I first started making videos and posting them on YouTube just for the fun of it and to share my video game highlights with my friends at school, this was back in 2009. YouTube was the easiest place to share the clips online and I didn't think much of it at the time...now creating YouTube videos is my full time job!
After finishing Sixth Form College in 2012 I was planning on going on to study Maths and Computer Science at University. However just before I finished college I decided to take a risk and take a gap year to focus on my YouTube channel. During my college years I was juggling creating YouTube content whilst balancing my studies, therefore taking a gap year gave me the time and flexibility I needed to concentrate on making YouTube videos. Since I started creating videos for my channel full time, I have grown my YouTube following from 300,000 to three million subscribers.... I'm pretty pleased I decided to take a gap year after all!
I am very lucky to have done a lot of travelling over the past 12 months, including being able to attend Electronic Entertainment Expo 2013 (E3) which is an annual trade show for the computer and video games industry. It was here that I was able to take a look at both the PS4 and the Xbox One before launch.
Before I took my gap year, I had never flown abroad by myself but since then I have been lucky enough to travel to the US, Canada, Spain and more. Leading up to the trips I have to prepare videos that will cover each day I am away from home. On the actual trips most of my time is spent recording video content but it is always a lot of fun and I often get to meet up with other YouTubers.
It's a privilege to be able make a career out of creating YouTube content which gives me the freedom to create my own work schedule- I don't have to answer to anyone else; I can just post videos when I see fit and create content that I enjoy!
None of this comes without hard work though because YouTube is an extremely competitive space and in order to stay in the game I make sure I upload at least one video every single day. Anyone across the world can post video content to YouTube which means I am technically competing against anyone else in the world that's posting Call of Duty videos. I devote as much time as possible to creating videos, so that my content can stand out. I have a worldwide fan base, so when it's 3am in the UK (where I live) it's anywhere between 10pm and 7pm in the US (where the majority of my fans live). I often stay up late to make sure I am interacting with fans across the world via social media sites like Twitter and posting content to suit all time zones.
My focus is primarily on the Call of Duty franchise. It's my job to make sure my fans always have the latest information, such as changes to the game and bring them entertaining gameplays and consistent video uploads. For example, I'll communicate that Call of Duty: Ghosts moves away from the Modern Warfare series and starts a new story to my subscribers. I then played through the whole of the campaign and its different modes, including 'Extinction' and multiplayer on my YouTube channel and really enjoyed it - It feels like an interactive movie!
Taking a looking at the bigger picture outside my work, YouTube has had a big effect on the videogame world. The rise of Minecraft, a Sandbox indie game, is one great example of the impact YouTube can have on a game. Minecraft was played by several YouTubers when the game was in Beta and very few people knew about it. The YouTube videos acted as a catalyst for Minecraft's success, with more and more YouTubers playing the game and more viewers buying Minecraft to experience the game for themselves. Minecraft is now a global success, played by millions of people and there are many YouTubers who base their channels solely around Minecraft videos.
When asked what I do, I try to explain it in its simplest form; I record videos of myself playing games and upload it to YouTube for people around the globe to watch. I often get asked why someone would want to watch another person play a video game, when they can play it themselves. It's a hard question to answer but I believe it comes down to the "YOU" in "YouTube" - viewers build a connection with the YouTuber creating the video content and start to invest in them, and come back to watch more videos to see THEM play video games and have fun as they do it.
Follow Alastair Aiken on Twitter: www.twitter.com/OMGitsAliA