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Asking How Datto Does Youtube

We chat with renown scholar of looting games Datto about Destiny, World of Warcraft, and how he uses his own personality to draw in the Guardian...
By Myles, Apr 9, 2016 | |
  1. Myles
    There are no shortage of Youtube gamers, or of those that talk about Destiny and other loot-centric titles online (such as KackisHD). What seems to set Datto, doer of Destiny, The Division, and other non-shooter games, apart is his deep dive into the details, unwrapping the layers of a multi-tiered system for viewers to digest. It's not just about the loot, but how you it fits into your arsenal that matters.

    Believe it or not, there's a reason behind that method, and he talks to us about that method, among other things, below.


    1. Heyyyy Datto. Can you talk a little bit about how you came across that name of yours?

    The name comes from Final Fantasy 10. In the game, there was a mini-game called Blitzball and on your team was this guy named Datto. As you leveled up, Datto got so fast that you could score lots of goals with him because he would just swim past everyone. I played this game around my friends a lot, they just started calling me Datto and the name has stuck for over a decade.

    2. You're pretty widely known as Datto Does Destiny since that's you're most popular series of videos. Destiny also happens to be the game that really launched your channel about three years ago now. That begs the questions, what was it about Destiny that made you want to launch into a full Youtube channel?

    Mainly the fact that I couldn't play World of Warcraft any more because I left college and this looked like the next best thing. 100 percent truth right there, although I guess that's the reason for me wanting to play. I had dabbled in the Call of Duty Youtube community for a couple of years on and off, but I wasn't really going anywhere with it, plus the stress of work killed the experience of the game for me (always playing for clips, never for fun). But I still really liked editing and doing Youtube stuff. Destiny rolls around and I think that if I hop on the game early enough, maybe I could make something happen. I did Youtube in general because in my line of work (I worked in the television industry), if I wasn't booked on a show, I was just sitting around doing nothing, so the Youtube channel was made so that my brain wouldn't turn into mush and I could still be doing something as opposed to sitting around watching TV all day.

    3. And boy, your level of commitment and depth in chosen video topics makes most other Destiny enthusiasts look like they're reading from a brochure. You've done interviews, in-depth analysis on moves and myths inside the game, and highlights on gun-and-raid combinations that feel like an entertaining teacher explaining his craft. Often times, you really are doing this in front of an audience through Twitch too. How important do you believe it is for content uploaders to seem this in touch with their games/topics of choice?

    Well, for me at least, I'm not a funny guy, at all. I have the charisma of a loaf of bread. So, for me, I need to provide a different kind of entertainment. I need to provide INFOtainment so to speak. I need to provide people with rock solid advice, super accurate numbers and statistics, etc. so that those people take something away from my video. Whether it's summarizing a news report, finding out which gun does more damage, or teaching you an interesting fact or something you might not have known. People are not coming to me for my self-depreciating, sarcastic humor/persona (although I imagine some are there for that, but that's a very small minority).

    4. This dedication has really seemed to resonate with the Destiny audience as well with you being a part of a couple petitions (including one where someone wanted you to release Destiny on PC) where the community felt you could represent their concerns to Bungie themselves. First, how does it feel to be that ingrained into your craft that community members are pushing you to be on official Bungie streams and the like? Second, why won't you bring Destiny to PC??

    I mean, it's a pretty nice feeling, although I do think a lot of people think have more power than I actually have (people think I have an influence on the way guns are nerfed, encounters are made, where the reality is just I'm decent at predicting things). I guess people kinda view me as "the smart guy" or "the guy who seems like he's smart, but I can't really disprove that he isn't," so I'd be asking stuff that maybe a different Youtuber/streamer wouldn't ask. I remember seeing a post on Destiny subreddit at the top of the listing saying "Can we have Datto on for the Dreadnaught reveal?" and that was a pretty cool moment, although my first thought was definitely "...why are you guys being so nice to me?"

    It's also a weird feeling because I've never been a guy who has been popular in any facet of my life ("YOU DON'T SAY?"). I know, hard to imagine that I, Datto, wasn't that popular in high school. I've always been a pretty reserved person and very introvert so having to go from that to the opposite of that has been jarring at times.

    The PC port on the other hand...I JUST built my new computer, so that was step one. Step two is learning how to program. That may take a few years.

    5. You've recently begun to integrate some play time of The Division into your channel. Another two part question: How do you feel Ubisoft's attempt at an MMO-lite shooter compares to Year 1 Destiny, and do you agree with the idea that The Division's release has pushed Destiny into the background for a lot of players?

