The Yogscast

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Yogscast Ltd
The Yogscast
Private company limited by shares
Industry Entertainment
Founded United Kingdom (2008; 10 years ago (2008))
Founders
  • Lewis Brindley
  • Simon Lane
Headquarters The Yogscast Studios
King William House, 13 Queen Square
Bristol, BS1 4NT
United Kingdom
Key people
Products
Website yogscast.com

The Yogscast is a media production company and video game publisher based in Bristol who produce gaming related video content focused around their main YouTube channel, "YOGSCAST Lewis & Simon" and subsequent channels on both YouTube and Twitch made by other creators as part of the Yogscast network. The channel has its roots in videos about the massively multiplayer online game World of Warcraft,[1] but rose to popularity with their playthrough of the sandbox game Minecraft and their self-produced role playing series Shadow of Israphel set in the same game.[2][3] More recently, the group are known to play the sandbox game Garry's Mod and the action free roam game Grand Theft Auto Online, as well as producing their own live action series. They are also known for their annual Christmas live streaming charity drive, also known as the Yogscast Jingle Jam, which has raised more than eleven million dollars for various charities as of 2018.

History[edit]

Founding and establishment (2008–2011)[edit]

The group was founded in July 2008 by Lewis Brindley ("Xephos") and Simon Lane ("Honeydew"), with the creation of their YouTube channel on 8 July 2008, and their first YouTube video uploaded on 25 July 2008. Brindley and Lane first began by recording iTunes podcasts and YouTube video guides on World of Warcraft from their own homes, joined by friends from their guild.[4] The name "Yogscast" was derived from the title letters of their World of Warcraft guild Ye Olde Goone Squade, which itself originated from the forum community of Something Awful.[5] In August 2010, they joined the multi-channel network TheGameStation,[6][7] a sub-network of Maker Studios.

In December 2010, they recorded a Minecraft video series which amassed a large number of views and subscribers, and catapulted them to popularity.[2][4] On 3 May 2011, Brindley and Lane officially incorporated the Yogscast as a registered company.[8] They also moved into a house together in Reading which they also shared with their friend Hannah Rutherford ("Lomadia").[9] In October 2011, the Yogscast's main YouTube channel "YOGSCAST Lewis & Simon" hit one million subscribers, making it the biggest YouTube channel in the United Kingdom at that time.[4]

Other members of Ye Olde Goone Squade subsequently joined Brindley and Lane in creating their own content under the Yogscast brand. Rutherford initially ran a secondary channel for the Yogscast that later became her own channel to create her own content, while other early associates such as Duncan Jones ("Lalna"), Paul Sykes ("Sjin"), and Chris Lovasz ("Sips") created their own channels to record their own videos, marking the start of the Yogscast family.[4]

Early difficulties (2011–2012)[edit]

The Yogscast team held their own panel at MineCon 2011,[3][10] where they showcased some of the work of the Minecraft community. Following the event, the group came under fire from Minecraft creator Markus Persson, who stated that he would no longer work with the group, citing use of profanity and unprofessional behaviour.[11] These claims were questioned by some MineCon attendees as well as game commentator TotalBiscuit.[11] The Yogscast responded on Reddit and via a YouTube video, denying the accusations and expressing their disappointment and frustration with the organisation of MineCon, as well as their respect for Persson and the Minecraft community at large.[12] Persson later apologised for the misunderstanding and retracted his accusations, attributing the statements to stress and miscommunication. To date, however, the Yogscast have not published further coverage of subsequent MineCons, nor have they ever worked professionally with Persson.[13]

In 2012, the Yogscast partnered with indie games developer Winterkewl Games and started a Kickstarter campaign to develop a video game called Yogventures!. The goal of $250,000 was quickly reached, with a full total of $567,000 eventually being raised by 13,647 donators. However, the project stalled after Winterkewl Games ran out of funds, and was eventually cancelled in July 2014. Backers were compensated with a copy of the game TUG by Nerd Kingdom, who also took hold of all developmental Yogventures! artwork and source code.[14]

Growth in popularity (2012–2016)[edit]

