Hello SixPrizes nation. It has been quite some time since my first and last article, so it is probably best that I reintroduce myself. My name is Adam Bigott, I’m 20 and I play in Arkansas and Illinois. I also go by AdamisClassy on HeyTrainer and I run the YouTube channel Pokébro921, where I post deck profiles and matches.
If you didn’t guess it already, I am going to be focusing on YouTube and its role in the community.
YouTube and the Pokémon TCG
If you search Pokémon on YouTube, you will find a plethora of videos pertaining to the TV show, video game, and even a good deal of videos pertaining to the TCG. But look a little bit closer and you will find several concerning trends.
The first trend is that videos on the video games outnumber videos on the trading card game. This by itself is not a bad or surprising thing. The video game franchise has been enormously successful throughout its longevity. It is also a lot easier to record material for the video game using things like Acekards and screen recoding software.
What is really concerning is the extent to which video game outnumbers the TCG on YouTube: channels, views, subscribers, and every other category. Compare J-Wittz’s 16,000 subscribers to the over 100,000 subscribers many video game channels have. It raises the question: if there is so general much interest in Pokémon on YouTube, why is card game struggling to bring in larger numbers of subscribers?
If you look deeper, there is a similar scenario among TCG channels. Channels focused on collecting cards seem to be doing significantly better than channels focused on actually playing the card game. Again, why are these channels significantly smaller?
I think that the simplest answer is that channels covering the TCG metagame are still in their infancy. The card game has been a phenomenon for quite some time, but J-Wittz only posted his first videos about two and a half years ago, The Top Cut had their big break through at last year’s nationals, and other TCG YouTube heavyweights like PokémanDanLv45 and ZapdosTCG have also been running their channels for just about a year or two as well.
How to Expand the Community on YouTube
So just how do we make the game bigger on YouTube? Well as struggling poketuber myself, I feel like I’ve come up with a few ideas that could help the TCG really conquer this final frontier. They don’t involve any lofty ideas of getting help from the Pokémon Company, or POP, or anything like that. These are practical ideas that could make the game more accessible and enjoyable for everyone.
1. Make a YouTube Account
It sounds simple, but not everyone does it. As present, you only have to remember a couple of usernames to see coverage from the most popular Pokémon channels. If you see a new channel you like, you might forget about it and never find it again, a problem easily avoiding by making an account and subscribing to channels.
While one person doing this isn’t too big of a deal, 100 or even 1000 people doing the exact same thing could make or break a channel. Making an account also lets you like and comment on videos, both of which create buzz about a channel.
2. Consider Posting Content
I’ll be honest, it isn’t easy starting a channel; learning how to edit videos can be frustrating. I’ve been working at it for 6 months and I still feel like a beginner. That being said, I feel like my channel has been one of the more rewarding projects I’ve ever worked on.
I think that there is also this misconception that only the best players should/are allowed to make channels. J-Wittz was fairly new to the game when he first made his channel. I feel like running a channel and thinking critically about the game in order to provide quality content really pushes and improves you as a player. I’m sure Josh would agree that making Prof-it was a contributing factor to his performance at Worlds.
It has been my experience that most tournament organizers and judges are ok with recording matches, especially at smaller tournaments. However, I have run in to one or two that have been opposed to the idea or made it difficult.
I think that so long as it does not slow down the tournament, T.O.s should be as accommodating (i.e. separate table or end of a table for recording matches) as possible for players who wish to record games. Most players seem to enjoy the idea of having their games recorded and when it boils down to it, isn’t it a T.O.’s job to make things as enjoyable as possible?
I know that the Top Cut guys ran into a snag with recording during Nationals, but I wasn’t at the event and I’m sure of all the details, so I won’t comment on the issue.
For Channel Directors
I’m by no means an expert on running a Youtube Channel. But I have run into a good number of problems. I’ve also learned ways to address a lot of those issues. If this resource helps one person half as much as it would have helped me when I first started, then it’s well worth writing.
