It is no secret that a great deal of YouTube’s traffic comes from it’s infinitely increasing gaming community. Next to music videos and sports clips, video game content holds a large quantity of data space on the YouTube servers. Competitive, family oriented, casual, and not-so family oriented gaming dominates the view count and subscriber numbers amongst YouTube statistics. Before the explosion of YouTube’s success, people who uploaded videos of themselves playing games were called nerds, now, they are known as content producers. The market for these gamers/producers has become extremely lucrative. The more traffic the channel receives, the more ad revenue the uploader and YouTube receives. More than one hundred hours of footage is uploaded to YouTube every minute, yet hundreds of millions of viewers all make the conscious decision to watch others play video games. This phenomena absolutely baffles me. Throughout my entire life, I always wanted to play the game. As a child I would watch my older brother hog the console and do everything differently than I would have. This was absolute boredom-torture. I needed to play myself, experience the game my own way. I used to leave the room whenever he was playing so that I could jump on the Playstation One later that night and make the experience my own.
This brings me back to my original question, why has watching video games become more enjoyable than playing them? The second most subscribed on YouTube has 15,630,682 people tuning in every time he uploads a video, all of which are gaming related. A regular guy from Sweden commentates as he plays a multitude of games and has over fifteen million people watch him regularly. With almost 3 billion total views on PewDiePie’s channel, he is undoubtedly making six figures from doing what I wish I could do all day. These Let’s Play “X” series have become a form of entertainment. For instance, if one were to ask another before YouTube’s existence whether they would rather watch someone play a game or play it themselves, the answer seems obvious. For many people, YouTube gaming content has replaced cable TV and other sources of entertainment.Yet these gaming statistics are observed everyday on the internet. It’s free, and for some reason, so damn captivating. Personally, I do not understand the hype. Maybe it is a small phase of YouTube trends. Has a shift occurred in the age demographic of twelve to thirty year old males? Is it possible that this craze is reflective our youth’s ideals? Modern consumerism at it’s best. The number of creators is lessening and the number of viewers is growing.