Despite the setbacks, the Yogscast continued to grow rapidly in scale and popularity. Brindley and Lane moved their operations from their bedrooms to their new headquarters in New Bond House in Bristol, which they dubbed "YogTowers".[2] Their team continued to expand as other members of the Yogscast also moved in to the office to consolidate their operations in the shared space,[15] and by July 2012 the Yogscast had more than a dozen members and staff in their office.[2]

In June 2012, the Yogscast's main channel became the first channel in the United Kingdom to reach one billion views,[16][17] and by June 2013, they had acquired five million subscribers.[4] A variety of new friends and content creators such as Martyn Littlewood ("InTheLittleWood") and Hat Films also joined, marking the expansion of the Yogscast line-up beyond the original World of Warcraft group.[4]

The Yogscast also began to hold regular public appearances in exhibitions and events throughout the United Kingdom where they would perform live shows and organise signings at events like the Insomnia Gaming Festival and the London Comic Con.[4]

Further expansion and diversification (2016–present)[edit]

Citing professional difficulties, Yogscast left Maker Studios in 2016[18] and set up their own multi-channel network.[19] Microsoft also partnered with the Yogscast to produce and manage their Xbox On channel on YouTube on behalf of Xbox UK.[20] In addition, numerous content creators such as Matthew Meredith ("Caffcast"), BasicallyBea, Radderss, GeestarGames, Overwatch Central, and Vidiots also joined as part of the larger Yogscast network.[4]

In 2017, the Yogscast moved out of New Bond House and shifted to new, larger offices at the King William House in Queen Street, with new amenities and upgraded equipment.[21] Amongst the facilities, it has dedicated recording suites, which in the future could be rented out to other content producers to create and record content.[22][23]

In May 2017, the Yogscast announced the publishing of their first game, Caveblazers, as part of their foray into the game publishing business.[24][25]

As of 1 September 2018, the main Yogscast YouTube channel had 7,261,134 subscribers, 3,858,530,380 video views, and featured 33 other YouTube channels,[26] while the Yogscast Twitch channel had 711,226 followers and a total of 86,995,275 video views.[27]

Productions[edit]

Video series[edit]

World of Warcraft[edit]

The Yogscast's World of Warcraft videos were the first videos released by the Yogscast and largely took the form of parodic how-to videos. In July 2010, Brindley and Lane also began a series of play-through videos previewing the Cataclysm expansion pack's closed beta. Much of the Yogscast's initial popularity was due to media and blog coverage of these videos, with Joystiq (later becoming Engadget) regularly covering them as they were released.[1][28]

Minecraft[edit]

One of the most popular video features of the Yogscast are their many Minecraft series.[3] In December 2010, Brindley and Lane began an ongoing series of Let's Play-style Minecraft survival multiplayer videos. As the series progressed, however, it evolved into a semi-improvised comedy drama named Shadow of Israphel. This new series led to a boom in the number of the group's YouTube subscribers, and was a major contributing factor in their rise to fame. However, it suffered from a sporadic release schedule, and there has been no further instalments since the last video, episode 42, was released in July 2012. The series has been put on hold since and has not been officially cancelled, although its indefinite hiatus remains a recurring joke amongst the Yogscast and their audience.

Since then, they have also produced other narrative-driven series set in Minecraft such as YogLabs, MoonQuest, MarsQuest, and JaffaQuest which have also attracted a large audience.

Another of Brindley and Lane's Minecraft series involves their avatars bumbling through player-made adventure maps.[3] The adventure maps series began being uploaded to the main Yogscast channel in January 2011.

Live Action[edit]

The Yogscast have participated and produced their own large-scale live action series. The most common of these are the group's coverage of various gaming conventions, as well as RPG sessions and studio-promoted "challenge" videos. Other notable live action productions include a discussion with television and radio presenter Jonathan Ross,[29] a mockumentary-style interview with actor Warwick Davis,[30] an interview with Sigourney Weaver, a promotional project with Peter Molyneux, and a series of promotional live action sketches with Ubisoft, EA, Microsoft, the BBC, Lucasfilm, Disney, Universal Studios, Blizzard Entertainment, Sony, and some smaller indie developers.

