that will be available in January 2016.
We don't know whether or not KSI will continue doing gameplay videos in light of his budding music career, but you can keep up with him by following @KSIOlijadebt on Twitter or visiting his official Facebook page.
VEGETTA777, a.k.a. Samuel de Luque, is a Spanish YouTuber who runs one of the largest Spanish-only gaming channels on the site. He focuses on a variety of games, but his videos for games like Minecraft, Battlefield, and Garry's Mod are his most popular. Most of his current long-running series are based in Minecraft.
Although he's broadcasting from Spain, VEGETTA777 is very popular in Latin America -- much like AuthenticGames, who appeared earlier in this list. He's one of the most viewed and subscribed channels in Spanish-speaking countries, and he's currently the second most subscribed channel in Spain. He'll often collaborate with YouTubers from Spain and other Latin American countries.
Currently, VEGETTA777 is pulling in about 10,000 new subscribers per day. He also recently contributed to on an illustrated, interactive story book called Wigetta, which is based his collaborations with Willyrex.
Gracias a los que estuvisteis en la firma de libros de Barcelona.Nos alegra que os este gustando tanto el libro 💚💜 pic.twitter.com/7vQyKofEWf— Wigetta (@Wigetta) December 15, 2015
Jacksepticeye is the alias for Irish YouTuber Sean William McLoughlin -- though if you asked him, he'd say that he's the last remaining Bossatronio from the planet Bossatron. His Let's Play style is similar to PewDiePie's -- the sort of excitable and loud gamer that's grown wildly popular over the past few years. He's good friends with big names like Markiplier and Pewds himself.
Horror games are his genre of choice, but he's also famous for his series on The Escapists, The Sims, GTA V, and Happy Wheels. Several fans have made games for him, and there are even a few games (like Little Big Planet 3 and Far Cry 4) that have levels dedicated to him. On average, he's pulling in a whopping 13,000 new subscribers every day. (That's about as much as someone like Markiplier.)
Overall I spent 18 hours signing and meeting you all and it made me so happy to see so many happy faces and excited people. I love you all!— jacksepticeye (@Jack_Septic_Eye) December 13, 2015
VanossGaming, run by Evan Fong, is one of the largest gaming channels in the world right now. He's earned his fame through his comedic commentary on games like GTA V and Garry's Mod. He has a large circle of YouTuber friends who often make appearances in his videos. He also produces hilarious animated shorts to accompany stories that he and his friends tell.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about VanossGaming's channel is the fan base. Lots of channels, like PewDiePie or Smosh, have notoriously rabid fanbases that will argue relentlessly in the comments or go out of their way to attack people who express dislike for their YouTubers of choice. The Vanoss fanbase, however, is one of the most positive fanbases you'll find on YouTube. A quick look through the comments section shows a surprising lack of negativity -- rather, the fans are engaging in positive discussions and offering friendly feedback. For a channel this big, that's almost unheard of. By remaining positive and upbeat in his videos, Vanoss is constantly reinforcing his fans' good behavior.
Vanoss is pulling in about 15,000 new subscribers every day -- a number that rivals some of the most subscribed channels on YouTube. He was also featured in WatchMojo's Top 10 Let's Play YouTube Channels video, taking the #2 spot (right under PewDiePie).
Thanks for the kind words for hitting 15m. We're just getting started :]— Vanoss (@VanossGaming) November 30, 2015
That wraps up our list of the top YouTube gaming channels in 2015. Did you agree with our picks? Who would you like to see added to this list? Sound off in the comments below!