Ever since I was introduced to the James Rolfe aka AVGN years ago, I wanted to start a gaming channel. I was impressed how he used the platform to discuss video games and geek culture as a whole. Before YouTube I only found discussion about video games through magazines, X-play, and my own circle of friends.
Due to Rolfe’s success alot of people migrated to the platform to share their passion for video games, and overtime this lead to a oversaturation of gaming channels. With that oversaturation came a loss of sincerity. Rolfe and other early content creators state they started off uploading videos as a hobby. Rolfe had already made videos since he was a child and YouTube was just the vehicle to share his ideas with the world.
Compare the content back then to whats being put out now and the difference is night and day. The platform has become about quantity instead of quality. The amount of work YouTubers put in back then was astounding the scripts, the skits, the editing; so much thought and care would go into a single video. Some YouTubers still continue to work hard and put out thought provoking content: Arlo, The Geek Critique, and Avalanche reviews to name a few.
Nowadays the most popular channels seem to recite news articles, make misleading titles, and discuss drama/controversy. This lead to me not fully engaging YouTube not only as a viewer, but also rethinking my plans of using YouTube as platform to find community while sharing my passion for video games.
I would see the birth and rise of one of these channels personally. At first this YouTuber attempted to make a “network” similar to Machmina or Screwattack while using YouTube to engage in drama/debates with bigger channels, as well as to drive traffic to his website. The website to me was interesting more so the psychology of the creator and the userbase. To put it bluntly the site was bias, it favored a certain company heavily.
It was to an unhealthy level; since the company wasn’t doing to well at the time it was faced with both unfair and fair criticism. Even fair didn’t matter in the case of this site any criticism made was met with vitriol, downvoted, and would get people banned if it crossed with the site owner’s aarogance.
This isn’t a problem as the owner can do as he wishes. The problem was that the owner claimed to be a “professional journalist” which he boastfully labels himself as. I digress the claim of being professional as I’ve seen him act the complete opposite. A professional journalist would just report not engage petty arguments( using statements like “U MAD” or “THE SALT”) or insult their viewers. As for being a journalist I’d say that anyone who can write and report can technically be one by definition. However the label would over inflate his ego and go to his head which is something I notice happen to a lot of Youtubers who “Make it big”.
He would(and still does from what I hear) talks down to his users; especially those who disagree with him in a condescending tone. I would see him first hand display this rude behavior to one of his users who politely disagreed with him. His arrogance was astounding and he disregarded everything the person said saying that he “clearly doesn’t understand the gaming industry” and just went in circles mocking him.
When I left my own comment politely stating that he missed what the person was trying to say he got even more defensive and challenged the person to debate him live childishly referring to it as “talking man to man”.
He stated that if the challenged wasn’t accepted that the conversation was over and even to my surprise the person didn’t feed into his ego and agreed with his statement and even after that he still had to have the last word and continued to talk down to him. When the argument was over I sent the person a message of encouragement telling him to not let this YouTuber’s rude and arrogant behavior effect him, which he stated wouldn’t happen and even thanked me for reaching out.
When I went back to video to read the comments again in order to write this post I was glad to figure out that this person changed his named and started to make videos and had gained a healthy following of 13.7k subscribers. He goes by the name of BKG and makes very well informed and thought out Smash Bros videos explaining Combos, Setups, and etc. Goes to show that well thought out content can still go a long way. Even though the YouTuber who was rude to him has a larger subscriber count of 55.1k, he also has 4,393 uploads. BKG has managed to reach a quarter of the subscribers with only 14 uploads, which says it all about the quality of his content.
Going forward I want to do something similar to BKG. I want to make quality content, discussing the culture I love while also contributing, and giving back to it. Using YouTube is up in the air and if I do use the platform it will be strictly gaming in its purist form such as gameplay videos, walkthroughs, and possibly reviews. All the click baiting, Fanboy wars, and drama might bring in the money, but are detrimental, and have no place in gaming whatsoever. Its time to show and represent the positivity and potential that gaming can bring.
-Off Course Comet.