Interview with vlogger pad0n: “I am a usual guy from Lviv, which probably attracts the audience”26 March 2019
Is that difficult to host a channel dedicated to video games if you are a Ukrainian-speaking blogger? How to survive on YouTube avoiding strikes and regularly updating content? Follow the interview with an author of the gaming video blog, a usual guy from Lviv - Julian Grytsevych, aka pad0n.
pad0n is a Ukrainian-speaking YouTube channel dedicated to video games with 50 000 subscribers. pad0n is a nickname of an author from Lviv who works as a programmer and spends free time on developing domestic gaming content.
We interviewed Julian about his first steps in this sphere and the secrets of successful vlogging. By the way, this year, pad0n is attending our festival again. Read the interview up to the end and watch his video invitation.
Respondent: Julian Grytsevych, author of YouTube channel pad0n (hereinafter — pad0n).
WEGAME: Tell us what inspired you to create a Ukrainian-speaking blog about games.
pad0n: The first thought that spring to mind of many people is that computer games are a child’s play. Why don’t movies and books bring the same stereotype? As for me, they have the same art value, the point is our perception. Just take games developed by Quantic Dreams.
That is why I decided to create a gaming channel to share my vision of games, show their diversity, just like they are. The blog is Ukrainian-speaking because this is my home language, and I think that everyone deserves to find something given in the mother tongue on the Internet.
WEGAME: How well was the Ukrainian segment developed at that time?
pad0n: It was early 2012. At that moment, there in fact were only two gaming Ukrainian websites with YouTube channels releasing weekly news in this universe. They were PlayUa and OpenGamer.
The former still exists and presents videos on a weekly basis. Apart from these websites and their channels, there were literally up to five YouTube figures who created gaming video in Ukrainian. In fact, the segment was nascent and open to all the enthusiasts.
WEGAME: Was it difficult to start and why?
pad0n: It was and it is difficult to start since a Ukrainian viewer is not used to and even doesn’t dare to think about the existence of Ukrainian-speaking content. So, if a usual user googles everything in Russian, then the chances to improve my content are slim.
By the way, lack of viewers and a deeply rooted habit of searching information in Russian are the biggest demotivator in this sphere. All the abovementioned channels have been closed due to various reasons.
I continue step-by-step boosting of my audience. For example, I managed to attract only 10 000 subscribers within the first four years. At that time, I was the first Ukrainian-speaking content maker who succeeded in reaching such a result (not taking into account the TV channels).
WEGAME: How did you attract a new audience? How did you interest them?
pad0n: In fact, there isn’t any secret. I have never gone to all lengths trying to be someone I am really not. I was just doing something that interested me first of all. I am a fan of computer games, especially if they have an incredible plot. That is why I would like to share this love with the viewers via videos.
I really appreciate that I have found even more than 50 000 fans of adventure games. I am a usual guy from Lviv, which probably attracts the audience.
WEGAME: It’s not a long time you started streaming actively: why did you decide to do it?
pad0n: I held my first streamings as far as 2013. Until and including 2015, I hosted them only when I did not have time to edit basic videos and didn’t want my channel to remain empty. I moved to streaming in 2016 but it was held along with the video content until 2018. I think that 2016 is a breakthrough in my activity since I dedicated 110% of my free time to that period. I even regret that because of sleepless nights, lack of social interaction, etc. What is more, it didn’t have a positive effect on my health state. However, the quantity of channel subscribers went up.
In 2018, one of my YouTube streamings got a strike, and my streams were banned for three months. That is why I posted only videos and streamed on Twitch. In 2019, I set priorities, weighed all pros and cons, and understood that Let’s Play as a genre is already dead. However, gaming streams remain popular because they give an opportunity for the author and his/her viewers to interact. This is a never-ending interactive activity.
WEGAME: What streams to expect in the nearest future?
pad0n: Honestly speaking, I expect more than 60 games, and this list is growing all the time as new releases appear. That is why I will offer a mixed collection: new games (DMC5) and old ones upon viewers’ request. For example, The Witcher 2. Multiple exclusive games for PS4 as well.
WEGAME: What challenges did you face when developing your channel about video games? How did you cope with them?
pad0n: The answer is plain to see. Everything is simple: lack of Ukrainian-speaking viewers, the impossibility of converting it into the main income source, and so, everything is built on sheer enthusiasm and support of the subscribers.
However, the worst point is that YouTube always throws a spanner in the works by its unusual rules. It used to block all the videos with the slightest hint of violence, blood drop, etc. Even if it’s a PC game. Never-ending copyright issues also bother. Games often offer a composition you don’t have a license for. So, the channel falls under the risk.
My solutions are very simple: I posted in topical public communities on VKontakte and thus attracted viewers. After its ban, I bought Google ads via AdWords several times. In 2017, YouTube often added my streamings to recommendations, so many subscribers joined the channel in this very period. Nowadays, after the strike, my channel has never been mentioned in the recommendations, and the majority of subscribers do not get notifications of new videos/streams.
So, YouTube is tough, and one has to follow its rules, even the most doubtable ones. Fortunately, some games such as Far Cry or STEEP now have a streaming mode that mutes the sound and is given in settings. Sure, the atmosphere is worse but your YouTube channel is protected from copyright-related problems.
WEGAME What would you advise Ukrainian vloggers who start or intend to create a gaming channel?
pad0n: • Love what you do. If you are not at home with games, do not start (Captain Obvious).
• Learn all YouTube rules and reread them once a month. This would help you prevent strikes.
• Tough competition so make sure your videos are high-quality.
• Do not be a carbon copy of all the other vloggers, find your flavor, express individuality, do not be a clone.
• Hype videos do not ensure a loyal audience. Think twice before producing them.
WEGAME: How often do you attend offline gaming events and fests? How developed is it in Ukraine?
pad0n: Unfortunately, I am not a frequent visitor at the fests in such a format. In Ukraine, WEGAME is the only fest I’ve been to. I haven’t seen such events in Lviv. It’s frequently difficult to go to other cities since I have to ask my director for permission at work. Sometimes it’s difficult to go on a vacation at the needed period of time.
I think that gaming festivals are in a nascent state. Surely, there are events like Games Gathering and GameDev Conference but they are mostly focused on developers and publishers, not gamers. So, WEGAME is a breath of fresh air.
WEGAME: What do you expect from WEGAME 5.0 and what was the most interesting at the festival?
pad0n: I expect lots of emotions. WEGAME festivals I have attended were remarkable for announcements of new gaming products, the possibility to experience them a lot earlier before the release, meetings with game developers, and even the chance to share contacts for the further cooperation. Besides, a table games zone was also a win-win solution. It was a place where I spent most of the time with my subscribers.
What I liked most is the overall atmosphere. That’s cool that such a crowd of game fans can come together. You feel at ease among like-minded people. So, this year, I expect that WEGAME will stay at the same level and even reach a new level. I look forward to April 20-21!
Video invitation from Julian
Now you know where to find vlogger pad0n in the nearest future – at WEGAME 5.0 in Kyiv on April 20-21.