A Clearer Picture
There seems to be some confusion regarding my choice to back away, and the motivations behind it. If ya’ll don’t mind, i’d like to explain my perspective one last time in depth.
I started making combo videos eight years ago and maintained a steady pace of 2-3 articles and 3-4 combovids per year for a long time. Anyone who’s ever made a decent combo video will tell you that it’s mentally and physically exhausting, especially towards the end of the process when you can see the finish line and all you want to do is get it over with.
Back in those days, i used to take three to six month breaks to recover between each project. That rhythm was more or less sustainable. From 2002-2008, i never had a single ad banner on my website and never made a single dime from Sonic Hurricane or any of my videos. And obviously it cost money to host them because this was before u2b existed.
Last year i decided to try a different approach. I installed this wordpress platform and began writing weekly technical and strategy articles, capturing weekly screenshots, and a lot more along those lines. I even borrowed a friend’s PS3 and started making SF4 combovids and preparing custom challenges every two weeks.
I thought if i went all-in with creating original content on a regular weekly basis, i could reach my arbitrary goal of earning minimum wage on the hours i invest here. That would enable me to continue treating it as sort of a part-time job for as long as people enjoyed my work. I gave myself six months to reach that objective.
It’s been fifteen months. Literally every minute of my free time has gone into this experiment, at a rate of 5-7 hours per day – more when i’m working on a video. So far it’s earning me barely $1 a day, most of which i’ve handed over to web hosts and the post office.
A lot of people are saying that i shouldn’t expect to make money because this is a hobby and it’s just video games. Well, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s exhausting. The fucked up sleep “schedule” i’ve been keeping since starting weekly updates is physically draining. In fact, i haven’t had a real break since 2006, when i started working on my Evo Guile video.
All that said, i would be perfectly happy producing undervalued content for the love of the community. Not at this pace of course, but i’m sure i could still be productive. Except now there’s no such thing as creating content purely for the community, because certain websites instantly convert it into profit for themselves, without giving anything back. It sucks all the joy out of what used to feel like a noble thing.
No, none of this is shocking or surprising. This always happens when any underground activity touches the mainstream spotlight. A lot of new people show up and appreciate it for what it is, but you also get a few “businessmen” who try to undermine what was already built there.
There will always be people who try to profit from others’ work whenever there’s a profit to be made, just as there will always be people who put on a nice suit and try to become the face of the community. I’m sorry but no amount of “it’s just business” or “that’s just how the internet works” is going to magically make it acceptable.
You have to understand, these “news sites” didn’t get famous by doing things we never thought of. They got famous doing things the rest of us were too considerate to do. It’s no accident that the most profitable site is the one that takes the most and gives back the least.
My only advice is, try to figure out whose primary goal is to help the scene and who’s in it for themselves. A lot of us have been serving the community for many years, without any hope of financial support whatsoever. Simply put – either you take care of content producers or the content stream dies. Taking care of the middlemen doesn’t help/count/matter.
In any case, i’ve done all i could and my goal still isn’t within reach. If it was going to work, it would’ve happened already. After fifteen months, i have conclusive proof that my six-month experiment has failed. (Obtaining it wasn’t cheap either.)
“One more month” is a pretty good way to fuck up my life beyond repair. I’ve got a lot of ground to make up as it is, just to get back to where i was fifteen months ago. I’ll be okay no matter what happens, but it’s just not feasible to continue.
So that’s the situation, and i’m okay with stepping away. It was worth a shot and i gave it my best, so i don’t have regrets. And i got to cross a lot of things off my to-do list, like writing about footsies and getting namedropped in a StarCraft article without playing StarCraft. It’s too bad it didn’t work out but then again i knew it was a long shot.