Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 may ultimately claim the title of 2015’s best selling game, but when it comes to viral YouTube videos it didn’t even manage to crack the top 10.
Instead, it was a commercial for a mobile game that captured the attention of YouTube fans this year, with Liam Neeson’s Clash of Clans Super Bowl ad taking the top spot and racking up more than 83 million views.
Top trending gaming videos are based on views, shares, comments, likes and more, according to YouTube GOOG-1.19%. In other words, the top 10 gaming videos are the ones that went the most viral this year.
While the full list did include several AAA titles (those with the highest development and promotion budgets), including the reveal trailer for EA’s EA1.49%Star Wars: Battlefront, some smaller games held their own against multi-million dollar competitors. The teaser trailer for the independent horror game Five Nights at Freddy’s 3proved more popular than reveals for Bethesda’s long-awaited Fallout 4 (which claimed a $750 million launch in November) and Final Fantasy VII.
That’s likely not a worrisome sign for publishers and instead simply an indication of the wildly varied tastes of the industry’s millennial gaming audience. Players have increasingly shown an interest in off-the-beaten-path games in addition to long-running hit franchises.
Of course, this is YouTube—and you can’t have a top 10 list without several gaming-themed videos that are original clips, rather than just marketing reels. Among the favorites were a real-life recreation of scenes from Grand Theft Auto V (GTA V), a playthrough of Five Nights at Freddy’s 3(which reduced the onscreen player to a quivering mass), and a video that captured the first impressions of senior citizens as they play GTA V for the first time.
In addition to running down the top videos, YouTube also pulled back the curtain on the demographics for its gaming audience. Thirty percent of YouTube’s gamers are women, with one third of its members over the age of 35. Gamers are also growing up, with 47% of the 4,800 people YouTube surveyed saying they are now parents.
Here’s the complete list of the most-watched videos:
Clash of Clans: Revenge (Official Super Bowl TV Commercial)
Star Wars Battlefront Reveal Trailer
Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 Teaser Trailer
WARNING: YOU WILL DIE | Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 – Part 1
Discover Pokémon in the Real World with Pokémon GO!
Fallout 4 – Official Trailer
Elders Play Grand Theft Auto V (Elders React: Gaming)
Halo VS Call of Duty
Final Fantasy VII – E3 2015 Trailer | PS4
There is some redeeming news for Activision-Blizzard ATVI-3.36%. While the company’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 videos didn’t go viral, YouTube’s overall gaming audience still love it. In terms of total views and watch time, the game managed to top the list of titles that captured people’s attention this year, with FIFA 16 coming in second.
Even in that ranking, though, independent and smaller games had a phenomenal showing. Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 and Five Nights at Freddy’s 4 both made the list, as didARK: Survival Evolved and Agar.io; titles that most non-core gamers have never heard of. Meanwhile, some of the year’s biggest releases, including Halo 5: Guardians andStar Wars: Battlefront, were absent from the list.
The video game world is becoming increasingly important to YouTube. In August, the company launched a game streaming service to compete with Amazon’s AMZN-2.36% Twitch. The company says people currently watch billions of hours of gaming on its service each month, and that half of its top 100 channels are gaming-focused.