Welcome to YouTube Millionaires, where we profile channels that have recently crossed the one million subscriber mark. There are channels crossing this threshold every week, and each has a story to tell about YouTube success. Read previous installments of YouTube Millionaires here.
Few gaming channels have been churning out videos for as long as ScrewAttack. Since its launch in 2006, the ScrewAttack website–named for a move from the video game Metroid–has provided compelling content for its dedicated community. While ScrewAttack is perhaps best known for its yearly ScrewAttack Gaming Convention (SGC), it has built up a significant following on its YouTube channel, which was recently bolstered through a deal with Fullscreen. We talked to ScrewAttack co-founder Craig Skistimas about the video portion of his website:
Tubefilter: How does it feel to have one million subscribers? What do you have to say to your fans?
ScrewAttack: Obviously it’s very cool and an honor to know that we have an amazing audience. With that said, I feel like we have a much deeper connection to our audience because we’re out at gaming events and producing our own events and meeting as many fans as we possibly can. The number itself is very cool but ultimately it’s way more satisfying to actually shake hands, say hi and play some games!
TF: There are many gaming channels on YouTube and the web. What do you think makes ScrewAttack distinct from its contemporaries?
SA: I think a lot of people think of ScrewAttack as one of the first to really start creating video game content for a living. We started SO long ago in internet time (2006) before YouTube was really YouTube. So with that said, I think longevity is something that really helps distinguish us from the bunch. We’ve seen a lot of producers come and go over the years but ScrewAttack is still here kicking ass and having fun.
TF: You’ve now released 34 episodes of Death Battle. Why do you think that series has been such a hit?
SA: Ultimately I think it’s because we tell you EXACTLY who would win the battles and why. Many series like Death Battle want the audience to decide and drive conversation. That’s great but I think it’s always better if there’s a definitive answer. Couple that with an extremely talented group of guys who work on the series and some great visual fights, it comes together in a nice, easily watchable package.
TF: How much does fan input help decide which games are featured in ScrewAttack series?
SA: We ALWAYS listen to our audience and see what they want to see and what they’d like us to play. I think our connection with our community is second to none. It’s really something we embrace.
TF: Similarly, what strategies do shows like Hard News use to balance insightful reporting with an entertaining presentation that viewers will enjoy?
SA: Hard News is a show I’m personally very proud of as it was literally the first daily gaming news show online way back in 2008. While we’ve always wanted to “bring people the news” we also want to do it with our own flair. I don’t fancy us as reporters, just gamers and it’s ok to get excited about things or have an opinion. While I have a journalism degree, I hate the stigma that comes with being a “journalist” in that you can’t have an opinion. There’s no fun in that!
TF: What do you think has been the most significant change in the online gaming community over the past nine years?
SA: Oh man, it is night and day. The internet has changed so much since 2006, it’s crazy. YouTube is no longer a place where you can just find cat videos (although there still is a nice assortment of them available) but you also have the ability to connect and grow your audience. That is something that wasn’t there when ScrewAttack started. The way we interacted with our audience in 2006 was through our site’s forum. Now it’s through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google+, etc. Now with Twitch and the ability to stream gaming and interact as it’s happening… whew… it’s crazy.
TF: How has ScrewAttack’s new relationship with Fullscreen affected the operation of the main channel?
SA: I would say Fullscreen has given us something we’ve never had before: resources. They “get” gaming and want to invest in the ScrewAttack Network. Having resources is something ScrewAttack’s literally never had. I mean, ScrewAttack started on my parents’ kitchen counter and every cent that was made was invested back into growing the company.
TF: How will SGC 2014 compare to events from previous years?
SA: SGC as a whole is truly unlike any other gamer event on the planet. It’s so welcoming and cozy. It’s like getting together with 3,000 of your closest buddies. This year we’re welcoming video game legend Keiji Inafune, who is the creator of Mega Man and also the most successful gaming Kickstarter in history, Mighty No. 9. Our goal is pretty simple: throw the best three day party in gaming every single year. I think with the guests and live programming we have in store, we have a great chance to do that again this year. SUPER excited for July to get here.
TF: What’s next for ScrewAttack? Any fun plans on the horizon?
SA: Heck yes! We’re always going to be doing new things. First and foremost we want to grow and expand our talent network. We want to put partners together to collaborate and give them the tools to be successful and grow their brands and channels. We are also planning a website visual overhaul to make it easier to find partner content and bring the site into 2014 and beyond. Other than that, we’re planning some big things for events: the PAX’s, TGS, GamesCom, etc.
If there’s one thing for certain is that you never know what we’re going to do next but we’re going to do our best to make it as awesome as possible.
Photo credit: DeviantArt user warman333