Mr. Beast capitalized on the Squid Game hype with a real-life version of the games, and it’s something that Netflix could never pull off.
MrBeast capitalized on the Squid Game hype by creating an innocuous, real-life version of the games, and it’s something Netflix would never do. In the Korean drama series Squid Game, a shady organization recruits 456 desperate people in financial debt to participate in a series of challenges. The challenges consist of six children’s games, including Red Light/Green Light, Tug of War, and even a game of marbles. All the players have the opportunity to win millions, but there’s a catch. If a player loses, they die, and the only way to earn the prize money is by surviving all the challenges until the end.
Squid Game took the world by storm after its Netflix release in September. In its first month, the series reached an unprecedented 142 million subscriber households, which allowed it to become Netflix’s most-streamed show ever. The series quickly put itself in rare territory, completely dominating home-viewing. In its second whole week, from September 27 to October 3, viewers watched Squid Game for more than 3 billion minutes. The series is such a runaway success that it boosted viewership for similar shows, such as the Japanese death series Alice in Borderland. Due to its massive popularity, Squid Game director Hwang Dong-hyuk has already said a second season of the show is coming.
Though Netflix has another season of Squid Game on the way, MrBeast bested the streaming service at taking advantage of the series’ growing hype. MrBeast’s Squid Game was a harmless version of the competition that gave 456 people the chance to win $456,000. The YouTuber’s crew designed sets nearly identical to the show and were careful to remove all semblance of violence from the games, resulting in a friendly competition for a significant amount of money. The YouTuber even provided his own twists to the competition. For instance, MrBeast initially hid the shapes that players would try to cut out of honeycomb so people couldn’t gain an advantage. Within 24 hours, the video had already received more than 30 million views and was quickly climbing, taking advantage of the show’s hype in ways Netflix couldn’t.
MrBeast came up with the perfect way to capitalize on the excitement around Squid Game. Besides releasing the astronomical numbers for Squid Game viewership during an earnings call, Netflix hasn’t done much to take advantage of the series’ popularity. The streaming service has created Squid Game merchandise, but even the season 2 announcement came from the series’ director rather than Netflix. Others have also tried to take advantage of the hype around the show, with Chrissy Teigen even throwing a Squid Game party for her celebrity friends. But Teigen’s Squid Game competition for wealthy people has drawn more backlash than praise. However, MrBeast took a property people enjoyed and turned it into a harmless and fun way to give out a massive sum of money. The YouTuber even gave away thousands of dollars to the eliminated players just for participating.
Of course, by taking advantage of the hype, MrBeast also helps the Netflix original series. Ultimately, the streaming giant doesn’t have to do anything to take advantage of Squid Game’s popularity. By MrBeast creating a real-life version of Squid Game, he brings more attention and more eyeballs to the series. Plus, Netflix didn’t have to give away the money itself or pay to recreate sets for a game show. In a way, it’s the only version of Squid Game where everyone wins.
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