Introducing YouTube's top trending games

June 08, 2015

No matter what kind of gamer you are, one question you have to eventually ask yourself is “What game should I play next?” We’re a little obsessed with both video games and numbers at YouTube, so we’d thought we’d try to answer the question with data.

Those who love video games increasingly turn to YouTube to learn about and celebrate the newest titles, either by watching other people’s videos or creating their own. We noticed that if you measure those two things - the interest people have in watching a new game as well as the number of people celebrating that game by uploading new videos - you could start to predict what’s going to be popular. Today we introduce YouTube Top Trending Games, a chart that looks beyond what’s already big today to what’s going to be big tomorrow.

  1. The Witcher 3
  2. Life Is Strange
  3. Wolfenstein: The Old Blood
  4. Splatoon
  5. Kerbal Space Program
  6. Rust
  7. Batman: Arkham Knight
  8. Assassin’s Creed: Unity
  9. Smite
  10. Project CARS

The #1 game for May is "The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt," an RPG based on a series of Polish novels. Watchtime was largely driven by thousands of Let’s Plays including instant classics from Conan O’Brien and PewDiePie. Interest in the new "Witcher" games is so high that it’s actually driving interest in the first two games of the series, as new fans drawn in by strong reviews try to catch up on the world’s dense mythology. YouTube search traffic for "The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings" was as high in May 2015 is as it has been since the game was released on consoles in 2012.

In May, "Kerbal Space Program" emerged from a successful early access program. Gamers who are just now picking up the spaceport simulator drove a spike in views to classic "Kerbal" creations like this rocket-jet powered Volvo, the mod that makes the game more like "Interstellar," and, of course, this spaceship that makes it all the way to Mars on a single 15 kiloton explosion. "Kerbal Space Program" is the kind of game that facilitates open-ended creativity, and now that it’s officially launched we expect more insane rocket ships for months to come.

A lot of the watchtime growth for "Batman: Arkham Knight" came from official trailers like Be The Batman and All Who Follow but, remember, there’s more to trending than people watching a trailer. For a game to be trending, the number of creators discussing it have to also be growing. Every time Rocksteady gives us a glance of their new Batman game, it’s met with hundreds of reaction videos from creators like Tyrone Magnus, The Reel Rejects, and Knightwing001.

"The Witcher 3" has trended for a few months now as hype and anticipation has grown, but will its fanbase continue to expand in June? Or will it be dwarfed by the official release of "Heroes of the Storm," the "Final Fantasy XIV" expansion "Heavensword," or some indie game we haven’t even heard of yet? Watch this space for June’s trending games and we’ll all find out together.
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