Monday, December 12, 2016

PewDiePie Stunt Should Open Eyes for YouTube's Rules

Before we begin, let's take a moment to mourn the awkward turn of gaming journalism. Never in my life did I ever expect that my little gaming blog, like so many gaming news sources out there, would spend time talking about a YouTube personality. The growth of YouTube and platforms like Twitch have created a new era for gaming, for good or ill. It's changing the way games are reviewed, played, and presented to consumers.

There was a kerfuffle over the weekend with YouTube celebrity PewDiePie (PDP), who is known for gaming walkthroughs, silly videos, and has his own YouTube Red series. PDP made a bold claim that he was going to delete his channel once he reached 50 million subscribers. Which sounded insane and seemed like a stunt, given that he is the highest paid personality on YouTube and makes a living off his videos.

Needless to say it's Monday morning, he has over 50 million subscribers, and his main channel is still up. He even made a video of "deleting his channel" and the news sites reporting on it. The channel he deleted was called 'Jack Septiceye2' due to low performance and claims that YouTube is promoting click-baity content over original programming. Knowing that this was all a joke, it's hard to tell if there is any truth to his concerns. Because even though his "channel deletion" video was meant to string along viewers, there is a real concern from YouTubers that Google's changes to rules and ad revenue could hurt them. It's been pretty clean over the years that YouTube is favoring channels that are signing up for subscriptions and promoting advertisements. Independent artists or videos that are too short/long for YouTube's tastes tend to fall into the oblivion and are rarely promoted to the main page. It's a battle I've been fighting for years with CosPod - wanting to keep the channel free from advertising while trying to increase viewers.

Yes this was a stunt, but maybe we could look beyond that and talk about how YouTube's system is making it difficult, if not impossible, for new artists to become established? Promoting advertising revenue over creativity could turn into the downfall for the platform - leaving the door wide open for Twitch to take over.

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