1. Quality Issues
marktoon.co.ukI realize that making videos look nice is not cheap. Recording equipment, screen recording software, and video editing software are not cheap. It’s sad that money is such an issue here, but decent equipment is getting cheaper.
It’s not just about having your videos look nice. Try not to use crutch words like “um” or “like” (I am guilty of this). These tend to make you look like you aren’t as confident about what you are saying as you are or could even make you sound like you don’t know as much as you do.
Lastly, video length is a bigger issue than most people think. I shoot to never make a video too long. Especially match videos. Speeding up games makes thing more enjoyable to watch and a lot easier to narrate. There isn’t a lot to say when your opponent send 2 minutes searching through their discard to see how many junk arms, catchers and pluspowers there are there.
I currently speed my playtcg.me games up to x2 – x2.5 speed and will cut out any period longer than 5 seconds where no cards on the field are moved. Here is a decent example of a nicely paced video of a match on playtcg.me.
2. Finding a Niche
I think that one problem a lot of channels run into, Pokémon related or not, is that there is no unique quality to their channel. I suppose I am guilty of this as well, as there are several Youtubers who narrate playtcg.me games.
Robbie Ector’s channel is a perfect example of breaking the formula. I can’t think of another channel where someone rants about the metagame while driving around in his car. I realize that Robbie’s setup is a bit ridiculous, but it really works for him and I cannot get enough of his videos.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to do the “once a week show.” It’s a good format, and when done right, these channels are bound to be the most successful. It’s simply helps push people to hit the subscribe button if you are doing something they haven’t found anywhere else yet.
Mark A. HicksThis is a hard one. How do you get people to start watching your videos? The first place I turned was the forums. It especially helps if you are a regular/quality poster on a forum. I know that a lot of my support has come through HeyTrainer.
Promotion on a lot of the forums is limited to putting a link to your channel in your signature. HeyTrainer is great because you can embed your YouTube videos in threads. Posting games that really exemplified the better points of a matchup or the strength/weakness of tech or deck can do wonders for your channel.
For better or for worse, PokéBeach and PokéGym are very heavily moderated. I posted on both PokéBeach and PokéGym thread asking about Pokémon YouTube channels with low subscriber counts that deserved more recognition. PokéGym gave me a warning that my post belong in an already existing thread.
When I clicked on the link, I found a thread simply titled “YouTube videos” mostly filled with cats and other entertaining videos. The thread hadn’t seen a new post in over 8 months.
It is frustrating that sites and channels dedicated to promoting the same game don’t/won’t help each other out. I understand there are reasons for heavy moderation on some of the forums and I don’t mean for this to be a critical article. Hopefully we can find a happy medium that benefits everyone.
It would also be a little unfair not to mention this site. SixPrizes has done a really nice job of being an outlet for YouTube videos, but I could see everyone posting lone videos being posted as articles getting a little annoying. Including relevant videos in articles is an awesome idea though.
[Editor’s note: We have forums that do automatic embeds and a Pokémon TCG YouTube videos thread, though not many people have taken advantage of it. We’ll also send a Facebook update and tweet for people if they ask and their quality is good. Surprisingly, not many people have asked us for help in the past besides J-Wittz, PokémanDan, and hunkyross.]
4. Shout Outs
In a lot of ways, becoming popular on YouTube is all about networking. Getting other YouTubers to recommend your channel can open you up to a whole new audience. However, if you don’t personally know any of the more popular YouTubers, it can be awkward asking for shout outs, especially if you don’t have too many videos up yet.
I think that this is something the YouTube community beginning to realize. Pooka from The Top Cut did a shout out video and Isaiah from FriedChickenNRice backed that video. Chains of shout outs like this are really amazing for new channels.
There is some degree of luck for hitting it big. I think it is the responsibility of anyone who does see success to try to use some of that success to help out the little guys.
