YouTube Gaming Channels: Features and Rules
YouTube gaming channels differ a lot from any other format on the platform. They have certain features and perhaps the largest community in the world. YouTube has singled out creators of game content and established rules and recommendations exclusively for them.
On the one hand, it may seem that game content is the easiest to produce, but after digging deeper, you will see that this is not the case. Below we will share our observations and research, and also give a couple of recommendations for everyone who develops a channel in the gaming niche.
YouTube dedicates a separate section exclusively for video games
This section contains selections of various popular games, trends in the gaming niche, a list of the most popular live streams, and simply a sea of everything. This attention to the niche speaks to the fact that YouTube, most likely, makes good money from it. And if YouTube likes this type of content, then the creators in this niche can expect to succeed.
But please don’t rush to immediately create a gaming channel. The niche is very competitive because most people think it's easy to find success in gaming. Plus gamers flock to this category because of its special relationship with monetization. Let's break this niche down.
Obscene language and profanity
Let’s start with what you should avoid if you want to succeed as a gamer on YouTube. First of all - no cursing. Swearing or the use of obscene language, jargon, cruel and derogatory expressions should not be featured in your content. If you break this rule, your videos will be marked with a yellow icon. YouTube deprives monetization of videos that contain this style of communication.
If you have scantily clad women flashing in your game, but all intimate places are covered, your videos will be monetized. If your videos contain sexual sounds, some verbal descriptions of sexual processes, dirty jokes, and sex toys are used, you will then get a yellow icon. So, those who play San Andreas with cheats, be careful, not all cheats are acceptable for monetization.
And this should go without saying but sexual intercourse, complete nudity, discussion of fetishes, etc. If your content features any of the aforementioned, it will most likely be deprived of monetization.
Here is a direct quote from Google’s Help section:
"Sexual scenes from video games intended for adults, as well as images of video game characters in a sexual context, shown with the intent to arouse viewers sexually."
Be cautious and attentive. The games themselves usually have 18+ content labels, so with proper preparation, you can find out in advance what is permissible on your channel and what is not worth it.
YouTube's opinion on what is suitable for monetization:
- naturalistic scenes of the use of force by law enforcement officers, presented in an educational context;
- scenes of violence in the unedited gameplay video;
- scenes of minor violence, accompanied by a minimum amount of blood;
- display of dead bodies, but they are completely hidden, blurred, prepared for burial, or shown in the context of historical events, such as wars, in educational materials.
Seems that everything is OK, you can safely play different shooting games, but there are always nuances.
- If a scene shows brutal shots and violence, in an already edited gameplay, attention is focused on the naturalness of the image, this is a yellow icon. For instance, scenes are shown close-up or circled.
- If you have an even more naturalistic image where someone dies in a cruel way, you will be deprived of monetization.
To put it simply, Counter-Strike 1.6 will get monetization without any problems, but in the case of a more developed graphical gameplay with a lot of blood then it is unlikely.
Moreover, a video in which the character commits suicide during the game, but the body is not shown in close-up will get a yellow badge. But if the dead body is displayed - you will lose monetization.
And the last thing here: videos about fictional terrorist organizations and drug dealers that contain only descriptions and information can be monetized. If your hero of the game is already in the zone of a terrorist attack or is doing something related to drugs, your video will be classified with a yellow monetization icon.
The hardest part for some gamers on YouTube is being limited in the types of games they can showcase. Games based on real events about terrorism, with real-life characters from the world of drug trafficking. This type of content will not receive income.
And most importantly, don’t forget that all this applies not only to the content of the videos themselves but also to their design, including even the description of the video.
Such attention to the details of monetization for gaming content tells us that YouTube is well aware of how important channels and creators on these topics are to their platform. Therefore, compared with regular videos, game content has got more rights.
Features of gaming content on YouTube
It all revolves around the creator and his charisma
The most important thing that game channels are tied to is the charisma of their author. To identify it, you need to remember what you are especially good at: endurance, which means long streams, a sense of humor means fun content, and meticulousness means detailed analysis. The interest is that each individual viewer may like something specific about you. The viewers are all looking for different things in your game content. Some viewers may be looking for entertainment, others want a walkthrough, there are those interested in bugs or hacks they have not found. Then there are those watchers who just like hearing news in the game industry and chatting.
You should definitely create your gaming persona. A personality that has a clearly understandable character and behavior. The audience will be attracted by an interesting personality, an unusual presentation, and an understandable character. The fact is that the evaluation of the creators of gaming channels is carried out in the same way as in the game itself, the evaluation of characters: we look at how nice and similar they are to us.
It is important to keep it natural: simulated content is unlikely to reach audiences.
In long videos and live streams, you need to keep pace and avoid speech hesitation and silence.
You want to create a brand. Make sure you map out your style, voice, channel design, and editing style. You must be able to do all this and develop interesting content.
Gamers are great at exaggerating emotions about what is happening. They feed into the emotions of their subscribers and keep them excited about the gameplay.
Viewers join game channels for communication
Reaching out to your followers is always a smart move because most of them require your attention and communication. Continuing the theme of attention and communication: it is often very important for viewers to manage a community around the creator, his channel, and the content on it, they need to unite around a person or idea that will become their motivating hobby. The gaming sphere is simple and entertaining, so viewers want to feel like they are hanging out with their friends after school playing their favorite game .
