image via YouTube Gaming
According to the ESA’s (Entertainment Software Association) 2015 report, over 155 million Americans play video games. Neilsen’s 360 Gaming Report (2014) shows that close to two-thirds of the entire United States population plays video games on some device. In terms of sales, an article from Think With Google puts the global gaming market into perspective:
The highest-grossing movie of 2014 to date,Transformers: Age of Extinction. In its 15 weeks at the box office, the film took in over $1B worldwide. By comparison, the Grand Theft Auto V game launch hit that figure in the first week of release last year. It became the fastest-selling entertainment product in history and broke another five sales records along the way, according to Guinness World Records.
For YouTube, gaming videos represents one of the most valuable and searched niches on the world’s second largest search engine. Second only to music, YouTube gaming videos top the list for most-searched topics in 2014. According to Forbes, the richest YouTuber PewDiePie is searched nearly as much as Beyonce or Drake.
For marketers, the YouTube gaming community featuring some of the most well-known top YouTubers represents a sizeable and continually growing opportunity to target highly engaged audiences who are proactively seeking out the latest gaming videos for their next consumer purchase. With the inclusion of its recently launched Gaming App in YouTube’s first subscription service “YouTube Red“, consumers and marketers alike can rest assured that gaming is here to stay and represents big business growth in the months to come.
Here are the top 5 types of YouTube gaming videos driving views, traffic, and engagement today:
Although there can be a few variations, Let’s Plays essentially follow a YouTuber playing a game. Let’s Plays typically consist of video screen grabs, running commentary (oftentimes humorous in nature), and can either be casual (with no set intent or objective) or more planned with editing to maintain a degree of quality. As one of the most popular and longstanding categories of YouTube gaming videos, Let’s Plays allow prospective video game consumers to vicariously view the experience prior to purchase.
As opposed to Let’s Plays, Walkthroughs are made with a specific objective in mind — to help the viewer progress in the game that is being played (i.e. executing side quests, finishing compendiums, optimizing your character). This type of video is primarily tips-oriented, although Walkthroughs can also be humorous in nature. Walkthroughs tend to be made of older games where larger amounts of information have been made available. The YouTuber aggregates helpful information from a variety of sources and advises the viewer on how to achieve completion.
Reaction videos are similar in many ways to YouTube unboxing videos capturing the YouTuber’s initial, real-time reaction to playing a game. Reaction videos also exist for gaming news and trailers. Though not an outright review-style video (see next YouTube gaming video below), some YouTubers will inject heavy opinions arising from their first thought reactions. While perhaps not as popular as Let’s Plays and Walkthroughs, Reaction videos definitely do have their audience — this style of YouTube video is also prevalent in other niches (see “YouTubers React To K-Pop“).
When new games come out, many gamers take to YouTube to watch video gaming reviews from notable YouTubers before settling on a purchase. Review videos take an overarching look at the game and are designed to give the viewer an idea of what to expect. As such, Review-style videos tend to be a bit more high-level and informative than other types of YouTube gaming videos.
Additionally, some viewers watch Reviews for the humorous aspect of the channels. Many channels review older games that are infamous for being bad. The reviewers are able to incorporate the negative aspects of the game into their own skits and commentary.
Machinima may be the most creative type of YouTube gaming video. Similar to a movie or short film, creators utilize computer graphics to create entertaining works of art based on gaming characters and themes. Machinimas oftentimes end up going viral because they are shared by its viewers and discussed avidly amongst large online communities.