The video game industry is massive and growing at a rate that shows no signs of slowing down. By 2019, game sales are set to reach more than $118 billion, with most sales happening in the Asia-Pacific region, and China likely being the overall top game market.
The way in which games are marketed and the interactions between gamers is also changing, and this has to do in part with the explosion of gaming culture in general. Gaming is becoming an ever more social activity, not only through online multiplayer platforms, but through YouTube gaming channels that act as a common ground for gamers to communicate. Since anyone with a strong personality or an original idea can earn money from YouTube videos, there has been a sharp increase in the number of gamers looking to share their experiences online. These gaming videos appear on a number of different formats, the most popular being Let's Plays (gameplay with narration), walkthroughs, machinima (custom videos created from gameplay), as well as reviews.
This content is extremely popular and some of the most-watched on YouTube and indeed the internet. But who are the top creators leading this content gold rush?
PewDiePie, real name Felix Kjellberg, has become massively famous for his Let's Play videos which are mostly focused on horror or suspense themed games, Minecraft, and a number of smaller flash games. He's had enormous success, having helped develop the YouTube Red series, "Scare PewDiePie" which places Felix in a series of live horror scenarios. He's also the most popular YouTube creator of all time, having amassed at the time of writing almost 55 million subscribers – which he calls his Bro Army.
See the preview of the series below:
Seán William McLoughlin, better known as Jacksepticeye, is an Irish YouTuber who has been around since late 2012. He's known for his energetic videos, almost all of which begin him saying loudly to the camera, "Top 'o the mornin' to ya laddies! My name is Jacksepticeye!" His accent, loud commentary and frenetic nature are just as notable as his green hair, which he dyed with fellow YouTuber Markplier for charity. Although his favorite game genre is adventure, he creates Let's Play content of a number of different games from multiple genres. Currently sitting at the 30th most-subscribed channel, Jacksepticeye has over 15 million subscribers.
The Freezing to Death video from Jacksepticeye's channel, and he also starts this one with "Top 'o the mornin' to ya laddies! My name is Jacksepticeye!":
The Game Theorists
Matthew Patrick is the brain behind The Game Theorists, a channel that exists to, in MatPat's own words, "overanalyze" games. One of the more academic channels out there, The Game Theorists channel also covers the history of games such as Life is Strange and Spyro. Sitting on around 8 million subscribers, MatPat is dropping some knowledge on the world of gaming. For a better idea of what goes on, check out this breakdown of the physics involved in the game Portal:
The Syndicate Project
At a fraction under 10 million subscribers, the Syndicate Project, aka Tom Cassell, is a British YouTuber blazing the trail with Let's Play gaming videos that initially focused on Halo and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. However, he soon expanded his repertoire to include Black Ops Zombies, Minecraft, and a number of videos unboxing first person shooters. Tom also runs a Twitch channel with over 2.4 million followers, making it the most popular channel on the website.
Here's the video of Tom having fun in Modern Warfare Remastered: