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'150,000 YouTube views will generate about 10 sales,' dev claims

Game Mechanics exec wants YouTube personalities to "get better at helping the developer"

An experienced games developer has published an article which suggests YouTube game videos do not meaningfully stimulate sales.

John Ardussi, the president of Game Mechanics, wrote on Gamasutra that even significant exposure on Google's influential video platform does not result in a significant upsurge in paid downloads.

YouTube has become a major advertising and editorial platform for the games industry

He suggests that 150,000 YouTube views of his game, in his experience, have led to 300 page visits to the Game Mechanics website. Of those 300, about four to ten customers will go on to purchase the game that was featured.

That figure, if true, suggest that just 0.2 per cent of YouTube viewers decide to purchase a game that is featured on the site.

Ardussi did not go into significant detail on the methodology of his study, and other games developers promoting through YouTube may have different experiences. Many other factors, such as how suitable a game is for Youtube and the quality of the itself, also needs to be taken into consideration.

There are anecdotal examples of YouTube directly influencing the success of certain games. It is suggested, for example, that the mobile game Flappy Bird was released in May 2013 yet only became a sudden phenomenon eight months later when YouTuber Pewdiepie featured it on his channel.

But Ardussi has doubts that YouTube exposure generally stimulates sales.

"There is a huge difference between getting the word out and sales," he says.

The comments come amid a wider debate on the ethics of YouTube game personalities, as well as growing pains between publishers and certain video channels.

In 2013, Nintendo drew the ire of the YouTube gaming community when it prohibited users drawing ad revenue from videos that featured its games.

But Nintendo changed its policy in May by introducing its own YouTube affiliate program. YouTube creators will be allowed to make money from videos featuring Nintendo products if they sign with Nintendo's program.

Ardussi claims that better promotion should come from YouTube personalities.

"If you are a [YouTube] reviewer, get better at helping the developer. You don't have to change your review of the game, just make sure you give out all the information needed."