I have been a fan of the Yogscast for several years now. I mean, what’s not to like? A few guys and gals talking, playing, reviewing video games on the internet. Lewis Brindley and Simon Lane who are the founders of the Yogscast are around my age, they have a similar sense of humour and talk in an incredibly nerdy and geeky way about computer games. It was always going to be the type of thing that I was into, and although we’re all growing up, physically at least. I remain a fan of their content.
The Yogscast started as an informative YouTube channel hosted by Lewis and Simon, where they would offer tips and techniques playing the incredibly popular World of Warcraft MMO. Quickly the informative tutorials became more entertaining with Simon, in particular, showcasing to the world an awkward yet charming comedic gift.
Fast forward to today and the Yogscast has grown from two men in a back bedroom uploading content to YouTube to amuse themselves, into a network. The limited company has a plethora of gaming channels under their network, an office complex which allows the creators to film, record, edit and stream videos live across the internet. They have merchandise which is shipped worldwide and a staff of people that deal with camera operations, editing, artwork, merchandise and broker lucrative brand deals for their content creators.
From the outside looking in, and for a geeky, nerdy computer game aficionado who likes to be entertained with that brand of humour like myself, the Yogscast looks like the greatest place on earth to work. That is not to say that the employees do not work extremely hard. Recently, The Yogscast hosted their convention, entitled YogCon. The 2-day event was hosted in the city where the company have their base of operations, Bristol, UK. They rented a venue, decked it out with all sorts of panels, gaming stations, props from their past videos as well as streaming most of the content for the people who could not attend across the internet. YogCon was a huge success, and although I could not make it I was able to catch my favourite channel, the Triforce podcast on Twitch.
However, there has been a dark cloud that has hovered over Yog Towers (the on-screen name for the office). Three separate members of the Yogcast have been removed from the network due to allegations that have been made regarding harassment in obtaining sexual explicit content from the Yogscast audience. All three members were incredibly popular and powerful creators and had been at the Yogscast for a long time. To say that it was a shock to the audience when the allegations surfaced would be an understatement.
This scandal makes you wonder, we buy into online creators because they are more personable, they make content for us that we can not find in the mainstream. However, because the content feels more intimate, more legitimate and less corporate, it doesn’t mean that we truly know the person who is making the content. The internet has blurred the lines in terms of the relationship between creators and their audience.
This is not to say that one should stop watching the Yogscast. I mean I haven’t, but I think viewers of content online, especially on YouTube and Twitch, need to re-evaluate the viewer creator relationship. We shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, and I am not saying that you should stop being fanatical about something that you are interested in. Just careful, you don’t truly know anybody on the internet.