Game Theory Offers a Larger Lesson For All of YouTube

YouTube has become the next generation of media content and is rapidly overtaking traditional pop culture outlets. The younger generations are now more inclined towards Youtube than television or mainstream music.

In 2015 the University of Southern California asked a cross-section of 13-18-year-olds to rank top internet celebrities against traditional celebrities based on their cultural influence.

Youtuber KSI was ranked as the most influential star, followed closely by streamer PewDiePie. In fact, the top six spots were all held by internet celebrities. Proving YouTube is an important part of modern pop culture.

The issue with YouTube is the lack of specific content management and quality control. Putting the onus on creators to produce content more intellectually rewarding than the popular controversial rants and prank videos.

It’s All In The Name

Fortunately for future generations, there are YouTube channels that aim to engage their audiences a little more. One such creator is MatPat and his channel The Game Theorist.

The title is a play on words that draws a link between gaming and the scientific concept game theory. Game theory is the application of mathematical models to map out rational decision making.    

See the example above. Put simply it’s a study to measure and predict decision making and behavioural patterns in humans, animals and computers. Some videos on the channel actually use game theory but largely it’s a channel dedicated to the science of video games.

Game Theory and Deadlock

The bread and butter of The Game Theorist is the show Game Theory where MatPat and friends attempt to analyse in-game science. Applying real-world complex scientific and mathematical equations to ludicrous physics problems.  

Asking important questions like could the Fortnite Battle Bus really fly? How rich is a Pokemon master? And what would happen if Link actually used his trademark Hookshot? Spoiler alert for that last one, it’s a bad idea.



Presenters attempt to simplify the complex concepts into digestible information. Then they take that information and use it to demonstrate how they draw the conclusions. Full explanations and formulas are supplied, allowing viewers to check the working should they desire.

The Game Theorist also produces Deadlock which topical analysis from the gaming industry. Debating narrative elements or weighing in on industry hot topics like the difficulty controversy sparked by Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.

The results of each Deadlock is left for the commenters to decide, encouraging viewers to engage in the discussion. The Game Theorist’s shows come packaged with the typical Youtube razzle-dazzle that makes the medium appealing to younger generations.    

But MatPat and his fellow presenter also aim to encourage viewers to actively use their own minds. Game Theory attempts to make educational content attractive to younger generations by combining YouTube and gaming.

What We Can Learn From Game Theory

It’s not just the viewers who can take a hearty education from Game Theory. It’s a format future influential YouTubers can learn from to help lift YouTube into a new era of quality.

MatPat has previously explained on Game Theory how controversy can beat the YouTube algorithm. In short, producing deliberately poor quality or offensive content actually increases exposure and therefore profit.

Too many creators are aware of these simple loopholes and the aforementioned lack of quality control puts the medium at threat. YouTube as a platform will help shape the next generation of society. Which creates a pressing concern if too much content slips into these lazy loopholes.  

Game Theory has been going strong for a decade and today boasts over 11 million subscribers. Proving there’s more to successful gaming channels than just let’s plays and reaction videos.

It serves as a positive application of new media, making science engaging for young minds. Some of the equations are too complex to track in schools but Game Theory could certainly contribute to class discussion in modern education.

Channels like Game Theory offer a wonderful peek at a brighter future for YouTube. And that is the lesson other YouTubers should be taking away from Game Theory.

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