The Yogscast

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Yogscast Ltd
The Yogscast
Private company limited by shares
IndustryEntertainment
FoundedUnited Kingdom (2008; 11 years ago (2008))
Founders
  • Lewis Brindley
  • Simon Lane
HeadquartersThe Yogscast Studios
King William House
13 Queen Square
Bristol, BS1 4NT
United Kingdom
Key people
Products
Websiteyogscast.com
Footnotes / references
[1]

The Yogscast are an entertainment company based in Bristol that primarily produce video gaming-related videos on YouTube and Twitch, and also operate the Yogscast multi-channel network for affiliated content creators. In 2017, they published the video game Caveblazers. The group had their roots in videos about the massively multiplayer online game World of Warcraft, 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, currently named the Yogscast Jingle Jam, which has raised more than $14.9 million for various charities as of January 2019.

History[edit]

Founding and establishment (2008–2011)[edit]

(From left to right) Rutherford, Brindley, and Lane pictured at BlizzCon in 2011.

The group was founded in July 2008 by friends Lewis Brindley ("Xephos") and Simon Lane ("Honeydew"), with the creation of their YouTube channel named "BlueXephos" on 8 July 2008, and the publishing of their first YouTube video 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 and joined by friends from their guild,[4][5] desiring to share Lane's quirky style of humour with other people around the world.[6] The name of their fledgling channel, "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.[7] In August 2010, they joined the multi-channel network TheGameStation,[8][9] a sub-network of Maker Studios.[10]

In December 2010, they recorded a Minecraft video series subsequently named Shadow of Israphel which amassed a large number of views and subscribers, and catapulted them to popularity.[2][5] On 3 May 2011, Brindley and Lane officially incorporated The Yogscast as a registered company in Reading, Berkshire.[11] They also moved into a house which they also shared with their friend Hannah Rutherford ("Lomadia") in Reading.[12] They also started a secondary channel for showchasing dubbed-over trailers that they called "yogscast2".[13] In October 2011, The Yogscast's main YouTube channel "YOGSCAST Lewis & Simon" hit one million subscribers, making them the biggest YouTube channel in the United Kingdom at that time.[5]

Other members of Ye Olde Goone Squade subsequently joined Brindley and Lane in creating their own content under the Yogscast brand. Rutherford initially ran The Yogscast's secondary channel which 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.[5]

Early difficulties (2011–2012)[edit]

The Yogscast team held their own panel at MineCon 2011,[3][14] 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.[15] These claims were questioned by some MineCon attendees as well as game commentator TotalBiscuit.[15] 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.[16] 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.[17]

In 2012, indie games developer Winterkewl Games ran a Kickstarter campaign to develop a video game called Yogventures! based upon the intellectual property of The Yogscast featuring Brindley's and Lane's Shadow of Israphel avatars. The goal of $250,000 was quickly reached, with a full total of $567,000 eventually being raised by 13,647 donators.[18] However, the project stalled after Winterkewl Games ran out of funds, and was eventually cancelled in July 2014.[19] Brindley later clarified that the $150,000 the Yogscast had received from the Kickstarter "was spent directly fulfilling physical rewards for Kickstarter backers, packing and shipping the rewards, covering marketing expenses... and supporting the project over close to three years", and that The Yogscast spent "considerably more than any money [they] received on rewards" for backers.[20] Backers were compensated with a copy of the game TUG developed by Nerd Kingdom, who also took hold of all developmental Yogventures! artwork and source code.[19] Later in September of that year, backers were also given a copy of the game Landmark by Sony Online Entertainment.[21]

Growth in popularity (2012–2016)[edit]

Despite the setbacks, The Yogscast continued to grow rapidly in scale and popularity. In January 2012, their main channel was the fourth most popular YouTube channel in the United Kingdom with 632 million views, ahead that of BBC Worldwide's YouTube channel,[22] but by June 2012, The Yogscast's main channel became the first channel in the United Kingdom to reach one billion views,[23][24] and by June 2013, they had acquired five million subscribers.[5]

