In an ideal world, every game would be great. Well, in an ideal world for the public. If every game were a star studded brilliance then I’d have a hard time actually doing my job. So would YouTubers. Major YouTubers have an impact on any game they play, intentional or not, they can make or break the sales of a game.
How did they end up with so much power? And is it really important what they think?
I think we can give two fairly juxtaposing examples from the everlasting bag of YouTube content creators. PewDiePie and NerdCubed, one of these I watch frequently, the other is the most subscribed person on YouTube. What differs is their subscriber base and that’s the key factor on their influence. PewDiePie currently sits at almost 54 million subscribers whereas NerdCubed has a smaller, but respectable 2.5 million.
But why bring that up? Why does it matter how many subscribers one person has compared to another. Well, it all boils down to the audience. If you released a brilliant game, who would you want to review it? Both are the correct answer, but the more subscribers the person has, the more people will play and purchase your game. It has the opposite effect if your game is terrible.
NerdCubed had a series called “NerdCubed’s Hell” wherein he played terrible games that he didn’t recommend. To dumb it down for everyone, those fifty two videos depict a game in their worst light. My question is do YouTubers have an impact on how a game does both financially and actually how many people are playing the game. There are hundreds of games being released per day. AAA to indie, it’s hard to keep up with everything that’s coming out.
So with hundreds of games released every day, how do we keep track of it all? Well, we rely on those that have made it their job to do so. Reviewers and YouTubers, they’re at the front lines, making sure only the good and enjoyable games pass. But sometimes we focus on the bad, because we need to cater to the bad to get to the good.
Take my work for example, I review terrible games because I just end up playing them anyway. I’ve now worked out a system where I just review whatever I play. Right now I’m playing through Battlefield Hardline and some games I’ve already reviewed. I play games I’ve already reviewed frequently, but if I think a game gets better or worse I won’t bother changing the score.
Regardless of that, every review and opinion does matter and adds up. Even if one person sees your work, that opinion will stick with them.
What I haven’t mentioned is streamers on Twitch. They’re a very important part of every community. Instead of playing the game yourself you watch people play it. Anyways, this is a similar system to YouTube, with thousands actively participating in popular streams. Every one of these people will most likely agree with the opinion of the person playing. I’ve always wondered what it’d be like to do a live review on Twitch and if it would work or not.
There’s a definite amount of importance that you have to undertake when you play or review a game for an audience. You can’t just make things up, it looks bad for the game, you and everyone involved really.
What I’ve been trying to say for the past few hundred words is that the opinions of others matter. Not just myself and other reviewers, but those that create content to entertain. Although, I’ve failed to answer if they have an impact on gaming in general. To which, of course they do. This is mainly in the form of lets players nowadays.
Many channels have been created in the hopes of becoming the next big lets player. There’s definitely a market for it, those who don’t have the game or don’t play the game are always looking for new content. There has always been a market for this and so many are more than willing to fill this gap.
I think the most important reason why YouTubers and reviewers in general have an impact on gaming is because they’re recognisable. Everyone has at least heard of PewDiePie and a lot of individual reviewers and YouTubers are on game trailers. Hell, I’m even on a game trailer for Ballistic Overkill somewhere out there. It helps both reviewer and public relations. The public see that their favourite gamer or writer recommends a game and they go off to play it.
This system is used pretty frequently. Smaller companies often approach YouTubers with the larger public appeal. The bigger the person, the more publicity that game gets, even better if that game is good. Some are more deserving than others. There’s a definite conflict when they’re paid to say positive things about the game. You have no idea if someone is being paid to say nice things or not. It’s all very questionable, but IGN is the biggest example of this. IGN was bribed to give positive reviews and their credibility was irreparably damaged. They lost a lot of credibility, and rightly so.
YouTubers and reviewers are a concrete wall to stop the bad games from mixing in with the good games. Jim Sterling is a notable example, having to fend off a $10 million dollar lawsuit from Digital Homicide. Sterling came out with his head held high and it’s very admirable that someone in his position was professional and forthright throughout. But why does that matter? Because no matter what a reviewer or critic or YouTuber says, they put their necks on the line from people who don’t like their work.
They’re like a last line of defence that we never really thank. So here’s to all the YouTubers, critics and reviewers out there that have stopped dreadful games becoming mainstream. And a bonus thanks to those that are trying to push the better, smaller games out there. Good on you, you’re making your influence a positive one. And for those that curb the terrible games and keep them from reaching a wider audience, good on you too!