By Michael Varrati
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: iJustine is the digital world’s multi-platform champion. I’m truly astounded with the amount of content this amazing dynamo is able to unleash to the world at any given time. That she is an avid gamer seems to be just the cherry on top. When we sit down to talk about her gaming channel (one of many), Justine is excitable. Making it clear from the get-go, Justine wants the world to know she is no Johnny-come-lately to the world of video games, and she certainly won’t hold with the notion that she can’t be a real gamer just because she’s a girl.
With a ferocious knowledge and passion for gaming, Justine leaves her competitors in the dust, and proves that she doesn’t just show up to play…she’s here to win.
Why did you launch your gaming channel?
I play so many video games. I actually wasn’t posting any YouTube videos because I was playing games so much. One thing I always tell people is to create content based off of your passions and the stuff that you like. At the time, gaming channels weren’t really a huge thing, but they were starting to get popular. But, I thought to myself, “I love playing games, and this could be fun,” and so I started that channel.
Does the audience differ on your gaming channel as opposed to your “main” channel?
I think it’s a larger, mostly male audience. I don’t think a lot of them are subscribed to my main channel and are just there because they really like video games and that’s the kind of content they like to see. Sometimes when I’m traveling, the gaming channel is the easiest of my channels to keep consistent. I like to post a video a day, and I’m able to play and record games really easily, and have them edited in advance.
Why do you suspect viewers are drawn to watching gaming content?
I think a lot of people, if they’re stuck at a certain part of a game, look for walk-throughs and tutorials to help them get through the difficult parts. I think it’s also a personality driven thing. A lot of people like watching funny people play video games. Also, some people may not have the game yet, or their parents won’t let them have it yet, so this is a chance to give it a look. I remember getting so excited when I was younger to get a game for Christmas that I had been waiting for all year, and how that waiting felt. Instead of being able to play, a lot of people watch the game to see what they’re going to get when they actually get the game.
Were you always a gamer or have an interest in video games? Do you recall the game that first drew you into this world?
Oh, totally. I get a lot of crap for this, actually. People say, “You just have a gaming channel because everybody else does!” And I’m like, “No.” I’ve actually been playing video games probably longer than these people who are tweeting me these negative things. It actually happened today, because Nintendo tweeted out a video I posted of me playing “Mario Kart,” and some kids were like, “She’s not a real gamer!” I thought, “Are you kidding?!” I can promise these kids that I’ve had “Mario Kart” for every system you could play it on. I’ve been playing that game since back in the 90s when they released the first “Mario Kart” game.
Nintendo was my first system…that and the first Gameboy. “Super Mario” was one of the first games I ever played. “Mario Kart” and “Goldeneye,” the first person shooter game, those are two of my favorites.
“Goldeneye” was on Nintendo 64, right?
Yes! “Goldeneye” was the first time I had ever played a first-person shooter, and it was a big deal. We would go to people’s houses and crowd around to play. It started it all!
Why do some games speak more to YouTube audiences than others (for example, a lot of gaming channels focus on games like Minecraft, etc.)?
Obviously some people play some games for views, but also people play certain game because it’s just a really fun game. If people are playing it, they’re clearly playing it for a reason. Minecraft is great because it’s on multiple platforms, you can pretty much play it on anything. I think a lot of people just like playing their favorite games and watching people play them. But, I also think there are people who like to play games that aren’t as popular, which is interesting, because it allows you to find the audience that really connects with that particular game. For me, it’s mostly Minecraft and “Call of Duty.”
Favorite gaming channel that isn’t your own?
This is terrible, but…I play video games, I don’t really watch people play them. I don’t really watch gaming channels, but I do like to watch live streams of gaming competitions. Those are always fun to watch, because they’re actually competing for something. You get to see the players in these tournaments and become a fan. I watch a lot of that kind of stuff, but I don’t really watch people just play games…because I want to play them!
Well, to the detractors who claim iJustine isn’t a gamer, I think you certainly just proved them wrong. You love games so much, you’d rather be playing them than watching.
If they need further proof, they can ask my mom. She would take my Nintendo and computers away from me, and that’s how I was grounded. For Christmas, I’d always want new things for my computer or the new gaming console. She was the one having to buy all that stuff for me, so she knows!
What makes a successful gaming channel, as opposed to a regular channel? Are there differences, if any?
As with most channels, with gaming you definitely need to be consistent. Post new videos, if not every day, then regularly. Find that audience, and find out what they want to see you play. Sometimes they want to see you play games you don’t necessarily want to play. I always get requests for certain games, and I don’t really want to play some of them. I’ve seen a lot of people play games that it’s very obvious that they’re not enjoying. If you’re playing just for the sake of views or because you think you should be, your audience will know. No matter what you do, make sure it’s something you really enjoy doing.
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