In 2012, Brindley and Lane moved their operations out of their bedrooms in Reading and set up their first office at New Bond House in Bond Street, Bristol, dubbing it "YogTowers".[2][6][25][26] Bristol was chosen for its infrastructure and transport links to London and within South West England for ease of access by the other members of their team.[6] 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,[27][28] and by July 2012 The Yogscast had more than a dozen members and staff in their office.[2] 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.[5]

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.[5] In 2014, Brindley was named by The Sunday Times as one of Britain's 500 most influential people.[29]

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

Citing professional difficulties, The Yogscast left Maker Studios in 2016[30] and set up their own multi-channel network.[31] The Yogscast also partnered with Microsoft to produce and manage the Xbox On channel on YouTube on behalf of Xbox UK.[32] In addition, numerous content creators such as Matthew Meredith ("Caff"), BasicallyBea, Radderss, GeestarGames, Overwatch Central, and Vidiots also joined as part of the larger Yogscast network.[5]

In May 2017, The Yogscast announced their first published game, Caveblazers, developed by indie games developer Deadpan Games, as part of their foray into the game publishing business.[33][34] Their second published game, Brunch Club was released in August 2019.[35]

In July 2017, The Yogscast left their old headquarters at Bond Street and shifted to larger offices elsewhere in Bristol at the King William House in Queen Street,[36] furnishing it with new amenities and upgraded equipment.[37][38][39] Their new dedicated recording suites were also made available for rental by content producers to record and stream content.[40] These new headquarters were named The Yogscast Studios,[41] abbreviated as "YogStudios".[39] Old studio equipment that was previously used by The Yogscast in the old offices was also given to the National Science and Media Museum to be used as part of a new museum development.[25]

In November 2017,[42] The Yogscast spun off Fourth Floor Creative,[43] a creative agency specialising in influencer marketing within the video game industry headed by The Yogscast's chief revenue officer Rich Keith.[44] They were formed as a separate entity with the stated intention of drawing upon their experience gathered from being in The Yogscast to work with companies and influencers outside of The Yogscast.[44] They began with a team of two, but within their first year they had grown to encompass eighteen staff and conduct 140 marketing campaigns, most of them for non-Yogscast influencers.[44]

In July 2019, The Yogscast cut ties with Meredith amongst allegations of sexual harassment from eight women including staff members and a request was sent to Twitch for Meredith to be dissociated with the group.[45] In the same month, CEO Mark Turpin resigned following allegations of inappropriate misconduct towards members of the community.[46] Co-Founder Lewis Brindley made a followup statement on the Yogscast official subreddit stating that fellow veteran member Paul "Sjin" Sykes had been asked to step down from the main channel in order to investigate possibly similar allegations made in 2016.[47][48] On 14 August 2019, Brindley confirmed the departure of Sykes via an official statement made on the official subreddit by both Paul Sykes and Lewis Brindley. The departure was the result of the recent investigation against Sjin’s historical behaviour with the Yogscast community.[49][50]

During the weekend of the third and fourth of August 2019, the Yogscast hosted their own convention, named YogCon. The event was hosted in the venue 'Motion' in Bristol, and 800 tickets were made available for purchase.[51] the event featured three stages, two of which were live-streamed on Twitch (the main stage was streamed to the main Yogscast twitch channel, and a new channel was created for the outdoor stage, simply named 'YogCon'). These stages featured events such as a live book reading, A live version of the Triforce! podcast, a live music session and a pub quiz which both attendees of YogCon and people following the livestream could take part in.[52] Other activities attendees could take part in include signing sessions with members of the Yogscast, boardgames and playing video games, including upcoming games that the Yogscast publishes. The event was well received among fans of the Yogscast, although Brindley has mentioned during a livestream that the convention was not profitable due to some sponsors dropping out, presumably due to the controversies surrounding the allegations of some of the members around the same period.[53]