Podcasts[edit]

The YoGPoD[edit]

The YoGPoD
Presentation
Hosted by Xephos (Lewis Brindley)
Honeydew (Simon Lane)
Genre Gaming, Comedy
Language English
Length 15 – 120 minutes
Publication
Original release 5 February 2009; 9 years ago (2009-02-05) – present
Provider Yogscast Ltd.

The YoGPoD podcast was first released on 5 February 2009, and was intended to run alongside the group's YouTube video releases. Along with hosts Brindley and Lane, it often featured other members of their World of Warcraft guild, and was initially released with a proposed weekly schedule. Releases became more sporadic over time, however, to the point that YoGPoD 42: Strawnana came out on 4 July 2012, 5 months after its predecessor. A Halloween-themed YoGPoD, YoGPoD 44: Halloween Spack-2-cular was released on 28 October 2012, followed by YoGPoD 45: Halloween Spack-3-cular on 30 October 2013. Following the 2013 Halloween YoGPoD, there was a short run of releases from October 2015 to January 2016, before the schedule paused again.

On 9 July 2018, a surprise Halloween-themed episode entitled YoGPoD 51: Halloween Spack-10-cular was released to celebrate a decade of Yogscast content. Despite the name, it was recorded and released far from Halloween.

The YoGPoD has no strict structure, but one of the more prominent features has Lane impersonate public figures that Brindley then "interviews". Brian Blessed, Warwick Davis and Elizabeth II are often parodied in this fashion.

The podcast reached #1 on the iTunes UK Podcasts chart on 4 July 2012,[31] following the release of YoGPoD 42: Strawnana.

Triforce![edit]

Triforce!
Presentation
Hosted by Lewis Brindley
Sips (Chris Lovasz)
Pyrion Flax (Edward Forsyth)
Genre Gaming, Chat
Language English
Length 30 – 120 minutes
Publication
Original release 23 March 2016; 2 years ago (2016-03-23) – present
Provider Yogscast Ltd.

Triforce! is a gaming and general discussion podcast hosted by Brindley, Sips and Pyrion Flax (Edward Forsyth). It was first released on 23 March 2016. The podcast is posted alongside The YoGPoD and features the trio talking about various ideas centred on gaming but also expand to current topics and sporadic thoughts. The structure of the podcast is fairly loose, with an introduction, miscellaneous topics, a gaming section, a reading from Pyrion Flax's homebrew fan fiction "Bodega" (Episode 19 to Episode 43) and a Q and A from Twitter followers at the close of the podcast.

In 2017, the official YoGPoD YouTube channel was rebranded for the Triforce! podcast. A spinoff audiobook style series, titled Bodega, was also debuted. The series features excerpts of the regular Triforce!, podcast where Pyrion Flax narrates his homebrew fanfiction.

Live broadcasts[edit]

The Yogscast Christmas Livestreams, which has been known as the Yogscast Jingle Jam as of 2014, are a series of live streams that are shown over the course of December each year with the intention to raise money for charity.

High Rollers D&D is a Dungeons & Dragons series being played on the Sunday Tabletop RPG Show, part of the daily Yogscast live stream schedule. The show is broadcast live on the Yogscast Twitch channel on Sundays from 5pm GMT. It is the largest Dungeons and Dragons livestream in Europe, and has partnered with Wizards of the Coast on several miniseries.

Charity initiatives[edit]

The Yogscast win at the Oxfam Awards 2012, accepting the award for Most Popular Fundraiser from JustGiving

Since 2011, the Yogscast have organised a series of live streams every year in December to benefit charity. The idea began when fans would send presents to Brindley and Lane during the Christmas season, but they would instead insist that the money be donated to charity.[32][33][34]

The Yogscast started their first charity live stream in December 2011 with the intention to raise money for Oxfam's Give a Goat programme to "send locally-sourced and vaccinated goats to families living in poverty." As part of their charity drive, the group hosted a live stream on Twitch every day in December while viewers were encouraged to donate to the charity through the JustGiving fundraising portal. The live streams were broadcast out of the basement of the house which Brindley, Lane, and Rutherford shared at that time.[9] A total of £66,040.30 was raised, exceeding the target goal of £60,000.[35] The Yogscast was named JustGiving's Most Popular Fundraiser of 2012 for this achievement.[36][37]

