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Are we naturally cynical about celebrity video games and YouTube channels?



One of the interesting things I came across this week was the announcement of a new YouTube channel from Brie Larson, the star of films such as Room and Captain Marvel. She joins other Hollywood stars on the platform, including Will Smith and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Brie has uploaded only one video so far but has managed to accumulate over 207,000 subscribers at the time of writing. The video itself was met with a mixed reaction - 91,000 likes and 54,000 dislikes. It has over 1.1m views so far. 

Love or hate her, the addition of another Hollywood celebrity on the platform will undoubtedly make many creators question the need for such a well-known face to join a space which has long been the preserve of smaller content creators, enabling them to share their passion with a like-minded audience. Many will ask what she can bring to an already crowded table. There will inevitably be fears of a celebrity taking away views from channels struggling with diminishing revenue and ever more stringent policies. 

Brie's announcement made me think about the cynicism surrounding celebrity video games. They aren't seen very much, with the ones that are made often taking the form of a mobile game. 

I came across one the other day while browsing Buildbox's blog. It's called Candy Quest: Save Baby J!. The iOS exclusive title features an Austrian rapper called Candy Ken (real name Jakob Kasimir Hellrigl) who is quite popular on TikTok (8.9m followers). His videos often star his girlfriend Baby J.

The game itself is based on the dagger toss template in Buildbox 3 (throw knives at a rotating tree trunk to destroy it), with different objects to unlock. Baby J needs to be rescued after getting lost in the woods or something and needs Candy Ken to destroy the trees to save her. Take a look at it in action: 


Having a name talks, though. The game has done well on the Apple App Store, according to the Buildbox blog post: "This fun adventure arcade game has also been ranked Top 100 in 87 different countries." Data from Sensor Tower suggests it got around 30,000 downloads from the Apple App Store in June. 

Celebrities on YouTube and celebrity endorsed video games highlight a much bigger question: where is the line and when should it be crossed? Inevitably, when celebrities cross into platforms traditionally used by content creators and developers (I would argue we could use the word 'indie' for both YouTube creators and game developers) there will always be a certain amount of cynicism. The inner voice cries this is our platform, what are they doing here?

The democratisation of platforms where content can easily be published allows for a plurality of voices, small and large. We are all birds in the same flock, let us fly where the current takes us.



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