Picture This! – A Look at YouTube’s Role and Potential in the Community

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.

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.

For Tournament Organizers and Judges

While this is a much smaller issue, I think it should at least be mentioned.

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.

3. Promotion

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.

RobbieEctor

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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hbBZdNpO2U&feature=plcp

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.

TheCatsMeowth/Capeter3ncsu

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.

FriedChickenNRice

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.

PokémanDanLvl45

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.

HGSSPrime

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.

FizzyStardust

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.

mtshank

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.

Insector07

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 and worth checking out.

Pokéfriends56

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.

RattataJoey

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.

TCGZapdos

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.

TheJWittz

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.

TopCutPokemon

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.

Closing Thoughts

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!

Reader Interactions

24 replies

  1. Josh Wittenkeller

    The big reason that collecting and videogame channels perform significantly better than the card game is because they have a MUCH larger audience. Millions of kids and players own the videogame, while most people that own Pokemon cards don’t even play the game.

    Adding videos on the internet is a good way to change that, but another helpful thing I’ve found is to supplement your videos with other content that appeals to the general fan of Pokemon (I do this through Fact of the Day, PokemanDan does Let’s Plays and occasional VGC content, etc.) Even though I haven’t been doing TCG videos for a while, producing other kinds of content has brought me hundreds of messages of players who decided to try the game once they found my other stuff.

    Hope that helps, and good luck with your future channels!

      • Josh Wittenkeller  → airhawk06

        Same response I gave you on YouTube!

        “Absolutely! It really sucked missing Nationals this year, but bigger priorities have to come first. I’m hoping to play a lot more after I graduate this winter.”

        • airhawk06  → Josh

          Sorry about that redundant question then. I guess I haven’t seen that video yet. :)

    • Adam Bigott  → Josh

      That’s a really good point that I didn’t really think to touch on. Hope life gets a little less hectic for you and we see some more Prof-It in the future.

  2. bowser

    great article, the Top Cut always does great stuff…. JWittz is also the bomb (you ripping on the top 20 worst pokemon of all-time, that still makes us crack up), I’ve also heard of pokefriends56 recently too. All you guys promoting pokemon with class is awesome for players and making it relateable for parents alike. Talk about shout outs, check out Legosaber77 on youtube (ooops, shameless promo for “the dark side”) (-:

  3. Frank Hamilton

    This is really well done, man. Definitely a great read.

  4. Daniel Middleton

    Thank you for the mention :]
    I believe Josh is right when it comes to the TCG on Youtube, it’s just a less popular thing as you need to learn the game to even get what is going on, especially where Match Videos are concerned. In the past year, Youtube content for the TCG has definitely improved so I’m looking forward to see what else pops up during the next season!

  5. Simon Narode

    Great article, Adam. I agree that YouTube is a great resource for players of all skill levels. Pokétubers like JWittz and TheTopCut got me into the competitive scene, and fellow PTCGO players such as mtshank and TheCatsMeowth helped make me a stronger player.
    Anyone interested in the competitive video game should especially check out YouTube. There are a lot of great players there.

  6. Garrett Williamson

    Thanks for the mention. I try to put out videos but quatlity on part isnt easy due to money issues. I dont have the money for a nice camera or webcam so im forced to stick with my phone, which really isnt bad. Lol Iv been on YouTube for the past 2 years and iv found it a great source for trading. But making vids outside of “Wants” and “trades” gets dicouraging when the only comments you get at times are “first”. At one point I even had someone offer my toys for a Mewtwo EX. I’ve watched the comminity expand a lot but for the most part, it hasnt been good. I get a lot of people just attack me about things on videos from over a year ago. Like when gengar primes were worth roughly $40 and I was selling mine, I still get comments like “Thats not worth $40. Trollandtoad has it for $8. You’re ripping people off!” On a year and a half year old videos. Its just kinda makes you not want to continue.

    • Garrett Williamson  → Garrett

      Also, I am so glad you didnt mention Primetimepokemon. Given that he is the highest subbed to poketuber, when it comes to him and the actually game, he’s just terrible…

      • Adam Bigott  → Garrett

        I’m sure he is a nice guy, but when he gives advice on the TCG, he is just wrong. It bothers me because misleading information like that is harmful to new players.

