Call it the lockdown effect or the expansion of online influencer culture, but the UK gaming industry is taking off like never before. And crucially, more and more women are making waves and breaking boundaries in what was once a typically male-dominated space. That’s why YouTube Originals have launched their new franchise, ‘Creator Spotlights‘, shining a light on three of the UK’s finest female creators.
Here, one of those creators Yasmin Uddin – who boasts over 2.5 million subscribers on her YouTube gaming platform Yammy – shares how she crafted her career in gaming, eventually making it big time on the platform, and how you can, too…
As a young girl, one of my earliest memories is watching my brother game. I would sit and watch him play on his Sega Mega Drive for hours, totally captivated by the games and their alternative realities. Then I finally took the dive and stared gaming myself, playing a game called Wiz ‘n’ Liz. It was a cute kids’ game, in which you play a wizard who has to rescue rabbits across eight different worlds. I was totally obsessed.
Ever since then I played games as often as I could, inviting my friends over to play with me. Gaming became a significant part of my life, just as it does for so many other young people. It became an escape from reality and a good way to pass the time with friends.
My love of gaming grew so much that in 2011 I decided to set up a YouTube channel with my friend Jenna. We called it ‘Chicks Can Game’ and we’d post clips of us playing games like Gears of War and Halo, which we recorded on or phones and uploaded to the channel. The goal was initially to hit 1,000 subscribers, but really, it was just a way for us to make fun videos and enjoy a shared love of gaming. After Jenna left for uni, I took it on as a solo project.
I never imagined that I would one day turn my love of gaming into a career with YouTube. I’d always wanted to become a teacher, but just as I was accepted into uni, my channel started to rapidly grow in subscribers. I had a choice: go to uni, or focusing on growing my channel. I chose to follow my passion for gaming.
As my audience grew, I was able to invest in better equipment, meaning the quality of my videos improved which, in turn, attracted new viewers. What had once been a teenage pastime became a serious career that meant I could financially support my family.
My channel grew steadily over the years, and I ended up changing the name from ‘Chicks Can Game’ to ‘Yammy’. From there, I pursued new friendships in YouTube and gaming and started collaborating with other channels. I loved that I was finding community online with people who had the same interests, and that community was central to my channel’s growth. Today, I have over 2.5M subscribers and over 700 million lifetime views on the Yammy channel, which I still struggle to get my head around sometimes.
It hasn’t been easy though. When I first started making gaming content on YouTube, the gaming industry was heavily male dominated and it was very unusual to see female influencers. When I would join games and use voice chat, I was often harassed for being a woman. Eventually, I stopped speaking in games and searched for other women to play with. Gradually, the community has started to mature and women are more accepted, but there’s still sexism out there. We still have a long way to go.
That’s why I’m proud to have bene part of the growth of female representation in YouTube gaming. I know that some of my fans also aspire to be YouTubers or to work in the gaming industry. I can only hope that people hear of my story as a mother, a gamer, and a content creator, and realise that they, too, can achieve their dreams.
Here’s my advice for turning gaming into a career…
- Passion. The main piece of advice I can give is to make sure you’re doing what you love. The most important element is passion and enjoyment for whatever you’re doing because that’s what creates your individual niche. My love for gaming allowed me to find my own voice and style of videos, which also made it easier for me to build an audience.
- Collaboration. In turn, finding my own voice allowed me to collaborate with other YouTubers. Collaborations are a great way to grow because you’re naturally exposing each other to new fans and experiences. As your audience grows, the ability to monetise and build a business becomes more real!
- Determination. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a long, hard road and can be lonely at times, but I’ve been doing this for almost 10 years now and know that the key is determination. YouTube has helped me through so many hard times, and the friendships I’ve made along the way have made me who I am today.
And of course, know how to make money. Revenue sources are varied and have evolved over the years, but generally, creators can earn money through…
- Ad Revenue: when ads run on your YouTube videos, you get a portion of the money advertisers pay to run those ads.
- Brand Deals: where companies want to promote their product through a video on your channel.
- Donations: fans who choose to support their favourite creators by donating money directly.
- Merchandising: where creators sell products directly to consumers and fans. Branded t-shirts, hats, and jumpers are popular items with fans, and we often see them worn at gaming conventions and fan meet-ups, like you’d see football shirts at matches. I’ve got my own collectable figurine too!