Gaming content creators dominated the list of India’s top creators on YouTube this year, throwing up indications that game streaming is coming of age in the country.
About five of the Top 10 YouTube creators in India this year were gaming creators, including Total Gaming (Ajay), Techno Gamerz (Ujjwal Chaurasia), A_S Gaming (Sahil Rana), Lokesh Gamer (Lokesh Raj Singh) and Gyan Gaming (Sujan Mistri). Total Gaming and Techno Gamerz took the top two slots of this year.
Gaming creators also made up for four of the 10 breakout creators in the country this year, including Aditech (Atharvaditya Singh), Star Gamers (Mir Abdul Kalam), Flight Gamer, and Rai Live. Breakout creators are based on in-country subscribers gained in 2021 and those who have tripled their subscriber base this year.
“In 2021, gaming levelled up, emerging as a rich and diverse ground for storytelling and community building, with a notable presence across Top Creators, Top Breakout Creators, Top Women Breakout Creators and even, Top Shorts Creators. In fact, a five-hour-long gaming livestream of the FreeFire World Series Final in 2021, became one of the most popular videos in India this year,” said Satya Raghavan, Director of YouTube Content Partnerships, India.
Raghavan noted that the gaming audience also expanded outside of the metropolitan areas in India this year.
In terms of games, majority of them focused on Garena’s multiplayer battle royale mobile game FreeFire with content ranging from traditional gameplay videos to key highlights in game pranks and challenges as well as updates and reviews of new events in the game.
FreeFire likely benefited from the ban of Krafton’s popular mobile game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) in India last year, which only made a comeback as Battlegrounds Mobile India in July.
India’s game streaming market is dominated by Google’s YouTube, with other players such as Krafton-backed Loco and Paytm-backed Rooter. Facebook is also making its presence felt in the segment with a concerted push to capitalise on the gaming boom in the country.
Revenues from India’s game streaming industry could touch around $300-400 million by 2023, industry executives say.
Science and knowledge videos see viewership surge
Science and Experiments is another genre that has picked up on YouTube this year, with two creators – Crazy XYZ (Amit Sharma) and Mr Indian Hacker (Dilraj Singh) – making it to the top 10 YouTube creators in the country.
To reflect YouTube’s growing investment in short videos, the Google-owned platform also disclosed a separate list of top shorts creators in the country for this year.
This includes knowledge and motivational video creators such as A2 Motivation (Arvind Arora), English Connection (Kanchan Keshari), Mr Gyani Facts (Ankit Srivastava), and Shivam Malik; gaming creators such as Sanjoy Das Official (Sanjoy Das) and Baseer gaming (Deepesh Joshi); and comedy and entertainment creators such as Dushyant Kukreja, Ajay Sharma, LittleGlove (Shivani Kapila) and Tsuriki Show (Vova and Anya).
Raghavan had said in an interview with Moneycontrol in September that YouTube Shorts has brought in an entire new breed of creators onto the platform.
“It has helped YouTube really understand a lot about what is driving creation. We’ve used the last 12 months to understand them, and we will continue to keep understanding them better,” he said.
The service had surpassed 15 billion daily views as of June 2021 and India over-indexes from a contribution point of view, Raghavan had said at the time.
As of June 2021, the number of YouTube channels making Rs 1 lakh or more annually is up over 60 percent year-on-year in India, the company had said without disclosing any further details in September 2021.