Ten years ago this week, Lewis Brindley and Simon Lane created a YouTube channel called BlueXephos. You might know it now as Yogscast Lewis & Simon.
Ten years ago, video creators weren't really a thing. YouTuber wasn't a profession, it was a hobby.
The pair belonged to a Warcraft guild known as 'Ye Olde Goon Squade'. Little did they know that the title would become one of the biggest names in online content creation.
Ten years, seven billion views and countless collaborators later, we’re taking a look back through some of The Yogscast’s crowning moments.
The road to a million
Yogs veteran Hannah Rutherford has been with the crew since the start.
“I joined Yogs in the World of Warcraft raiding days when a lot of us hung around on Ventrilo," Rutherford told InfluencerUpdate.biz
"I started out doing guest appearances on bits like the podcast and some of the boss strategy videos (I'm the very useless Moonkin). Then I went to editing videos for them a little later on alongside doing my own content.
“There was no company back then! It was just Lewis and Simon with assorted friends who liked to bumble around in video games and Sips had a toaster for a mic. Not much has changed - it's just now a little more refined and with even more assorted friends.”
The channel began to build an amount of traction online, with gaming letsplays and content. Fast forward to December 2010, when Brindley and Lane began their first Minecraft letsplay.
Minecraft wasn’t a beast unto itself back then. It was still in alpha 1.2 and you could only buy it directly from Mojang’s store for about a fiver.
The Yogscast’s Minecraft survival series - which later became Shadow of Israphel - ran from December 2010 to July 2011, and boy did that produce some results.
In fact, we had Yogscast business heads Mark Turpin and Rich Keith with us at Pocket Gamer Connects: London earlier this year to talk about that success in depth.
In October 2011, the main Yogscast channel hit one million subscribers, making them the biggest channel in the UK at that time. PewDiePie was nowhere to be seen!
Christmas 2011 also saw the start of Jingle Jam, The Yogscast’s annual charity fundraising event. The first Jingle Jam - known as the Christmas Livestreams back then - raised an impressive $99k. In 2017, the Jingle Jam event raised a record breaking $5.2 million.
“The Jingle Jam when Lewis and Simon started getting Christmas gifts from the community and asked them to donate to charity instead. Six years and over $6m later and it's become the cornerstone of the year for the creators and the community.” Yogscast CEO Mark Turpin told us back in December.
The dawn of a new year saw The Yogscast transcend from just one channel, to a whole collective of channels. Friends of Brindley and Lane had started to create and nurture their own channels.
Hannah ‘Lomadia’ Rutherford’s channel started out as a secondary Yogscast channel away from their main WoW and Minecraft content. That channel became Rutherford’s own to thrive as a creator in her own way.
Duncan ‘Lalna’ Jones, Paul ‘Sjin’ Sykes and Chris ‘Sips’ Lovasz also started creating their own content and The Yogscast became an entity.
In 2012, The Yogscast hosted a Minecraft survival games event which brought new and existing Yogs together on the main channel for the first time.
The event saw 18 members of The Yogscast split into nine teams go head to head in a series of Hunger Games-esque survival games.
The event was won by Martyn ‘InTheLittleWood’ Littlewood and his team mate, ex-Yogs alumni Toby ‘SoTotallyToby’ Cottrell.
King of the saplings
Littlewood was loosely affiliated with The Yogscast at this stage. He’d been running a YouTube channel for several years and was widely known for his parody videos, one of which was hosted on the main Yogscast channel.
In September 2012, Littlewood was formerly asked to join The Yogscast. He was the first member that wasn’t already part of the original gang to formally join.
“The company was just getting settled in to its new digs at the first Yogtowers [office] and luckily for me they had one room left over and nobody to fill it hence the offer they put my way to come in to the fold which I accepted!” Littlewood told InfluencerUpdate.biz.
“I'm really proud to be part of Yogs because there aren't many setups like us, especially not in the UK. Having a unified brand that has a focus on high quality but more importantly fun content is just a really good fit for me.
“We go the extra mile at conventions too with having our own booth as well as providing fun evening after hours shows which a lot of others have started doing now but I feel like we hit the ground running with those first.
“Then of course I can't not mention the insane charity effort we run each year, it just gets bigger and better every time and the sums raised for our collection of charities does too, that's a real testament to the audience and positive vibes we put out there.”
The next few years saw The Yogscast catapult to new heights. The content was great, the channels were growing and thriving, and lots more creators were able to join the brand. Comedy trio Hat Films partnered with the Yogscast - but didn’t adopt the Yogscast name.
In June 2013 Yogscast Lewis & Simon hit five million subscribers, a considerable milestone. The gang also began to showcase their presence at more events around the UK, doing signings and liveshows at gatherings such as London Comic Con and the Insomnia gaming festival.
The years saw friends and affiliates of The Yogscast come and go, but there wasn’t many new official members for a while.
Then in 2016, Matthew ‘Caffcast’ Meredith joined.
“I joined at the start of May 2016, when we were still in the old office,” Meredith told InfluencerUpdate.biz.
“I was the first “new” Yog, so back then it was a bit of a surprise that there was a new Yogscast member!”
Meredith had an existing channel, The Caffcast, but was only rocking a mere 10,000 subscribers when he joined the fold. His hard work and time with The Yogscast has seen him propel to over 100k.
“My favourite thing about being part of The Yogscast is having a place to go and work who just get it. They understand what I’m trying to do and want to help me succeed in any way that I need.” Meredith added.
“Plus I love having the freedom to be able to rely on people to organise events, or merchandise, or even accounting!”
The Yogscast became a leader in the creator space which put them in a good position to take promising rising creators under their wing, and they did.
Since 2016, the company has partnered with a host of rising YouTubers and streamers, including BasicallyBea, Radderss, GeestarGames, Overwatch Central and their most recent addition - Vidiots.
The Yogscast has mellowed since its meteoric rise but is still growing consistently year on year. It continues to be one of the most recognised voices in content creation, and a beacon for those who want to follow that same path.