Case studies: YouTube creators amplified GTA VI, Fallout and more

Ahead of Vidcon, YouTube published its latest Culture & Trends report on fandom and the platform’s role in building online communities. In addition to audience insights, the report highlighted creators’ impact on tentpole gaming moments and how brands are connecting to fans through gaming.

According to a survey of U.S. fans aged 14-44, 85% consider themselves to be fans of someone or something. Of these fans, 80% consumed content on YouTube at least weekly about their fandom. Given these results, the report argues that fandom is a core component of a consumer’s identity and YouTube is a nexus for this fandom.

Moreover, the majority of Gen Z (defined in the study as 14-24) don’t just see themselves as passive consumers, they consider themselves to be creators too. YouTube’s research showed that 65% of Gen Z identifies as a video content creator, though only 8% say they are professionals making money from their fan content.

YouTube gaming case studies

Over the last year, gaming fans have made their voices heard on YouTube. The platform’s research highlighted several case studies of how creators amplified gaming content and brands.

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Fans have kept the Grand Theft Auto franchise in the top five games on YouTube for the last decade. Given this cultivated audience, perhaps it’s no surprise that Rockstar Games’ trailer for Grand Theft Auto VI broke records on YouTube in December 2023. In its first 24 hours, fans watched the trailer 93 million times — the most views ever for a 24-hour debut of a non-music video.

Reaction content boosted Rockstar Games’ GTA VI trailer to unprecedented heights

However, the trailer’s reach extended much further thanks to reaction videos from creators. In that same 24-hour period, these fan-created videos earned over 192 million views — twice as many as the trailer itself. These breakdowns and reactions helped Rockstar Games expand the already record-setting impact of its hotly anticipated sequel.

Gamers also rallied when a beloved franchise took a step into a new medium. The report highlighted a spike in Fallout content when the Amazon Prime adaptation aired earlier this year. According to search trends, the show’s release spiked to roughly 10-times higher than its average for the last five year.

Outside of gaming brands themselves, YouTube showed how other brands used games to crossover and build bridges with other communities. The NFL is no stranger to gaming, but its teams are also pushing the envelope. For example, the Los Angeles Chargers announced their 2024-2025 schedule using The Sims to connect with younger audiences.

YouTube’s full Culture & Trends report on fandom is available now.