As of 3 September 2019, the main Yogscast YouTube channel has 7,235,999 subscribers, 4,070,280,136 video views, and featured 33 other YouTube channels,[54] while the Yogscast Twitch channel has 839,324 followers and a total of 112,913,425 video views.[55]

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.[4][56]

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.[13] 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. The last instalment, 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, often with the use of modpacks like Tekkit, such as Jaffa Factory, YogLabs, MoonQuest and Hole Diggers which have also attracted a large audience.

Another of Brindley and Lane's Minecraft series also involved them playing and bumbling through different player-made adventure maps,[3] showcasing different maps made by the player community.[57]

In June 2011, The Yogscast curated and released a collection of Minecraft mods which they named the "Yogbox".[58]

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,[59] a mockumentary-style interview with actor Warwick Davis,[60] 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]

YoGPoD[edit]

YoGPoD
Presentation
Hosted byLewis Brindley
Simon Lane
GenreGaming, Comedy
LanguageEnglish
Length15 – 120 minutes
Publication
Original release5 February 2009; 10 years ago (2009-02-05) – present
ProviderYogscast Ltd.

The YoGPoD is the group's first podcast, 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.[61] 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,[62] following the release of "YoGPoD 42: Strawnana".

Triforce![edit]

Triforce!
Presentation
Hosted byLewis Brindley
Sips (Chris Lovasz)
Pyrion Flax (Edward Forsyth)
GenreGaming, Chat
LanguageEnglish
Length30 – 120 minutes
Publication
Original release23 March 2016; 3 years ago (2016-03-23) – present
ProviderYogscast 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 fiction "Bodega" (Episode 19 to Episode 43) and in the early episodes, 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 Jingle Jam is 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.

The Yogscast Poker Nights is a series of poker games broadcast live on Twitch. In June 2018, The Yogscast signed a six-episode sponsorship deal with KamaGames to promote the latter's Pokerist app on the live stream.[63]

Charity initiatives[edit]

The Yogscast at JustGiving Awards 2012, accepting the award for Most Popular Fundraiser.

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.[64][65][66]

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."[67] 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.[68] The live streams were broadcast out of the basement of the house which Brindley, Lane, and Rutherford shared at that time.[12] A total of £66,040.30 was raised, exceeding the target goal of £60,000.[67] For this achievement, The Yogscast was named JustGiving's Most Popular Fundraiser of 2012.[69][70]

For the 2012 holiday season, the Yogscast team conducted another charity drive for Oxfam called Honeydew's Honey Drive, with a target of raising £60,000.[71][72] Improvements over the previous year included upgrading to a dedicated streaming studio in their new offices in Bristol, as well as the participation of other YouTube content producers such as Hat Films, TotalBiscuit, and Athene.[65] The charity drive was organised in aid of Oxfam's 'Plan Bee' to provide training and equipment for beekeeping in Ethiopia and '365 Emergency Fund' for the provision of urgent aid in emergencies.[71] 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.[72] As incentive to donate and at Lane's goading, Brindley agreed to cross-dress in a female bee costume should the charity drive reach their target goal.[65] The goal was reached, and as promised, Brindley dressed up in the costume for Christmas Day.[73] Honeydew's Honey Drive was successful in raising £240,568.25, more than triple that of the previous year.[74] The group were again nominated for JustGiving's Most Popular Fundraiser of 2013, and received a Special Recognition Award at the JustGiving Awards ceremony.[75]

In 2013, The Yogscast hosted the Dwarven Dairy Drive.[76] Starting with this charity drive, donations were made through Humble Bundle instead of JustGiving, allowing donators to receive an assortment of games and in-game content as a token of appreciation.[76][77] Donations were also distributed to benefit multiple charities rather than just one — in addition to Oxfam, the charity drive also supported GamesAid, Little People UK, Special Effect, and War Child.[76][77] 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.[78]

