By Sahil Patel
The gaming community is massive on YouTube, and really, the entire web. Driving this is the community itself, which has taken a passion for an interactive medium and used it to create original content — often without a gaming studio or publisher’s involvement — that in turn gets consumed in droves by other passionate fans.
Give the gaming industry credit, though. Unlike others in the media and entertainment worlds, which have a tendency to view YouTube with a critical or combative eye, those who own gaming IP have by-and-large embraced YouTube and digital video, treating it as an opportunity to expand their brand properties.
“[Game’s are] an active media,” says Jeremy Azevedo, senior director of original programming at Machinima. So when it comes to the web, the experience the industry shares with fans “has to extend beyond watching a trailer. When you’re a publisher, you’re trying to carry people through the process of hyping a game, buying a game… eventually those games will be discounted — there is a lifespan for these games in which a publisher has to keep people engaged.”
“Rather than fight [the YouTube gaming community], the game industry has embraced it and learned how to feed it and feed content into it and have a great symbiotic relationship,” adds Matt Cohen, director of business development at Machinima.
There are other popular categories on the web — music and beauty, to name just a few. But what makes gaming and its industry interesting is the different ways in which it has adapted to the rise of digital video.
The industry doesn’t just allow YouTubers to make and monetize Let’s Play videos, or talk about and promote their titles, it has also actively worked with fans who also happen to be creators to create branded content, and in some cases, even gone as far as to invest heavily into the production of TV-quality original programming.
As part of VideoInk’s gaming special issue, “Game On,” we spoke with multiple individuals within the world of gaming on how the industry has branched out on to digital video, and what insights they might have gleaned from it.