Rooster Teeth’s Appeal Is Transcending the Stereotypical Video Gamer to Reach a Mass Audience

Kids to grandparents love the brand

Antonio Brown, of the NFL, joins Justine Ezarik at a Rooster Teeth live video game tournament.
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Rooster Teeth, an internet-favorite for video game content, has a mass following as gamers no longer fit the mold that the pop culture previously defined them as.

Because as Geoff Ramsey, co-founder of Rooster Teeth says, “It’s weird if you’re not a gamer at this point. My mother’s in her late 60s, had no idea Pokémon was a cartoon, but she plays the game every day.”

Back in the 1980s, Ramsey remembers, it wasn’t cool to be into video games because there was a “stigma attached to it.”

“These days, my daughter and her friends all game,” he said. “Video games, and video game content, are forms of entertainment for her. She doesn’t know cable TV, but she does understand Netflix and Hulu.”

Everybody these days is a video game player, according to Ramsey. Consider the apps on your phone you tap when you need to waste some time. What about the app-ified or DVD-ified versions of classic board games, like Trivial Pursuit or Scrabble? Even last year’s phenomena of Pokémon Go convinced all sorts of people to download and have some fun.

For Rooster Teeth, they understand that video games are now an accepted form of entertainment and have provided all forms of it for the last 14 years. They’ve created their own cartoon series based off of the Halo franchise called ‘Red Vs. Blue,’ an original anime series called ‘RWBY’ and tons of videos with content creators playing video games while hanging out with each other.

Some of those projects have been developed into feature-length films available on YouTube Red. Rooster Teeth’s personalities are so beloved that 2.5 million people have watched them play Uno, in a nearly three-hour video call Uno: The Movie.

Throughout the last 14 years, they also created podcasts, character-driven shows, merchandise and live events like their RTX convention which brings together fans of Rooster Teeth properties.

“The first RTX I attended before I started working here,” said Michael Jones, one of the content creators and personalities of Achievement Hunter, an offshoot of Rooster Teeth that specifically focuses on gameplay, “was about 500 fans in a field next to the office.”

“It was super cool, like a huge meet-and-greet or a cool family reunion,” he said. “The next year, we held it at the Austin Convention Center and a couple thousand people showed up.”

RTX has since gone global, with conventions in Sydney and London, meant for fans who can’t easily travel to Texas.

Today, the company is announcing an expanded multi-city tour of “Let’s Play Live,” which will combine personalities from Achievement Hunter and Funhaus, another gameplay-centric collective for Rooster Teeth based in Los Angeles.

According to Jones, fans of Rooster Teeth can often get attached to very specific parts of what the company produces.

“I work behind-the-scenes here at Rooster Teeth, and someone still came up to me at RTX because they recognized me,” Luis Medina, Rooster Teeth’s svp of partnerships, told Adweek. “But they follow a lot of us on Twitter, and they’re interested in what we’re doing.”

Once, at an airport baggage claim, Medina saw a family of four each wearing different Rooster Teeth-inspired T-shirts. To Medina, that tells the story of who the Rooster Teeth audience is.

"I work behind-the-scenes here at Rooster Teeth, and someone still came up to me at RTX because they recognized me."
Luis Medina, Rooster Teeth's svp of partnerships

“Video games are bigger than a subculture,” he said.

Medina works with brands who want to connect with fans of video games, but he doesn’t want to sell the Rooster Teeth audience short.

“If it feels contrived or artificial, we won’t do it,” he said. “Our audience is too savvy and they’d see through it very quickly. Plus, our team won’t love doing it, so nobody will see results. What brands need to recognize is that opening the door to a gaming audience doesn’t close the door to a broader audience. It’s the same thing.”