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The gaming industry (which includes mobile gaming, PC gaming, and console gaming) generated $100 billion in revenue in 2016, making it one of the most lucrative forms of entertainment for both game developers and advertisers who partner with game makers and gaming influencers. To put that figure in perspective, the revenue of the entire U.S. film industry is projected to be $35 billion in 2019. As we highlighted in a previous post entitled “Why YouTube Gaming Channels Are Seeing Immense Growth,” YouTube is now the epicenter of the gaming community, and gaming videos are the 2nd most popular type of video on the platform. According to ReelSEO, ads on YouTube gaming videos and marketing collaborations with game-playing YouTubers brought in close to $4 billion in 2015, and the audience for gaming videos is projected to grow to almost 800 million by 2017.
The growth of the gaming industry and the popularity of YouTube gaming videos have prompted brands to look beyond what many consider the “typical” YouTube gamer (i.e. young men) and seek influencer marketing partnerships with an increasingly popular type of social media star: the female YouTube gamer.
While the YouTube gaming community may still be considered a “boy’s club” in many respects (the majority of the most-viewed videos are published by men and the most well-known, well-paid gamers all have a Y chromosome), female gamers on Youtube are quickly gaining ground on their male counterparts.
According to an insightful article by The Washington Post’s Gail Sullivan, women now make up 48% of the total gaming population, up from 40% in 2010. Though some argue that this statistic, which includes mobile gaming on games like Candy Crush, does not represent the “real” gaming community, today’s most serious female gamers are standing toe-to-toe with men by attracting millions of devout followers, both male and female, to their YouTube gaming channels.
A recent Google survey of over 2,000 people who regularly watch YouTube gaming videos found that 30% of the audiences were female. While no data was given regarding the percentage of female audiences who also watch female gamers on YouTube, the statistic reveals a noteworthy trend: the gaming space is gradually shifting toward gender equality, and marketers looking for a way to capture the growing number of female viewers should consider female gamers as viable candidates for influencer marketing partnerships and brand ambassador opportunities.
Infographic courtesy of Google
SSSniperWolf posts primarily Let’s Play videos (which are a type of video wherein the YouTube gamer plays a game while adding commentary) of Call of Duty: Black Ops, Far Cry Primal, Star Wars Battlefront, Halo, Metal Gear Solid, Grand Theft Auto, Assassin’s Creed, and other well-known first-person shooter or third-person action/adventure games. Sssniperwolf’s gaming commentaries generate high levels of engagement with her 3.1 million subscribers, and her fans particularly enjoy her vlogs (video blogs).
Self-described as “The Queen of FIFA,” Fangs recently exceeded the million-follower mark, and her soccer and soccer gaming-related videos have been viewed 150 million times. (One of her most-watched videos featured a FIFA “match” between her and top YouTube gamer KSI.) Like other successful female YouTube gamers, Fangs’ gaming channel also includes non-gaming videos like Q&As and IRL (“In Real Life”) content which serves to help audiences further develop a connection with the social media star.
Though LDShadowLady’s first videos were actually Call Of Duty Let’s Plays, the British YouTube gamer has made a name for herself playing the popular strategy game Minecraft for her audience of 2.2 million subscribers. “Shadowcraft,” LDShadowLady’s most popular Minecraft series, is single-player survival mod (modification) which features the gregarious female gamer’s commentary as she describes the events of each “episode.” The girl gamer has also been known to play Gary’s Mod, Portal, and Sims 4, as well as horror games like Outlast, Slender, and Jeff the Killer.
One of the most popular female gamers on YouTube, IHasCupquake’s (also known simply as Cupquake) gaming channel has garnered over 4.7 million subscribers and over 1.8 billion video views. Though Cupquake is known for Let’s Plays, walkthroughs, and commentaries of games like Minecraft, Five Nights at Freddy’s, Grand Theft Auto, and The Sims, many of her most popular videos feature DIY projects, cosplay, cooking tutorials, animations, and non-gaming vlog content, making her appealing to lifestyle audiences as well as gaming fans.
Known in the gaming world as Dodger, this female YouTube gamer has attracted large audiences through her Let’s Plays of games like They Bleed Pixels, Lucius, Dead Space, Off, Faster Than Light, Borderlands 2, Left For Dead, and Arkham Knight, and via her engaging vlog series “Gaming Newz” and “Coffeh Time.” Dodger’s bubbly personality and entertaining video content help her to reach audiences beyond the gaming community, and she has even posed for a Playboy.com photo shoot.
Canadian gamer OMGItsFireFoxx is best known for unboxing videos and Let’s Plays of popular games like Minecraft, The Sims 4, Grand Theft Auto, and Counterstrike, but like many other female YouTube gamers, her gaming channel’s most-watched videos are vlog-style content about non-gaming topics. To date, OMGItsFireFoxx has over 720K subscribers.
Top female YouTube gamer RPGMinx provides popular witty commentary during Let’s Plays of horror games like Five Nights at Freddy’s, Lucius, and Salem, which all generate a large number of video views (over 229 million to date). Often dark or morbid in nature, TheRPGMinx’s videos also include machinima mash-ups with live-action footage, original rap songs, and gaming-related animations.
In addition to unboxing videos, walkthroughs, and Let’s Plays of titles like Tomb Raider, Dark Souls 3, Quantum Break, and World of Warcraft, MelonieMac reviews tech and gaming gadgets and provides her 300K subscribers with lots of great gaming-related information. As one can tell from the video below, MelonieMac distinguished herself from “fake” girl gamers, and her content speaks to that claim.
While U.K.-based YammyXOX is best known for her channel’s Minecraft and The Sims Let’s Plays and gaming commentaries, the popular female YouTube gamer has also been known to play strategy and adventure games like Tomb Raider, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, and various mobile games.
With over 1.3 million subscribers, YOGSCAST Hannah is one of the top female gamers on YouTube today. Her channel includes Let’s Plays and commentaries of a variety of well-known titles, including Minecraft, Assassin’s Creed, Batman: Arkham Knight, and Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, but also features unboxing videos of lesser-known indie games. A true gamer’s gamer, YOGSCAST Hannah’s videos rarely deviate from gaming-related content.