The intersection of YouTube and gaming

Gaming and YoutubeWhether it’s gathering around the living room TV or logging into your favorite online game, chances are some of your best gaming memories involve sharing the experience with others. Sure, it’s not always a multiplayer experience— but that doesn’t mean it’s not social. Swapping cheat codes, discussing plotlines, visiting forums; whether competitively or cooperatively, some parts of gaming are just more fun when you get others involved. That’s why it seems only natural that, from lending a game to one friend to playing it with a few, sharing the experience with millions is the next step.

No, I’m not talking about piracy; I’m talking about YouTube. The video sharing site has given gamers a unique opportunity to share their passion for video games with a bigger audience than ever before. Looking at the numbers, it’s obvious that we’re taking advantage of it. SimulTV, a startup social television website, commissioned a study into the most popular and engaged YouTube channels:

SimulTV commissioned the study to identify the content creators who have mastered the art and science of building strong and lasting connections with viewers, as well as to pinpoint the techniques used by social TV leaders to successfully build engaged communities. The study results highlight the success of content created by nonprofessionals for people who share their interests and sense of humor, instantly creating a personal connection that encourages social conversation.  A prime example is the gaming community, which had the largest representation on the list.

The study was an attempt to find the channels with the most engaged audiences out of the 200 channels with the most subscribers. A proprietary formula that weighted likes, views, subscribes, comments, and other activity over time was used to determine the channels’ engagement score. The results of the study, like other little-known facts about gamers, might surprise you.

Although games and gaming-related channels make up only 12% of the top 200 most subscribed, they comprise 40% of the 25 most engaged. Compare this to VEVO-sponsored music channels, also 12% of the top 200 most subscribed, who only managed to nab two spots on the list. Gaming channels are mostly concentrated at the top of the rankings; 7 out of the top 10 and 3 out of the top 5 most engaged channels fall into the category. This includes the very top spot, which belongs to VenomExtreme, a Brazillian gamer most known for his Minecraft videos.

The ubiquitous Machinma and its more gameplay-focused sister channel Machinma Respawn come in at 9th and 5th on the list, respectively. Machinma is of particular note for having racked up the most views out of the 200 most subscribed channels; the channel’s videos have been viewed more than 4.3 billion times. Even that lifetime number pales in comparison to the 2.5 billion views Machinma videos get every month, when the entire multi-channel network is included in the count.

So why do gaming videos do so well on YouTube? Surely, there’s more people interested in music or comedy videos, right? If you looked at views alone, that might be true; it’s not likely that a gaming-related video will break 1 billion views any time soon. But unlike those who will watch Gangnam Style or Harlem Shake parodies and then promptly move on to the next meme, the gaming community tends to be invested in the games and personalities we follow on YouTube. If it’s quality and not quantity that counts, then I think we’re doing just fine.

Don’t believe me? Check out the 10 gaming channels that made the list for yourself:

Breanna has been gaming since infancy, if gnawing on an unattended controller counts as playing a game. One of the younger members of the Gaming Trend family, she dabbled in PC games as a kid but wasn't fully consumed by the hobby until the sixth generation of consoles. Now an avid PC and console gamer, she looks forward to the day when she can scape together enough cash to join the next gen club. In the last week of middle school, a math teacher taught her how to program a calculator; she was pretty much hooked then and there. Currently working towards a degree in Computer Science and Applied Math, Breanna hope to someday make games instead of just writing about them. Other hobbies include playing guitar, binge-watching Netflix, and cooking delicious food.


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