Share information about yourself so that viewers feel you are not just a leading channel, but also a friend. Feel free to appoint moderators from your subscribers. Make sure you mention and thank viewers in videos. Lastly, post in the community, and ask people what they think about your content.
Create your own special slang on your channel, and go as far as creating catch phrases that will become your signature and can be associated specifically with your channel. It can also be gestures.
Another important point: game content creators are largely guided by comments, i.e. what the audience likes or dislikes in their image. Remember that the lack of a reaction is also a reaction. Now, it's time to start thinking about how interesting your content is in general.
“How not to be annoying to the viewer” and “how to always remain in viewers’ minds”
Many gaming channels adopt the tactic that the more videos you upload, the better. But, as with all niches and themes on YouTube, “less but better” tactics also work better for gaming content. Therefore, focus on more engaging videos, not on the frequency of uploads.
Don't forget that YouTube only counts real, effective watch time into total watch hours. If your channel consists of long form videos or just live streams, this does not mean that it will necessarily be more effective. If you want to keep the viewer engaged as long as possible, then your videos, regardless of the length, must be interesting. If your videos are not engaging then viewers simply will not watch it.
Moreover, it is also a matter of regularity. Keep being consistent and the audience will know what to expect. Just decide for yourself in what rhythm it is convenient for you to work without losing quality. Make content ahead of time and create schedules for yourself and your viewers. Game channels don't just revolve around lestplays and reviews. You should experiment. Your audience is interested in everything that goes on in your head and life. Our subjective opinion is that all gaming channels require a trailer because this is the fastest way to show a preview of what to expect and hook a new viewer.
Live streams play a huge role, but not the only important one
Live streams bring more communication and opportunities to get closer to the creator. Like any other content, this format requires a plan of action and quality. You can hold streams daily but the main thing is that your audience must be interested in them.
- Viewers should be aware of your schedule or at least receive an announcement of the next live stream.
- Live streams need to be diversified, just like simple videos on the channel otherwise they won’t be as effective.
- Viewers watch the broadcasts to wait for the moment when you mention them or say thank you to them.
- It is possible to build all your content around live streams, for example, making the broadcast and then releasing a cut of the best moments.
How to grow your gaming channel in 2022 and 2023
Let's begin with what YouTube itself recommends to promote channels in this genre.
- Publish serial content. Judging by the majority of gaming channels, the creators are already good at making serial content, but we’ll talk about how to do it correctly a little later.
- Collaborate with other YouTubers in this niche. We are now talking about joint gameplays, live streams, and in general any kind of collaboration.
- Set trends. By that, we mean that you don't forget to keep your followers up to date with what's going on in your niche. Share news and publications of other authors on the topic.
- Arrange discussions. This applies to any niche on YouTube since any activity on the channel under a video or under a post in the community is a signal for YouTube that people find your content exciting. Talk to your community about everything that's going on.
Let's now talk about the recommendations of the service after researching the niche.
Games for gaming channels are just an element like any attribute in other niches. And as you know, mixing different niches on the same channel is a bad idea. But, like everything in the game content, there are nuances. Covering only one moderately popular game on a channel is a good tactic for newbies. You can expand your content over time, add new interesting games to the channel when you get your fan base, and they will wait for any videos about any games from you.
Start with one moderately popular game, expanding your horizons over time. This is a more successful promotional tactic. At least that's what the statistics say. When you are only doing one game, you have time to focus on developing your image, charisma, and your special style on the channel. And this is very important for game content.
A common problem with gaming channels is boring titles and thumbnails that don't draw attention to your videos in any way. But it is very important for you to choose a bright and attractive thumbnail that will stand out from your competitors, as well as secure a cool title that will hook your viewer.
Focus on visuals and cool titles. Since there is an infinite amount of game content on YouTube, you need to be able to hook the viewer in the first six seconds so that they don’t leave to watch someone more exciting. You may notice that most live streams on game channels start with silence or something indistinct, or already in the middle. Always remember that each video works separately from the entire channel, and when YouTube starts recommending it, viewers will not care about the previous parts. They just walk away and won't watch something incomprehensible.
Use shorts as they work well for gaming channels if you can captivate new viewers who stumble upon your clips and convert them into followers. But you control it.
Do not forget that, besides charisma and interesting videos, it is important for newbies to create useful or even educational content within the gaming niche. You will be surprised if you start to study how to do something or get something in a particular game. People always have a sea of questions, and it's up to you to fill the audience with such simple videos.
Another good video strategy is creating videos about reviews on current updates within your game or games. This will help attract the target audience to the channel.
What about video quality? This applies to all creators, and game channels are no exception. It is necessary that your computer can handle not only the game itself but also the recording or live stream. In addition, you need to have high-quality sound, because this is your main way of communicating with the viewer.
The system design of the channel, and especially the main page, is one of the most important points. Please try hard to make clear and accurate navigation through your channel: design the channel, especially the headings on the main page and, of course, the playlists.
We have tried to cover all of the most important tips to get you started. Good luck growing your gaming channel!