I have a piece of news to report. To me, it is shocking.
As previously mentioned, my seven-year-old son is a big fan of a British YouTuber who goes by the name “Stampy Longnose.” Stampy records videos of himself playing the video game Minecraft and then posts the videos to YouTube. He has nearly 2.8 million subscribers, with 1.7 million views every month. His videos are so popular that he is able to make a living creating Minecraft videos. And selling merchandise, like Stampy t-shirts. All of this has been a gradual mindblow for me – that children, by the millions, will repeatedly watch videos of someone else playing video games, and that a grown man can make a living playing video games.
So here’s the news. The other day, my son was watching this YouTube video, posted a couple days previously, of an eleven-and-a-half-minute interview with Stampy and his pal Squid on Good Morning Britain (the equivalent of Good Morning America). While it was shocking enough that my child would sit through even two minutes of anything that resembles a newscast, that wasn’t what floored me.
At the end of the interview, one of the anchors mentioned that Stampy is going to be moving to Los Angeles in a couple weeks. Stampy’s response: “Yeah, I’m just working on projects. Our management’s over there, and I’m doing a show with Jack Black I’m recording at the end of this month, and I’ve got a new educational channel called WonderQuest that’s launching soon within Minecraft.”
OK, so let’s back up a minute. Stampy plays video games. And he’s got a manager to handle that for him. And to handle all of the commerce and activity that surrounds the fact that he plays video games. And the fact that he plays video games has been parlayed into a show with Jack Black as well as Stampy’s own educational channel. I don’t even know what to say.
Several months ago, we took my son to see “Despicable Me 2.” In one scene, the villain’s teenage son announced that his aspiration is to play video games for a living. At the time, the idea seemed absurd to me, as I imagine it did to most adults in the audience, and I chuckled. I guess the joke is on me. My Stampy t-shirt arrives in the mail in two weeks. -RR