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Game On: Where video games and YouTube collide

Part of the Vivid Festival line-up, Game On brings interactive gaming and YouTube stars together for a two-day showcase with panel discussions, concerts, gaming competitions and more.

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Some of the YouTube stars attending Game On. Game On

The inaugural Game On is a weekend event taking place as part of this year's Sydney Vivid Festival. Running from 22 May to 24 May, Game On brings together the Australian video gaming industry and YouTube stars from around the world for a series of workshops, panel discussions, performances and more.

The lineup on the gaming side includes local independent developers such as Quantum Shade, Neuron Spark and Blue Team Go, while international YouTube luminaries such as Mikey Bolts, Melissa Flentzeris and Alphacat will also be in attendance.

"Game On is about online video and interactive games," says event organiser Blake Harris. "Our intention was to create an event where the community could come together to learn. We've put the big guns of content creation -- be it gaming or on video -- on centre stage."

Harris is also the managing director for Triumph Leisure Solutions, the group behind the EB Expo and the Home Grown Gaming showcase, so he knows a thing or two about video games.

"In terms of games we're showcasing the best local developers and giving people an idea of what they do. We've got eSports competitions for people to spectate at and participate in -- there's even a retro arcade for people to play in," he explains.

"On the other side, we've got some of the biggest YouTube stars from around the world and we've got local legends as well like MyChonny, ChampChong and even Jayesslee who'll be performing a concert on the Saturday."

If interactive gaming and YouTube celebrities sound like pretty disparate groups, then you've probably never heard of Let's Play. A Let's Play video is where a gamer runs a playthrough of a video game, but offers their own commentary during the experience. The best Let's Play are smart, insightful and often very funny. Their creators are fast becoming some of the big stars -- and earners -- on YouTube.

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Elliot Watkins/Muselk

Elliot Watkins -- known to his YouTube subscribers as Muselk -- is one of the Aussie YouTube gamers who'll be at Game On. His channel started with Let's Play videos based around the popular game Team Fortress 2, but he's expanded out and even put study on hold to go full time as a YouTube star.

"I kicked off my channel about a year ago," says Watkins. "I started by just uploading the occasional video when bored at Uni, then when I started getting a few subscribers I got more serious and then about a month ago I decided to try this full time."

"When I passed 100,000 subscribers I knew that this was something I could take a little more seriously. What tipped me over into trying it full time was when I went to PAX East over in Boston. Being there and meeting some of the really massive gaming YouTubers -- I guess it was quite inspiring. So I decided to go with it and try my hand at the job I've been dreaming of since I was a 12 year old watching my favourite Call of Duty people online."

While anyone attending Game On will get a chance to see plenty of Let's Play creators, Harris says that the event isn't just about the intersection of gaming and YouTube. It has a much broader outlook on the two disciplines.

"We knew we'd wanted to create Vivid event that could be a great showcase for the local gaming industry," he says. "At the same time we'd been looking at oversees events like VidCon in the US, which is all about online video. What we saw was that there's a lot of cross over between the two."

"There's a lot of gaming YouTubers that we're bringing, but there's a lot that aren't as well. It might start off as being about YouTube, but then it isn't -- it's about fashion, or music, or art, or cooking or whatever you talk about online."

The important thing for Harris is that Game On has big appeal for people inside and outside the industries.

"If you're someone who's looking to break into gaming or online video creation then there's a lot on offer -- but if you're someone who just enjoys games or watching YouTube clips, then there's plenty here as well."

The full schedule for Game On is available here. Tickets start at AU$39 for a day pass.

Editor's Note: Employees of GameSpot will also be guests at Game On. GameSpot is owned by CBS Interactive, which also publishes CNET.