My name is Michael Craddock. However in the online world people know me as "FearCrads" or "Crads" for short. In the four years since I've been creating gaming videos for a living I've managed to accumulate over 300,000 subscribers on my YouTube channel and amassed over 50 million video views.
I initially became interested in gaming as a young kid, playing Crash Bandicoot, Gran Turismo and such games on the original PlayStation console. When I was eleven I progressed to Runescape, an MMO (massive multiplayer online) game which got me hooked. I devoted over 100 days of playtime into it before I decided to stop as I did not want gaming to interfere with my exams. Apart from the old Medal of Honour titles, Call of Duty was the first FPS (first person shooter) that I indulged in. I looked up guides on how to run channels on YouTube and thought that's something I could do. I was worried my dad would be judgemental, so I bought a capture card in secret and produced YouTube videos whilst attending college and working. When I was eventually approached to run advertisements on my channel I had to tell my parents, because you need their consent if you are under 18. After a long debate they agreed to sign my contract and I've been making revenue from my videos ever since.
My standard day as a YouTuber varies quite a lot. During the latter part of the year there are a large amount of game releases and this takes a huge chunk of time. Over November and December I expect to work from around 8am to 2am every day producing videos, however in the quieter months maybe only two to five hours per day. An average day starts by replying to an inbox full of emails that I've received the previous day. These can often be from potential sponsors, or companies asking me to work with them on various activities such as promotional film days. After I've cleared my emails I usually play video games for three to four hours; sometimes recording live, then editing the videos and doing post-commentary for two to four hours depending on the type of editing required for the video. Later I might livestream on Twitch (more on that later) for the remainder of the night. Before going to sleep I finish editing and batch rendering the videos I created during the day, leaving them to render overnight. Finally I'll schedule the upload of next days' videos.
Call of Duty has been a game I've dedicated a lot of time to over the past few years, it originally started in 2007 when I purchased Call of Duty 4. I've played every title since then. On Call of Duty alone I've invested over 150 days' worth of playtime. Imagine spending that much time on a game! Thanks to the hours I've put in learning the intricacies involved in the game, I've managed to get quite skilled and this is what gave me such a huge boost on YouTube. I'm able to upload a higher standard of gaming videos than the average gamer and can achieve things in games that others can't. People want to witness this for themselves. To this day I still get a buzz when I pull off something amazing, because of that I'm still hyped beyond measure for the new Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, even after seven years of playing. It's a franchise and a game that I can play every day and still enjoy myself.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is from a new lead developer, Sledgehammer Games. I'm really optimistic about the game as I strongly believe they have the community's best interests at heart and are really trying hard to listen to what we want. They are supporting eSports, engaging on Reddit, Twitter and every other social media website and from my point of view that is fantastic. Advanced Warfare is bringing gamers something brand new and fresh that we haven't ever seen before in a Call of Duty game. For example the new exo-skeleton, a mechanised wearable suit that allows the gamer's character to pull off movements that are brand new to the series, I feel that's a good move. Call of Duty has a well-known engine and mechanic, so it's time for something fresh. These innovative movements, as well as a new game system and engine are something I'm hugely looking forward to. What's more is the gameplay in Advanced Warfare really demonstrates the difference between each player's ability, which I hope will show off a player's true skill more than any other game.
I now spend a great deal of time livestreaming on Twitch, which is exactly what it says on the tin - you play games live and people watch online. It's as simple as that. To some people's bemusement, this is hugely popular within the online world, especially amongst gaming communities. For someone like myself who mainly does YouTube, it gives you a great chance and opportunity to interact with your viewers. I can chat with fans on a more personal level and it gives them a chance to play with me and talk over voice-chat, as opposed to YouTube where they're just on the receiving end of a video. Within gaming it's huge, you can witness professional eSports players play their chosen game live, watch them fail and other times achieve something great, all in real-time. On the other hand, some people just enjoy watching livestreams to chat to other viewers!
In addition to my YouTube career and livestreaming work, this year I've got involved in the eSports scene. This is a rapidly growing sector and becoming absolutely huge across the globe. Essentially it is playing video games professionally. There's an ongoing debate about whether playing a video game should be considered a professional sport. In my opinion, given the amount of practice, skill and effort that players apply to their chosen game, it is definitely a sport. As a huge Call of Duty player I decided to give the professional scene a shot with some friends. We attended a few tournaments and realised that actually we weren't all that bad, so we decided to pursue it further. Unfortunately we had to drop one of our friends as he had other commitments, however we picked up an established professional player who taught us the ways and over the past year we have managed to transition into a fairly good team. We competed at a recent eSports tournament called i52 and achieved fourth place, just inside the prize money. We're now hoping to continue to enter tournaments for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare eSports, and you never know... we may be that top team in the future.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is out now.