YouTube Play Buttons act as a creator reward for hitting a chosen number of subscribers as being recognized by YouTube. These are distinct from the YouTube Awards, which were intended to recognize the best quality videos.
The Play Buttons are based on a channel's subscriber count, but are awarded at the sole discretion of YouTube – each channel is reviewed before an award is issued, to ensure the channel follows YouTube's community guidelines.
When a verified YouTuber reaches a specific milestone and is deemed eligible for a YouTube Creator Reward, they are awarded a relatively flat trophy in a metal casing with glass paneling and a YouTube play button symbol, as well as featuring the creator channel name's embossed on it. The trophies are of different sizes: each button and plaque gets progressively bigger the more subscribers the channel gets.
At the moment there are four different Play Button tiers that you can get:
- The Silver Play Button at 100,000 Subscribers, made out of 92% nickel, 5% carbon and 2.5% zinc, with traces of other metals.
- The Gold Play Button at 1 million Subscribers, made out of gold-plated brass.
- The Diamond Play Button at 10 million Subscribers, made out of silver-plated metal insets with a large piece of crystal. This award is in the shape of a play button triangle, excluding the metal casing.
- The Custom Play Button at 50 million Subscribers. At the moment, only three YouTube channels have received this award, PewDiePie, who actually coined the term "Ruby Play Button" (with YouTube officially calling it the Custom Play Button).
As the name suggests, the award is customized to the creator's logo, such as PewDiePie's award, which was made in the shape of his channel's logo, a "brofist" fist. The award also came with several mini-awards to be gifted to subscribers that had been subscribed to the longest and were still active.
The T-Series play button displays the letter T, and is made with transparent glass/crystal engraving, which indicates that each channel that reaches 50 million subscribers will receive a customized award, not necessarily red in color like Felix's.
5-Minute Crafts has recently surpassed the Custom Play Button goal and is awaiting the reward.
At VidCon 2012's Industry Day event, YouTube executive Tim Shey introduced the Gold Play Button were to be awarded to creators who have had their channels surpass one million subscribers. At the time of the announcement, 78 channels qualified for the award. In addition, Shey announced that channels with over 100,000 subscribers would receive a $500 gift card and a DSLR camera case. Channels with over 100,000 subscribers would later be eligible to receive a Silver Play Button.
Three years later, at VidCon 2015, Matthew Glotzbach, YouTube's Vice President of Product Management, announced the introduction of the Diamond Play Button. At the time of this award's introduction, 35 channels qualified for it.
On December 19th, 2016, PewDiePie received the first ever Custom (Ruby) Play Button along with several mini-awards. It is in the shape of PewDiePie's brofist channel logo and is a translucent red.
Former DesignYouTube redesigned its play buttons as of March 1, 2017, as well as their build. This includes the Silver and Gold play buttons, with a much sleeker look. The old version of the Silver Play Button, for instance, was made of a nickel-plated cupronickel alloy, and featured a glass panel with metal framework.
At the moment, it is unsure whether the Custom play button will be redesigned completely to fit the creator's logo, as seen in Felix's, or feature a similar triangular base with crystal engraving like T-Series' from that point on.
Fan-Made Custom Play ButtonsOften times users like to get a bit crafty with their Play Buttons, either to match their brand or to simply forge something for viewership. These variations are obviously fake and unrecognized by YouTube. An example of this is can be Kwebbelkop 's Orange Play Button.
Other YouTubers who have made custom play buttons include:
- PressTube, who made a glowing blue play button, as well as one made out of gold.
- Life of Boris, who stitched his own leather play button.
- How To Make Everything, who made his own play button using obsidian, gold, silver, copper, penny bronze, and clear glass; materials from 6 of his most popular videos.
- BrainfooTV , who cast a mini play button using real silver bullion.