Sep 20, 2013
In the last decade, the online audience for gaming related video content has grown tremendously. The birth of “Let’s Play”, machinima, guides and video reviews has allowed gamers to forge their own careers by creating their own content, based in and around the video game industry. YouTube partnerships have allowed video producers to earn money based on the amount of views their content receives, which has allowed for many new job opportunities to surface.
Not only is this great for passionate gamers looking to work in the gaming industry, but it is also great for developers. Any video content created and uploaded to YouTube is free advertising for their game. If a popular YouTuber releases a video of a developer’s game, the potential audience is huge. Not only is this good for AAA releases, but it is also great for Indie games too. Advertising and marketing a product either online or on television is expensive, but YouTube has given smaller games a chance to stand centre stage and be noticed by a large audience for little investment on the developers part.
For instance, Frictional Games’ Amnesia: The Dark Descent¸ has been played by a multitude of popular YouTubers, where recorded game-play (and sometimes their reactions to the game) have been watched and enjoyed by millions of people. All of this helps to spread the reputation of the game, and hopefully encourage the audience to purchase the game for themselves. Furthermore, it relinquishes the pressure, necessity and cost of producing a trailer; the game-play content is showcased, allowing viewers to get an understanding of how the game looks, plays and feels. Although people still take into consideration various written reviews, recordings of game-play are also invaluable in helping make a decision about a purchase.
YouTube also hosts many different channels showcasing guides, walk-throughs, speed-runs and “How To’s” for games, which demonstrate game-play and can be viewed for entertainment and gaming education purposes (i.e. how to kill a difficult boss, or solve a particular puzzle). Regardless of what the video content may contain, all of it adds to the growth and promotion of gaming, which can never be a bad thing.
It is healthy for the industry to grow and diversify online, creating more job opportunities for people who are passionate about games. The best part, however, is that with each new titled released, be it the most anticipated game of the year, or the unknown Indie title in the corner of the Steam store, is that a new channel and production company may surface, creating potential job opportunities. With the wild-fire ability to spread information online, a particular channel could explode in popularity over a few days. If the content is released on a regular basis, this encourages audiences to revisit the channel, which helps to generate high viewing figures, all of which allows for a YouTube partnership. Should these pieces all fall into place, it could lead to a career producing online, gaming-related videos.
It’s impossible to discuss Indie games and YouTube without talking about Minecraft, and it’s difficult to discuss Minecraft without mentioning The Yogscast, founded by Lewis Brindley and Simon Lane. Their YouTube channel started off as a hobby, producing World of Warcraft videos, with various “How To’s” and guides, but their popularity bloomed when they started to play and make videos in Minecraft. They started producing weekly videos in Minecraft’s Beta testing phase began, demonstrated how the game plays, but also showcasing a humorous dynamic between the pair. The Yogscast’s popularity grew in tandem with Minecraft’s, and effectively helped to promote each other’s work and develop an audience for both game and YouTube channel.
Their Lets Play series eventually grew into one of the most watched series on YouTube , and helped them become the first UK YouTube channel to hit 1 billion views. More channels have since been added to the Yogscast family, and from what started out as two friends playing and recording their actions in a video game, now consists of a production company with over 30 employees.
In a similar fashion (albeit many years earlier), Roosterteeth Productions first web-series, Red Vs. Blue, was arguably the biggest step towards producing videos and content purely for an online audience. Their Halo-based machinima web-series has become one of the most popular series online, and is currently still going strong in its 10th series. Again, what started out as several friends messing about and recording things in a video game, has grown to become a fully independent company with approximately 60 employees, creating various gaming (and non-gaming) related content with a huge fan-base.
These two examples are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to gamers making jobs because of the gaming world. As an industry, it feels as though gaming is one of the most innovative when it comes to bringing new people into a career that they are passionate about. Producing online video game related content, be it Let’s Plays, machinima, guides, introductions-to or reviews, allows people a method of employment doing what they love, creating a job opportunity that didn’t exist pre-YouTube. Of course, there is a lot more to it than just playing a game, recording it, and uploading the video to the internet, but the scope for ideas is limitless. It is impossible to tell what combinations of new games and channels will surface in the next year or so, but creating more jobs in the industry is an exciting prospect for game developers and the future video-producers.