I think video games are in a unique position when it comes to recognizing who their celebrities are. There are the characters and mascots, like Nintendo’s Super Mario, one of the most recognizable characters in media history. There are some video game developers who also become celebrities themselves, such as Shigeru Miyamoto and Hideo Kojima.
But what makes video game celebrities unique is the rise of Lets Plays. While there are famous reviewers for other forms of media, video games are the only medium (I can think of) where celebrities broadcast their live experiences with their subject matter. The most popular independent channel on YouTube, Pewdiepie, is a lets play channel with over 29 million subscribers. These types of channels take up a huge portion of YouTube audiences. Earlier this month, live streaming website Justin.tv was shut down to focus on the popularity of their video game service, Twitch TV. Twitch functions similarly to YouTube lets plays, but allows audiences to watch live, see the live reaction of the player and interact with them via chat. Twitch have spawned their own video game celebrities, and has helped popularize esports such as League of Legends.
I wasn’t able to find any famous Asian lets play channels. However, there are many esport celebrities for games like Starcraft and DotA2, particularly in South Korea. Starcraft 2 is so popular in South Korea it has been likened to its national sport.
I think their are a couple of reasons why lets plays have become so popular. People often become fans of a YouTuber for comedic reasons. Players can convey their own entertaining personality while using the medium of a video game to either discuss what is going on or react to what their are experiencing. Some YouTubers are also popular for creating guides for players, providing a visual walkthrough and commentary for those playing the games themselves.