Simon Lane and Lewis Brindley, the men behind YouTube sensation Yogscast, believe they deserve a share of the credit for the stunning success of sandbox smash Minecraft.
Mojang's virtual world is an unprecedented indie success story, selling over three million copies despite being still in beta and amassing such a sizeable and committed fanbase that the game's official release next month will be celebrated with a Las Vegas convention. In an interview, Lane and Brindley tell us they have played a part in the game's success thanks to the Minecraft Series on their YouTube channel, which receives some 80 million views every month.
"Typically the people who play games on YouTube do so because they're good at games and want to show off their skill or guide others to do better," Brindley tells us. "Minecraft is different to anything else out there, and it worked really well for us because it's a game that's evolving like nothing before. The entire game has had $0 spent on PR yet has sold 3.5 million copies – I think a large part of that is due to us."
Lane adds: "We are Minecraft's PR! I think we enjoy a symbiotic relationship with Mojang and have definitely contributed to each other's success. I'm very thankful we've done so well out of it."
It's a bold claim – and it should be stressed that they only feel entitled to some, not all, of the credit for the game's success – but the duo are correct that their Minecraft videos are markedly different to the high-level, "beast-mode" gameplay videos that comprise so much of YouTube's most popular videogame content. They and Mojang share a rapid rise to prominence from humble beginnings, and both have amassed passionate, loyal communities as a result.
Our full interview with Lane and Brindley – in which they discuss their rise to prominence, the appearance in their ranks of their own Yoko Ono and their hopes for a Yogscast movie – is in our new issue, E234, which should be with subscribers from today and will be with all good newsagents tomorrow.