  7. Ryan Palmer

    I think once PTCGO is back online hopefully with some great new features such as the rumoured online tournaments, we may see interest in the game starting to increase. Whilst playtcg is a really useful program and great for testing it really doesn’t make for interesting videos, mainly because of the aesthetic side of things.

    I hope the amount of people making videos of TCG matches grows even more next season and I myself want to be more consistent in making that sort of video content, it’s a good way to promote your channel too as there still aren’t that many good channels on that side of things. I also think helping new players learn the game is vital and lots of Poketubers are doing their best to try and open up the game to as many people as possible.

  8. Jak Stewart-Armstead

    TCGZapdos is bloody hilarious. I recommend.

    One thing I DON’T like on YouTube channels is when you check back, see they posted stuff, and all it is is those FCBM videos. (Whole thing is pretty ridiculous anyway).

  9. collin

    Hey it’s Collin! I – along with my good friend Tyler – run Pokefriends56. I really want to say thanks for not only the shout out because that was awesome, but for you promoting Youtube. I think overall this game is pretty small compared to others, and a lot of players are starting to see how Prize Support is sort of dropping, but one thing to keep the overall growth into the game and competitive scene, we need more people involved with helping this out – either by Youtube, Sixprizes, or even just getting one of your friends into the game. I think it was a great trend that Jwittz started and I want to thank him for how much his videos helped me. Overall I think the game will grow over time, thanks to these great things that help out the Pokemon Community.

  10. Mark Hanson

    Coming from a YouTube partner with 30k subscribers, there is a reason that tcg videos don’t do well.

    The tcg’s natural medium isn’t in video. It’s in real life. This already diminishes it’s natural potential to gain followers. The second problem is that there’s no such thing as a “casual” subscriber for something like tcg.

    With the video game, you can get people who just feel nostalgic, and get pulled in by a random video with a magikarp beating a team of users or something.

    Then, the tcg market is smaller. More profitable for Nintendo, but there is a much larger subset of casual gamers in the VG that will watch YouTube vids, than casual players in the TCG.

    Lastly, To be successful you want a video with quick transitions from different angles, personality, and interesting hooks or at least a series-running theme.

    TCG vids tend to be rambling, monotonous shots of a game or explanation. That sort of environment is better suited to something like articles, where you as a producer have your work checked for quality, conciseness and redundancy.

    Just my 2 YouTube cents.

  11. Rattata Joey

    Hey PokéBro cheers for the Shout-Out I’ll be sure to return the favour hopefully we can help you grab a few more subs.

    As a subscriber to your channel I have to say that being acknowledge by some as up and coming as you is a real confidence boost.

    Once again thank you.

  12. Colin Moll

    This is a fantastic article on a topic that needs to be discussed more widely within the community. I applaud you for writing a not-so-standard article. I’ll be sure to check out all of these channels!

    +1

  13. Matthew S

    Great Article man. I’m subbed to most of these guys, but I’ll definitely be sure to go and sub everyone else. I feel really honored to be mentioned along with guys like Robbie and Dan. For what it’s worth, I think the work you put into your videos really shows. Keep up the great work!

  14. Cardleaders

    Good article!
    I completely agree with what you’re saying. It is really important to spread the game as much as possible and make people realize Pokemon TCG is not just a card game for little kids. I think videos are a great way to do it.
    When I watched TTCs videos for the first time I really enjoyed them and I started a project, http://www.cardleaders.de, with a friend of mine. We first only wrote in German but we already expanded and do most of our videos in english now. We also do shows and articles regularly.

    We would be honored if you check us out:

    http://www.cardleaders.de
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Card-Leaders-Pichu/127915237275137
    http://www.twitter.com/cardleaders
    https://www.youtube.com/user/cardleaders?feature=mhee

  15. Cardleaders

    Good article!
    I completely agree with what you’re saying. It is really important to spread the game as much as possible and make people realize Pokemon TCG is not just a card game for little kids. I think videos are a great way to do it.
    When I watched TTCs videos for the first time I really enjoyed them and I started a project, http://www.cardleaders.de, with a friend of mine. We first only wrote in German but we already expanded and do most of our videos in english now. We also do shows and articles regularly.

    We would be honored if you check us out:

    http://www.cardleaders.de
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Card-Leaders-Pichu/127915237275137
    http://www.twitter.com/cardleaders
    https://www.youtube.com/user/cardleaders?feature=mhee

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