Now this is what you call a modern-day fairy tale. The internet can do wonderful things for you, if you can wield the magic of making content go viral. Like university graduate Joseph Garrett, who has earned a small fortune by simply filming himself playing video games and uploading the clips on YouTube. His clips have become an internet sensation and Joseph is well on his way to becoming a millionaire.
Joseph’s YouTube channel ‘Stampylonghead’ has received more hits than One Direction and Justin Bieber. It is one of the top 10 most viewed channels in the world, raking in a whopping 10,000 subscribers and 170 million views a month. “I’m essentially just playing and commentating while I play,” he said. “It ended up snowballing and that’s how I got to where I am now.” Joseph has a degree in TV and video production, and used to work as a barman. He quit his job last year to play games like Minecraft and share tips with fellow players, full time. “I decided to leave when I was earning the same amount as I was there.”
Joseph currently lives with his parents near Portsmouth, Hampshire, in the UK. “My parents were happy to let me stay rent free so I could develop this into a full-time living,” he said. “My family and friends think it’s great,” said Joseph. “They don’t fully understand what I do but my parents and sister are over the moon for me.” I must say, his parents sound incredibly supportive. At 23 if I’d have told my parents I was quitting my job to play games all day, they certainly would not have taken it very well. Of course, I don’t think I could have made any money out of gaming back then. At least, not the kind of money that Joseph’s making.
Joseph’s income is generated from the ads that play before the videos begin. Although Google takes up 50 percent of those earnings, it still leaves him with a substantial amount. He puts up at least one 20-minute video a day, and for every 1000 views he makes up to $2.5. There are days when he gets 5 million hits, so that’s about $79,000 to $400,000 just last month. Sweet! “I don’t think it’s sunk in,” he said. “When you’re in your room all day looking at little numbers tick up, I think it’s hard to gauge it. Maybe one day it’s going to eventually sink in, but I’m really happy.”
“You need to be getting the massive figures but if you do manage to get right to the top there’s big money there because there’s a lot of eyeballs,” he said. “A lot of people view the television as a very passive thing now. It’s in the corner, it’s always rolling 24/7. I think things on tablets, phones and laptops seem a lot more instant and probably just a bit more exciting.” But Joseph admits that money isn’t his main motivation. “I can be creative and I can have fun and the fact that people enjoy watching it makes it that much more nicer, so I’m very happy.”
I decided to visit Stampylonghead’s channel myself to see what all the fuss is about. He’s got videos of lots of games – Minecraft, Let’s Play Terraria, Doki-Doki Universe and more. Joseph doesn’t feature in most of the videos, it’s just his voice that you get to hear as he progresses through the various levels of these games. He does have this whole upbeat, funny sort of monologue going on, which is what all his viewers seem to love. “I think I’ve got the best job in the world,” said Joseph. “The hobby I did for many years is now my occupation and I absolutely love it,” he said. And all that love and excitement is quite evident in his voice.
Stampylonghead’s audience is mainly made up of six to 14-year-old kids. “The majority are girls rather than boys, which surprises a lot of people, though it’s only about a 60/40 spilt,” said Joseph. He started uploading the videos way back when he was in university and since then, there’s been no looking back. He believes that his audience sees him more as a friend. “They feel like they know me more. I’ll get messages from people, not about my videos, just telling me what they did that day.” Joseph gets about 3,000 messages a day – he cannot really keep up with all of them.
For now, things are going really great for Joseph. His immediate future plans include moving out of his parents’ home and setting up a proper office with 22-year-old David Spencer, who also appears in a few videos. It may not be a long-term career, but hey, with the kind of money he’s making, he may not really need one in a few years.
Joseph Garrett isn’t the only guy in the world making a living by playing video games from the comfort of their own home. Last year, we wrote about Moru-chan, a Japanese gamer who made a decent $10,000 by playing video games 12 hours a day for three months, but the amounts Joseph’s hobby is bringing is unbelievable.