The Yogscast Ltd. are a network of YouTube broadcasters who produce gaming-related video content focused around their main YouTube channel, "YOGSCAST Lewis & Simon" (previously known as "BlueXephos"). The channel initially gained popularity with its videos about the MMO World of Warcraft, but have more recently come to be associated with sandbox game Minecraft.  They are well known for their role playing series 'Shadow of Israphel' which was extremely popular in the early days of Minecraft. They are also known for the Minecraft series "Jaffa Factory" which was very popular among fans.
The group was founded in July 2008 by Lewis "Xephos" Brindley. The name "The Yogscast" was derived from the title letters of his previous World of Warcraft guild, "Ye Olde Goone Squade", who originated from Something Awful.
After this channel became popular, other members of the "Yogs" guild and associates requested that Brindley and Lane help them create YouTube channels of their own. Hannah Rutherford (colloquially Lomadia), Duncan Jones (Lalna or LividCoffee), Paul Sykes (Sjin) and Chris Lovasz (Sips) thus made channels alongside "BlueXephos" to create a "Yogscast network". Since this point, more content creators have joined this group, forming "The Yogscast Family".
The Yogscast was officially incorporated into a registered company on 3 May 2011 by Brindley. He, Lane and Rutherford then moved operations from their shared home office in Reading, to their new headquarters in Bristol, colloquially dubbed "YogTowers".
The Yogscast team held their own panel at MineCon 2011, where they showcased some of the work of the Minecraft community. Following the event, the group came under fire from Minecraft creator Markus Persson, who stated that he would no longer work with the group, citing use of profanity and unprofessional behaviour. These claims were questioned by some MineCon attendees as well as game commentator John Bain. The Yogscast responded on Reddit and via a YouTube video, denying the accusations and expressing their disappointment and frustration with the organisation of MineCon, as well as their respect for Persson and the Minecraft community at large. Persson later apologised for the misunderstanding and retracted his accusations, attributing the statements to stress and miscommunication. To date, however, The Yogscast have not published further coverage of subsequent MineCons, nor have they ever worked professionally with Persson.
In June 2012, The Yogscast's primary channel, YOGSCAST Lewis & Simon, became the first channel in the United Kingdom to reach one billion views. That same year, the group started a Kickstarter campaign to develop a video game called "Yogventures!". The goal of $250,000 was quickly reached, with a full total of $567,000 eventually being raised by 13,647 donators. The project was cancelled, however, in July 2014. Backers were compensated with a copy of the game "TUG" by Nerd Kingdom, who also took hold of all developmental "Yogventures!" artwork and source code.
By the end of 2015, The Yogscast had:
- 15 members of staff;
- 20 officially noted networked channels;
- A total of 20,867,994 subscribers on YouTube;
- A total of 5,186,510,091 video views on YouTube.
World of Warcraft
The Yogscast's World of Warcraft videos were the first videos released by the Yogscast, and largely took the form of parodic how to's. When the Cataclysm expansion set was released, Brindley and Lane also began recording play-through videos. Much of The Yogscast's initial popularity was due to media and blog coverage of these videos, with Joystiq regularly covering them as they were released.
One of the most popular video features of The Yogscast are their many Minecraft series. In December 2010, Brindley and Lane began an ongoing series of Let's Play-style Minecraft survival multiplayer videos. As the series progressed, however, it evolved into a semi-improvised comedy drama named "Shadow of Israphel". This new series led to a boom in the number of the group's YouTube subscribers, though its sporadic release schedule was halted in the summer of 2012, following the release of episode 42. The series has not been officially cancelled.
The Yogscast have been able to produce and take part in larger scale projects, including live action video series. The most common of these are the group's coverage of various gaming conventions, as well as RPG sessions and studio-promoted "challenge" videos. Other notable live action productions include a discussion with television and radio presenter Jonathan Ross, and a mockumentary-style interview with actor Warwick Davis. Both Ross and Davis were promoting mobile games at the time.
The YoGPoD podcast was first released on 5 February 2009, and was intended to run alongside the group's YouTube video releases. It often featured other members of the "Yogs" World of Warcraft guild, and were initially released with a proposed weekly schedule. Releases became more sporadic over time, however, to the point that "Episode 42: Strawnana" came 5 months after its predecessor. A new, Halloween-themed YoGPoD was released on the 30th of October 2012, marking the first podcast from the group in 12 months. On October 29, 2015, the Yogscast released a new Halloween-themed YoGPoD, with intention to continue making more in the future.
The YoGPoD has no strict structure, but one of the more prominent features has Lane impersonate public figures that Brindley then "interviews". Brian Blessed, Warwick Davis and Elizabeth II are often mocked in this fashion.
The podcast reached #1 on the iTunes UK Podcasts chart on 4 July 2012, following the release of 'Episode 42: Strawnana'. After nearly of year of hiatus for the YogPod, the YogPod returned Fall 2015, with classic sequels of "Halloween SpackTacular" and the "YogPod Christmas Special."
In March 2016, the YogPod debuted a new podcast named "Triforce." The podcast consists of Lewis Brindley, Sips (Chris Lovasz), and Pyrion Flax (Ted Forsyth).
For the 2011 festive season, The Yogscast team raised money for Oxfam to "send locally-sourced and vaccinated goats to families living in poverty." As of May 2012, a total of £63,780 was raised, exceeding the target goal of £60,000. The Yogscast was named JustGiving's Most Popular Fundraiser of 2012 for this achievement.
For the 2012 holiday season, the Yogscast team did another charity drive for Oxfam, As part of this charity drive, the group hosted a livestream every day in December, with the exception of Christmas Day. working with other YouTube partners such as Hat Films (now long-term associates), GameChap, TotalBiscuit and Athene. "Honeydew's Honey Drive" was successful in raising £210,977. The group were again nominated for JustGiving's Most Popular Fundraiser of 2013, and received a Special Recognition Award at the JustGiving Awards ceremony.
The Yogscast followed this Christmas charity format through to 2013 and 2014, hosting the "Dwarven Dairy Drive" and "Yogscast Jingle Jam" in association with Humble Bundle. These drives raised $1,156,799.80 (~£700,000) and $1,104,882.09, respectively.
The Yogscast continued its annual charity livestream tradition again in 2015, staying with the same "Jingle Jam" theme used in 2014. Like 2013 and 2014, donations were made via the Humble Bundle charity website. The charities included in the 2015 Jingle Jam were Médecins Sans Frontières, Fauna and Flora International, Oxfam, Special Effect, GamesAid, Cancer Research UK, and the Mental Health Foundation. Guests to the live streams included big YouTube personalities including CaptainSparklez, who hold the most viewed gaming related video on YouTube, and Tobuscus, who has over 15.3 million subscribers.
Awards and nominations
|2012||Golden Joystick Awards||YouTuber Gamer Award||The Yogscast||Won|
|2013||Golden Joystick Awards||YouTuber Gamer Award||The Yogscast||Won|
|2016||The Shorty Awards||Social Media Awards (Gaming)||The Yogscast (Lewis and Simon)||Nominated|