We’ve known for a long time that gaming videos do well on YouTube, but now the video site is sharing some data on what exactly will get people watching.
YouTube Gaming revealed its top 10 trending games for January. Unlike its competitor Twitch, YouTube’s livestreaming gaming site is less about esports and more about seeing upcoming unreleased games. That’s why the testing versions of Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 and Tom Clancy’s The Division topped its list. Gaming is one of the top categories for video on the Internet. Alongside music, nothing else gets as many views on YouTube as games. That’s why PewDiePie, a Swedish man who makes high-pitched squeals into a camera while gaming, has 41 million subscribers (more than any other YouTube channel, gaming or otherwise).
And while YouTube has dominated recorded on-demand video related to games, it has lagged far behind Twitch when it comes to live broadcast offerings. Twitch has more than 100 million monthly active viewers for its livestreaming content. YouTube Gaming, which has a heavy emphasis on livestreaming, is supposed to give Google’s video site a chance to compete with that. This is especially important since live broadcasts have such a young, engaged audience. Twitch has said before that most of the people who come to its site are men between the ages of 13 and 34, and they watch livestreams for more than an hour every day on average. That is a key demographic that is worth a lot of money to advertisers, especially as more members of this group cut the cable cord.
And while all of that is why YouTube Gaming is so invested in livestreams, the company needs to remind people that it is an alternative to Twitch. That’s why its trending list, which looks very different from Twitch’s, is key. Google wants players to know that you don’t have to have supreme skills in esports megahits like the multiplayer arena battler League of Legends or military shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive to stand out on its service. Instead, you can get by playing something like the the sidescrolling throwback Shovel Knight or even the mobile hit midcore strategy hit Boom Beach.
Here is YouTube Gaming’s full trending list for January 2016: