The international gaming community has been growing exponentially and now has a whole subset of video channels dedicated to exploring games. Gaming used to be a solitary pastime, but now it has become more culturally accepted and celebrated.
The way that gamers interact with each other has also changed. People have created their own gaming communities by reviewing games, offering strategy advice, and even creating new content, such as cosplay videos that focus on characters from favourite games. YouTube has a separate domain for this vibrant subculture of enthusiasts, which was launched in August of 2015.
With over a billion users, YouTube provides brands with excellent advertising opportunities on gaming channels, because the content tends to be authentic; it is user reviewed, after all. There are over 500 gaming channels now, a lot of them on YouTube.
Here are a few of them for 2016, described below:
By far one of the most popular gaming channels is run by FelizKjellberg, or Pewdiepie. He has a whopping 45 million followers and focuses mostly on horror themed games. He’s Swedish, quite funny, young, and recently developed a YouTube Red Series, called ‘Scare Pewdiepie’, in which he places himself ‘inside’ of the games he reviews as he plays them.
He is the first YouTube user to reach over 10 billion views, and his followers even have a name – the Bro Army. His popularity boosts sales of games, and it’s easy to see why.
The next top YouTube Channel is Smosh Games. Run by two guys that actually work for Smosh, the channel has 6.8 million followers and has had about 1.9 billion video views to date. They feature all kinds of YouTube gaming videos, including walkthroughs, reviews, Let’s Play – in which players will play the game live as they review it, and more. They tend to review popular games like Halo, Assassin’s Creed, and Slender Man.
The next one on the list is Olajide ‘JJ’ Olatunji, or KSI. He tends to review a popular sports game called FIFA by creating video remixes and adding commentary. He boasts 13 million subscribers and has had 2 billion views. He recently added to his content by including real life challenges related to soccer, comedy skits, as well as pranks.
Variety Magazine rated him as having one of the most influential gaming channels among teens, even more so than Pewdiepie.
The Syndicate Project
The Syndicate Project was created in 2010 by Tom Cassell, who is British, and has about 9.7 million subscribers. His channel was originally focused on ‘Let’s Play’ videos of games like Halo, but soon came to include real life adventure videos, like skydiving, along with reaction videos and reviews for first person shooter games like Minecraft and Call of Duty.
In 2014 Cassell partnered with Adam Montoya of SeaNanners and 3BlackDot, a gaming company, to create a multi-channel network that is dedicated to fairly representing the most popular gaming YouTubers. The network is called Jetpack.