Maker Studios pulled an Artist Formerly Known As Prince last Thursday by changing the name of YouTube network The Game Station to the much sexier, sleeker Polaris. The name change also came with a new rebranding effort which set the network up to feature content from gaming superstars PewDiePie, Yogscast and HuskyStarcraft.
It’s a big move for Maker Studios as game-related content makes up possibly the most oversaturated market on YouTube. However, playing a huge part in YouTube’s Geek Week and with a brand new website forthcoming, Polaris and Maker are primed to corner the brutally competitive online gaming space.
We spoke with Dar Nothaft, vice president and general manager of Polaris about the audience-generating strength of their top gaming creators and the network’s upcoming role in YouTube Geek Week.
With so many game-centric channels on YouTube right now, why has Maker decided to launch Polaris?
Dar Nothaft: YouTube is a natural home for gaming content, which is why the Polaris Network continues to grow at a breakneck pace, topping 1 billion views in July. Beyond the numbers, we’re of the philosophy that with so many options out there, our viewers aren’t subscribed to games — they’re subscribed to personalities. Our business is to help those personalities grow and develop both on and off the platform. The Polaris channel is key to that strategy, providing a playground for our stars to create with each other, with the benefit of Maker’s resources and support.
Would Maker’s gaming strategy on YouTube be radically different without tentpole creators like PewDiePie?
Creators are our strategy. We plan to continue to partner with the most beloved gaming personalities on YouTube, focusing on helping them develop their businesses through monetization, merchandising and content and audience development. We make every decision with our talent and audience in mind, and the strategy around the launch reflects that. The Polaris channel will benefit from our talent-driven formats, including “PewDiePie & Friends,” cross-channel format “Rumble Zone,” and many new programs from creators across the network with an eye for quality, not necessarily subscriber numbers.