In 2014, The Yogscast named their live stream charity drive the Yogscast Jingle Jam,[79] which has remained the theme for every year's charity drive since then. The Yogscast Jingle Jam 2015 invited special guests to the live streams including fellow YouTube celebrities Adam Montoya ("SeaNanners"), Jordan Maron ("CaptainSparklez") and Toby Turner ("Tobuscus").[80][81]

Subsequent years saw the charity drive break records in quick succession. The Yogscast Jingle Jam 2016 surpassed the previous year's total within the first week of the charity drive,[82] and raised a total of $2,577,801.17, more than double their previous record made in 2013.[83][84] As with previous years, it featured a list of supported charities, but also enabled a new option for donators to pick another beneficiary from a list of thousands of charities.[83]

The 2017 instalment was even more successful, raising $500,000 in the first hour,[85] $1 million in the first day,[86] and breaking the 2016 record within the first week.[64][87][88] It drew a peak of 60,400 concurrent viewers in the first week of December,[89] and by the end of the month they had broadcast more than 700 hours of live streaming and were watched by 2.5 million people,[90] amounting to 6.8 million viewer-hours or 779 viewer-years watched,[91] making the Yogscast the most-watched channel on Twitch that month by time watched.[92] The charity drive raised a grand total of $5,245,772, again more than twice that of the previous year.[93] For their work with Whale and Dolphin Conservation, The Yogscast was awarded the Celebrity Charity Champion for the Third Sector Awards in 2018.[94]

In 2018, The Yogscast launched the Yogscast Jingle Jam 2018,[95][96] adding Save the Children and Call of Duty Endowment to the list of featured charities.[97][98] Again, The Yogscast became the most watched channel on Twitch by hours watched, with 2.62 million viewer-hours watched from 30 November to 6 December.[92] In addition, the first two days produced the best-performing broadcasts of the year for the channel.[99] The Yogscast raised $1 million within the first two days and $1.5 million within the first three.[100] Some of the live streams included a live baking stream on 5 December in collaboration with The Great British Bake Off contestant Briony Williams, during which they also hit a milestone of raising $2 million,[101] as well as a "Sex and Science" discussion panel on 22 December with YouTubers Hannah Witton and Simon Clark.[102] By the end of the charity drive, the Jingle Jam 2018 had raised $3.3 million for charity.[103]

In all, as of January 2019, a cumulative total of $14.9 million 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[67]
($102,987.87)[a]
2012 Honeydew's Honey Drive
  • Oxfam's 'Plan Bee'
  • Oxfam's '365 Emergency Fund'
13,390 £240,568.25[74]
($387,934.59)[b]
2013 Dwarven Dairy Drive
  • GamesAid
  • Little People UK
  • Oxfam
  • Special Effect
  • War Child
47,885 $1,159,746.33[78]
2014 Yogscast Jingle Jam
40,277 $1,104,882.09[104]
2015 Yogscast Jingle Jam 2015
40,201 $1,052,881.48[105]
2016 Yogscast Jingle Jam 2016
86,578 $2,577,801.17[84]
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[93]
2018 Yogscast Jingle Jam 2018
  • Cancer Research UK
  • Call of Duty Endowment
  • International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association
  • Mental Health Foundation
  • Special Effect
  • Save the Children
  • Wallace & Gromit's Grand Appeal
  • Whale and Dolphin Conservation
88,139[106] $3,307,925.00[c]
2019 The Jingle Jam 2019
Ongoing Ongoing
Cumulative total of funds raised $14,939,930.53[107]
  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.
  3. ^ Calculated from a known total of $14,939,930.53 prior to the 2019 live streams[107] minus the cumulative total of the previous live streams prior to 2018. It is also publicly revealed that the approximate figure is $3.3 million.[103]

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

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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]