Well, the subject isn’t particularly new on the gaming scene, as far as I am aware over the last 5 to 6 years we have seen the proliferation of Youtube gaming channels, basically instead of inviting your friends over to watch you play the new game you got, you just record it and post it on-line so everyone can see it. I honestly think that when this started no one predicted that it would generate this amount of fan base and views and excitement, and sponsors, and… money, a lot of money.
Youtube channels with millions of followers and millions of views on each posted video, sometimes these channels have more followers than the total population of some countries and that surely makes you think about the power one person can have over that many people.
From what I’ve seen over the last years this started with a few people just as a joke or pastime, mainly using the English language as communication, these days however you have channels in almost every major language used on the internet, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Russian, etc.
Recording your game-plays is so important that for example on the Playstation 4 Controller you have a ‘Share’ button that allows you to record and stream live over at the Playstation Network, you can then upload it into Youtube, Facebook, etc.
Never mind your childhood heroes like football players, bands, writers, actors, etc. Today the younger generations look after these youtube stars and the way they live their life is the goal. I recently saw an interview on the national Spanish TV about a famous Youtuber with more than 12 million followers, he talked about how his life changed what he lost and what he won, he is now what I call an “alternative public figure” because he is not a product of the traditional media platforms. One of the things that caught my attention during that interview was when he said that he couldn’t go out of his house because kids would camp outside his door to see him, he had to have his windows shut at all times because people would climb and take pictures… After revealing this for the first time on national TV he cried and said those were hard times for him and that people don’t know what it is like to be in that situation.
I believe the pressure and criticism is high. When they don’t upload a video for 48 hours people start to complain, when he makes a less funny video the critics are heavy and more than that immediate, if you don’t have a capacity to process the information that you receive you will end up in depression marooned in this world of “fast food” stars.
Brands, Developing studios, etc. go after these stars and offer them deals they cannot refuse, if they decide to play a certain game, it will drive a huge amount of subscribers into it. The power they have is immense.
For example: I don’t need any longer to read gamespot website to get news about games, the flow of information from the videos the youtubers post is often enough to make me satisfied.
A recent post on GameSpot:
“Felix Kjellberg, better known by his online alias PewDiePie, earned 63 million SEK (around $7.5 million) in 2014, according to financial documents.”
Vice also made a recent documentary about this new trend that is worth seeing: