When gaming influencer Tyler Pappas, 29, published his first gameplay video on YouTube in 2006, he had no strategy whatsoever. At age 14, all he wanted to do was share his love for a game.
He played various titles on the platform such as role-playing video games, massive-multiplayer online games like Runescape and popular online games like Mincecraft. The videos were low-production and many times not edited beyond basic cuts.
But after years of creating content for games, he noticed his Minecreaft videos performed particularly well and decided to go all-in, recognizing that there was a large community building for the game.
Fast forward 15 years, Pappas is the CEO of LogdotZip Studios, a production company with 30 employees that runs a network of gaming channels on YouTube including LogdotZip, Craftee and Comments to Crafting. The channels, all focused on different aspects of the Minecraft game, have 4.55 million, 1.77 million and 535,000 subscribers, respectively.
Much of the growth of his business came from trial and error, Pappas said, but it also derived from an organized content strategy, metrics and consolidation.
In the early days of content creation, Pappas thought of the platform as a “dumping ground” for videos of things he enjoyed doing. He has since developed a pre-production and post-production strategy informed by YouTube’s data and analytics.
Behind the scenes
Today, Pappas’ production process is determined by key metrics generated by YouTube from audience engagement and retention rates to demographic information and how often people click on a specific video.
The insights help Pappas and his pre- and post-production teams develop age-appropriate content ideas as well as optimize SEO, create thumbnails, animations and intro calls, and determine which edits to include in a video.
The teams all use professional production equipment for quality and plan and schedule content in advance. It's a process Pappas said is key to creating an engaged audience.
“My company is largely ruled by documents so that we can build out a reliable framework that allows us to continuously open up the pipeline to make content production a lot easier,” he said. “If we were starting from scratch every time [we make a video], it would be impossible to keep up the cadence that we have today.”
“The audience, I believe, wants to feel like they're watching authentic [content],” he added. “People go on YouTube primarily to be educated or to be entertained and a lot of the top creators, myself included, put on a show.”
But his ability to maintain that cadence also comes from consolidating and streamlining his process to one game and one platform, he explained.
While many other gaming influencers have expanded their content to streaming platforms such as Discord and Twitch, Pappas said focusing on Minecraft and YouTube has proved to be much more scalable.
“I've intentionally stayed away from live streaming on numerous different platforms because it's something that's incredibly difficult to scale. When it comes to live streaming, your typical streamer will stream for eight hours a day. Meanwhile, I can record videos for eight hours in a day, and I've just handled a week or possibly two weeks worth of content,” he said.
That's not to say that there aren't ways in which to leverage other platforms, Pappas noted, adding that creators can use other platforms to post secondary content like short form videos or giveaways.
The future of gaming content
As the market gets even more saturated with gaming influencers, content and brand partnerships, consistency and talent will be key determinants of success, Pappas said.
“Games are now being made in a way that allows there to be more and more consistent attention around them,” he says. “These days there's just Minecraft or just Fortnite rather than Call of Duty 5 and 6 and it allows the specific games to collect more and more audience members around it [because they are not] splitting their audience between will [several versions of a game.”
That creates a ripe opportunity for creators to build channels or communities around a game as new ones emerge because they won’t have a “shelf-life,” Pappas said. That’s especially the case because brands are more receptive to using another company’s intellectual property since gaming surged during the pandemic.
However, Pappas predicted that talent will also play a role in the success of future gaming content as achieving quality production becomes easier and will no longer make much of an impact on distinguishing creators from each other.
“As [production] quality continues to rise, eventually the [best way] to fine-tune content will be in the form of the entertainer. We can only continue to improve our edits and fine-tune metrics so much to continue boosting engagement,” he said. “Eventually it's going to come down to the talent themselves.”
LogdotZip Studios has invested in talent and scaling its production team. More than half of LogdotZip’s audience across its channels are Gen Z and Generation Alpha, children born in 2010 onward.