For the 2012 holiday season, the Yogscast team conducted another charity drive for Oxfam called Honeydew's Honey Drive.[38] As an improvement over the previous year, they upgraded to streaming from a dedicated studio in their new offices in Bristol.[33] In addition to viewer donations through the JustGiving website, the team also raised additional proceeds through the sale of Twitch subscriptions, merchandise and Christmas songs to be donated to charity.[39] They also worked with other YouTube content producers such as Hat Films, GameChap, TotalBiscuit, and Athene. Honeydew's Honey Drive was successful in raising £240,568.25, more than triple that of the previous year.[40] The group were again nominated for JustGiving's Most Popular Fundraiser of 2013, and received a Special Recognition Award at the JustGiving Awards ceremony.[41]

In 2013, the Yogscast hosted the Dwarven Dairy Drive. For this and subsequent charity drives, donations were made through to Humble Bundle instead of JustGiving, which allowed donators to receive an assortment of games as a token of appreciation, and also allowed the donations to be directed at multiple charities rather than just one.[42] This charity drive attracted considerably more donators than previous livestreams, and raised a total of $1,159,746.33, triple that of the previous year.[43]

In 2014, the Yogscast named their live stream charity drive the Yogscast Jingle Jam, which has remained the theme for every year's charity drive since then.[44] The Yogscast Jingle Jam 2015 invited special guests to the live streams including major YouTube celebrities such as CaptainSparklez and Tobuscus.[45][46]

Subsequent years have seen the charity drive break records in quick succession. The Yogscast Jingle Jam 2016 raised a total of $2,577,801.17, more than double their previous record in 2013.[47] The 2017 installment was even more successful, raising $500,000 in the first hour,[48] and breaking the 2016 record within the first week.[32] By the end of the charity drive, it had raised a grand total of $5,245,772, again more than twice that of the previous year.[49] For their work with Whale and Dolphin Conservation, the Yogscast was awarded the Celebrity Charity Champion for the Third Sector Awards in 2018.[50]

In all, as of January 2018, a cumulative total of $11,632,005.53 has been donated from all of the Yogscast's Christmas charity drives.

List of Christmas live streams[edit]

Year Title Featured Charities Total Donations Funds Raised
2011 Yogscast Christmas Goat Giving Special 3,616 £66,040.30[35]
($102,987.87)[a]
2012 Honeydew's Honey Drive
  • Oxfam's 'Plan Bee'
  • Oxfam's '365 Emergency Fund'
13,390 £240,568.25[40]
($387,934.59)[b]
2013 Dwarven Dairy Drive
  • GamesAid
  • Little People UK
  • Oxfam
  • Special Effect
  • War Child
47,885 $1,159,746.33[43]
2014 Yogscast Jingle Jam 40,277 $1,104,882.09[51]
2015 Yogscast Jingle Jam 2015 40,201 $1,052,881.48[52]
2016 Yogscast Jingle Jam 2016 86,578 $2,577,801.17[47]
2017 Yogscast Jingle Jam 2017
  • Cancer Research UK
  • International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association
  • Mental Health Foundation
  • Special Effect
  • Wallace & Gromit's Grand Appeal
  • Whale and Dolphin Conservation
148,853 $5,245,772.00[49]
Cumulative Total of Funds Raised $11,632,005.53
  1. ^ Converted from a historical monthly average GBP/USD exchange rate in December 2011 of 1.55947 according to OFX.
  2. ^ Converted from a historical monthly average GBP/USD exchange rate in December 2012 of 1.612576 according to OFX.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Ceremony Award Recipient Result
2012 JustGiving Awards Most Popular Fundraiser The Yogscast Won
2012 Golden Joystick Awards YouTuber Gamer Award The Yogscast Won
2013 JustGiving Awards Most Popular Fundraiser The Yogscast Nominated
2013 Golden Joystick Awards YouTuber Gamer Award The Yogscast Won
2016 The Shorty Awards Social Media Awards (Gaming) The Yogscast Nominated
2017 The Shorty Awards Social Media Awards (Gaming) Hannah Rutherford Nominated
2018 Third Sector Awards Celebrity Charity Champion The Yogscast Won

References[edit]

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External links[edit]