A Potential Project
youtube.comOne problem I’ve noticed is that a lot of channels post a few videos and fizzle out. One really cool alternative would be to run a shared YouTube channel. The videogame community runs of called PokéMoshPit.
I think that this channel could provide a nice play for irregular users to post their content to a large audience as well as give up and coming channels a place to plug their actual content, rather than just be recommended by other channels. Additionally, the variety of uploads could make for a channel that always feels fresh, rather than a channel getting repetitive and stale.
I’m not exactly sure if I’d restrict the channel to just being battle videos or if I’m the person to run the channel. Message me on YouTube or HeyTrainer or even Facebook me if you are interested in collaborating on this project. I think it would need the backing of some of the bigger players, but we will see where that goes.
Some Shout Outs of My Own
What kind of article would this be if I didn’t actually try to do live up to the ideals I’ve been preaching about? Some of these channels are already pretty well known, but they all deserve recognition.
Robbie is one of the main reasons I decided to write this article. His videos are well unlike anything else. If I tried to describe them, I’d just fall short. Here is his post Nationals discussion. Right now Robbie is at 147 subscribers. Let’s make it a goal to get him over 250.
Sometimes Robbie’s humor is a bit more “adult”. I think it’s inoffensive, but I am not sure what others deem as offensive or inoffensive.
Most creative channel name around? Yes. She does a lot of collecting and has been opening some really cool boxes daily as part of a 2575 pack opening. She also plays competitively and does deck profiles, deck help videos, and an occasional battle video. TheCatsMeowth is her new channel, so make sure you check it out.
youtube.comIsaiah and Tyler do some really awesome stuff. Tournament matches, deck profiles, tournament reports. Both are some of the best players in the US and nabbed Worlds invites. I’m always excited to see them post an update.
Dan Middleton is a SixPrizes contributor and puts on a really great weekly show called PokéClass. His in-depth analysis of upcoming decks on the skeletons he includes for them are usually spot on. Make sure you check him out.
He does matches, deck profiles and tournament reports. He also does a lot of trading on his channel. His content is really great, but his uploading is a bit irregular at times. In any case, a great channel and one to subscribe to for sure.
Fizzy is pretty popular for his Pokémon video game content, but he has started posting PTCGO/PlayTCG.me matches. He does a really nice job narrating and is one of my favorites.
He does a lot of Pokémon let’s plays, but also plays the TCG. He plays some cool rogue decks and does a great job of showing off a bunch of different deck. His narrations are very poished and easy to enjoy.
youtube.comDoes live matches and deck profiles to go along with them. I think his uploads have become a bit infrequent, but he is fairly well known and his videos are always fun and worth checking out.
Another up and coming channel. They have gotten a lot of tournament coverage from Battle Roads. Their narrations are really fun and their video quality is pretty solid. So go help out this new and rising channel.
They run a series called Future Sight that examines the impact of cards coming into the format. I usually only focus on the format for the next series of tournaments, but I know there are a lot of people that like looking ahead and they do a nice job.
Another weekly show about upcoming decks and metagame trends. He is another European player and gives tournament coverage for some really cool events. His enthusiasm for the game is absolutely fantastic and really adds another level to his videos.
Easily one of the best-known channels in the community. He is currently on hiatus, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he returns to the game next season.
thetopcut.netWhen it comes to tournament coverage, the Top Cut is, well, on top. They narrate live streams of tournaments. I don’t think anyone else can make that claim. They know the game as well as anyone and it shows. Their weekly show is informative and they tell great stories. They have done so much for this game already and I can’t wait to see what they do in the future.
US Nationals was a record-breaking tournament. I’m so glad to see this game is growing as fast as it is. As the game grows, the demand for more and more content also grows. YouTube represent an immense untapped potential for resources and content. I hope that this article inspires more players to expand and innovate the YouTube community in the future.
Thanks for reading and a special thanks to all the YouTubers who have helped me get my channel to where it is today. Make sure you like, comment and subscribe! Happy YouTubing!