By Michael Varrati
If you’re ensconced in YouTube culture, you know Joey Graceffa. With 3 million followers and counting, he’s one of digital’s gold-standard superstars. Known to most for vlogging his daily misadventures, as well as for his popular web series “Storytellers,” Joey is a visible, fun voice for online generation.
He’s also a committed video game fan.
Using his second channel to document his (shirtless) forays into the world of gaming, Joey approaches the medium with a relatable sense of fun and excitability. The kind of gamer with which we all can identify, Joey Graceffa is all laughs and smiles as he plays, reminding us of those times huddled around the console with friends after school. Joey’s passion for games is evident, and it’s an enthusiasm that is infectious.
Here’s what he had to say:
Why did you launch your gaming channel?
It’s mostly because I had seen other YouTubers doing it, and I had been wanting to play Minecraft. I just figured that maybe I should record myself playing these games and upload them to YouTube, like I had seen other people do.
Does the audience differ on your gaming channel as opposed to your “main” channel?
It’s slightly different. I definitely have people who are subscribed to my gaming channel who aren’t even subscribed to my main channel, and may not even know about it…which is kind of strange, but makes sense. I have more males who watch my gaming channel than watch my main channel.
Whereas your main channel is primarily a female demographic, right?
Why do you suspect viewers are drawn to watching gaming content?
Some people find it so strange that there are those who find enjoyment watching others playing games rather than playing themselves, but you could say the same thing about sports. Why watch sports when you could play them? It’s very similar to that, really. It’s just fun, and rather than doing the actual work, you can still be entertained!
Were you always a gamer or have an interest in video games? Do you recall the game that first drew you into this world?
I’ve always loved video games since I was a kid. The first gaming system I really connected with was Nintendo 64. My sister and I would always play “Super Mario 64,” and I would watch her play while I was waiting for my turn…and I just loved video games. Really, I love going into these other worlds and getting to become the characters.
Why do some games speak more to YouTube audiences than others (for example, a lot of gaming channels focus on games like Minecraft, etc.)?
The game has a big part of why people watch, but also I think it has a lot to do with the person’s commentary. The game could be total crap, but if the content creator is fun and entertaining, it doesn’t even matter what game they’re playing. PewDiePie will play all of these unheard of games, leaving people searching for those titles. Viewers just love the commentary that gamers give. It’s all about the entertainment.
Do you ever feel pressure to play certain games from your audience? I know some people play games because their viewers want them to, and not always necessarily because they like the game.
I’ve had that situation before. People really wanted me to play this game, “Happy Wheels,” but it was just too repetitive for me. I’m always interested in what my audience wants, and if there’s a game they want me to play, I’ll definitely try it out. But, if I don’t feel like I can make good content out it, I just won’t post it to the channel.
Favorite gaming channel that isn’t your own?
I actually don’t watch any game channels. [Laughs] It’s because I’m the type of person who picks up on other people’s mannerisms, and I’m terrified of picking up their sayings and people thinking I’m a copycat. I try and keep myself away from what other people are doing and focus on myself, if even to just not end up copying someone unintentionally.
What makes a successful gaming channel, as opposed to a regular channel? Are there differences, if any?
Definitely. I feel like the gaming community is pretty intense. They’re very harsh. I’m not the best, most-experienced gamer, and I get a lot of feedback because of that. People will say things like, “Why are you a gamer, you’re not good at this!” I just do it to have fun and because I love gaming. To answer your question, I think to have fun and a goofing around aspect is a good way to go about things, but also, if you’re smart and can teach people how to play games, that’s very helpful. People appreciate those channels. Also, collaborating with other gamers is a great way to open up your audience.
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