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Gangnam Style by Psy 'Breaks' YouTube View Counter: Here's What Really Happened

6 December 2014, 6:47 am EST By Aaron Mamiit Tech Times
Gangnam Style has surpassed the previous maximum limit of YouTube's view counter. Did Psy's music video actually break YouTube?  ( Psy / Gangnam Style )

Psy's Gangnam Style music video has been viewed so many times that it obsoleted the view counter of Google-owned YouTube.

The music video, which has maintained its overwhelming popularity since it was released by the pop star from South Korea back in 2012, has surpassed 2,147,483,647 YouTube views, which was the previous maximum number for the website's view counter.

"We never thought a video would be watched in numbers greater than a 32-bit integer (=2,147,483,647 views), but that was before we met PSY," YouTube wrote in a post on Google+, adding that the massive number of views forced the company to upgrade the website's view counter to utilize a 64-bit integer.

The new maximum number for the YouTube view counter is now 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 views, which is a number that even Gangnam Style may not be able to reach.

When the initial developers of YouTube were creating the website, they may have never thought that one of the videos on it would be able to reach a billion views, let alone two billion. In its early years, videos on YouTube that reached a million views were already considered massive hits.

"Nothing actually broke," explained Google spokesman Matt McLernon. "There was never anything that actually went wrong. It's just people having fun with the language," referring to the reports that Gangnam Style actually broke YouTube.

The software engineers of YouTube anticipated the problem a few months ago with the ever-increasing views of Gangnam Style, so they were able to update to the 64-bit view counter of the entire website before the music video reached the maximum limit.

If the engineers did not react in time, the number of views would have been stuck at the maximum number, with YouTube still counting the views in a separate location.

Gangnam Style by Psy has been a worldwide phenomenon since it was uploaded in July 2012. It was the first video clip to have been viewed a billion times, holding the titles as the most-watched video ever.

Despite the video being almost two and a half years old, it was still the fifth most-played YouTube video in the past summer, according to McLernon.

"People still play this video an absurd number of times," McLernon said.

To commemorate the feat of Gangnam Style, YouTube included a new feature for the video. Users that view Gangnam Style should hover their mouse cursors over the music video's view counter for a unique visual effect of the numbers spinning forward and backward.

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