Three weeks ago, Bobby Burns, a YouTuber with just under one million subscribers, sat down on a rock in Central Park to talk about a recent mental health episode. One week ago, Elle Mills, a creator with more than 1.2 million subscribers, uploaded a video that included vulnerable footage during a breakdown. Six days ago, Rubén “El Rubius” Gundersen, the third most popular YouTuber in the world with just under 30 million subscribers, turned on his camera to talk to his viewers about the fear of an impending breakdown and his decision to take a break from YouTube. Burns, Mills and Gundersen aren’t alone. Erik “M3RKMUS1C” Phillips (four million subscribers), Benjamin “Crainer” Vestergaard (2.7 million subscribers) and other top YouTubers have either announced brief hiatuses from the platform, or discussed their own struggles with burnout, in the past month. Everyone from PewDiePie (62 million subscribers) to Jake Paul (15.2 million … [Read more...] about YouTube’s top creators are burning out and breaking down en masse
One of the pleasures of writing about video games is the ability to occasionally step away from the palaver and clamoring of commercial releases, and take a wander around artistic ventures, often made by students. I recently came across Ritual of the Moon, created by a small team at the University of California in Santa Cruz. The game is designed to be played in short bursts, over a period of 28 days, a lunar cycle. Set in the future, it tells the story of a woman accused of witchcraft and banished to the moon. Each day, she undertakes a small number of activities, leading up to the contemplation of a comet heading for Earth. The woman finds she has the power to control the comets, to either hit the planet, or to miss. Working on a personal game? If you have a student gaming project that you’d like to share, contact colin at polygon via email. I’m interested in games that eschew or subvert standard commercial frameworks, or that offer powerful personal stories or points … [Read more...] about This gorgeous student game is designed to be played in time with the lunar cycle
Any time a multiplayer game captures millions of people’s attention, scammers pop up on YouTube looking to rip off players for an easy, cheap way to get ahead. Fortnite is both a perfect example and the most recent victim. Since Fortnite’s meteoric rise, there have been multiple YouTube videos running as ads that pitch Fortnite players easy ways to get free V-Bucks. (V-Bucks are Fortnite’s premium in-game currency, which lets them purchase limited-edition skins, gear and weapons.) Search “free V-Bucks” in YouTube’s search bar, and more than 4.3 million results will populate. Of the first top 10 videos that populate, eight are obvious scam videos running on seemingly hacked or stolen accounts. These accounts have a couple of videos promising free V-Bucks, followed by videos from five to 10 years ago. These accounts are often abandoned by the original creator. Some of these are livestreams with thousands of active viewers — and each one promises … [Read more...] about What’s going on with the Fortnite scams taking over YouTube?
The future of multi-channel networks like Fullscreen, Ritual, BBTV and more are in question as thousands of creators are purged. Multi-channel networks refer to companies that work with hundreds or thousands of YouTube creators under one umbrella. The network pays each creator a percentage of ad revenue (versus creators going through Google AdSense directly) and higher CPM (cost per views). Multi-channel networks, have always been contentious. With tens of thousands of creators working under one umbrella, creators can feel like they’re not getting the attention they deserve. Still, MCNs attract creators who didn’t want to go through YouTube’s laborious AdSense application process, but multiple sources tell Polygon it’s unlikely some MCNs will continue to operate within a year. It all started a couple of weeks ago when creators working with Fullscreen began tweeting about being dropped from the network, seemingly without cause. According to an email seen by … [Read more...] about YouTube networks drop thousands of creators as YouTube policy shifts
YouTube demonetization is an evergreen frustration for creators, one that affects both newcomers and superstars at the very top. Though demonetization always hits up-and-comers the hardest, new testimonials from well-known names like Philip DeFranco, Casey Neistat and Patreon CEO Jack Conte claim that everyone is hurting. “View suppression” is on the rise, and creators are looking for new revenue streams to support their videos. This even includes exploring different avenues such as possibly moving away from YouTube as a primary platform. To properly understand what’s happening with YouTubers, and why these new demonetization-adjacent worries are causing creators grief, we need to understand view suppression. View suppression refers to videos not appearing for a particular creator’s regular viewers on the homepage, on trending or in the recommendation tab. This is slightly different from demonetization. Demonetized videos that fall under mature categories … [Read more...] about YouTubers look to new platforms after viewer suppression, demonetization issues