    I would say that the reason the Division maybe has pushed Destiny into the background is simply because it is new and Destiny hasn't had any sort of major update in a long time (although the April Update is right around the corner as of this writing). The reverse will happen when Destiny gets a big expansion. I think The Division has a good foundation, but they're running into a bunch of the same problems Diablo 3 had with loot at the beginning of their launch. But, the devs have a lot of stuff lined up for the first year; they've been patching and updating frequently (although it seems like every single day there's a new way to abuse some sort of system to get loot, which is a completely different topic), so they've been pretty on the ball with the game and I think it'll continue to get better as time goes on as they learn what works and doesn't work. I don't think anything is going to beat the magic of the Vault of Glass the first time through though. Destiny definitely had plenty of rough spots in year 1, I think most players know that, but despite that, I found myself logging into Destiny more than Division when we compare their first month, although that CERTAINLY couldn't have ANYTHING to do with my Youtube channel.

    6. You've also done games like Fibbage, Battlefront, and Rainbow Six Siege on occasion. Are these more to change up the flow of your streams/uploads, or are you just playing what you're interested in?

    Little bit of both, it's fun to change it up every once in a while. My friends have been poking around to many games this year and I do enjoy playing with friends regardless of what they're playing. If I can turn that into stream or Youtube content, then I'm definitely going to try to make that happen. Destiny is great, but after 1.5 years of ONLY playing Destiny, it's nice to be able to play a different game without having to panic about Youtube videos.

    7. It seems that your chosen platform to stream on is Twitch. Do you recommend this as a the platform for streamers or content creators to use? or are there any other streaming sites that you would recommend to others?

    Twitch is great because it basically has its own culture at this point, which I find awesome. Youtube Gaming is on the up and up, but I know a lot of people love to play music of the copyrighted variety on their streams and I don't think YTG is down with that (even though technically, Twitch isn't exactly 100 percent okay with it either as far as I know). When I started streaming, Twitch might as well of been the only option to choose from, so I just went there. I've seen a bunch of other little sites pop up and try to grow, but it's going to take a LOT to pull some of the share away from Twitch. Hell, some people have had their career essentially vanish because they started streaming on another website (likely these other sites contact them and offer a hefty contract). Twitch is still the place to be and it likely will be for quite a while as others play catch up.

    8. According to your Twitch information, you are partnered with Astro Gaming, and state that you personally use and love the headsets they provide. How important do you believe it is to endorse products that you personally use and enjoy rather than products that you do not use and have no interest in?

    I think it's really important considering that I've only had two sponsors ever. I get offers every single day for products and software that I don't use and I don't really believe in just promoting something that I have no experience with for a quick dollar. Then again, my content doesn't really lend itself to having any sort of sponsor or paid content or anything like that. The games and things I cover are things that I personally enjoy and/or use and have experience with. I could probably be several thousand dollars richer if I took all these opportunities, but I don't because I don't care about the thing they are offering or I simply don't have the time. I would like to think that gives me a little bit of credibility in other facets of Youtube. But other than two loot crate videos and a 45 second segment on the Astro partnership, I don't think there's been anything else that has been made because I was paid by someone to create it.

    9. Finally, are there any words of wisdom you can give to aspiring YouTubers looking to pursue a career in creating content?

    Start making stuff right now and don't try to do Youtube because you're looking for an easy dollar. In my first year on Youtube, I think I made 1000 dollars and some people would kill for that amount of money. Most people don't end up making money at all. Don't worry about getting a network, don't worry about getting paid, just start making videos and start practicing. If you wanna join a network so you can get custom thumbnails, fine, you don't need to monetize though, should be the least of your worries. When you start on Youtube, you're competing with SO MUCH STUFF. You're competing against the already established people, against the upcomers, then you're competing against people just like yourself. There is no guarantee of growth at all. Putting your content in a place where people are going to see it is a very difficult thing to do. I went in with a plan: make Destiny content really early before nearly anyone else was doing it. This way, when people searched for Destiny, I'd actually show up on the search rankings because the amount of content out there was so little that I'd HAVE to be put on one of the first couple of pages.

    High quality is important. It won't drive people to your channel, but not having high quality will drive people away. Too many people out there already have very high quality videos (sound and video specifically, the actual production) that if you DON'T have good HD video and sound, people will just ignore you.

    Start up costs can be high depending on what equipment you already have. If you need just a capture card and a microphone, that's not bad. But if you need that, and a new computer, and some editing software, those expenses add up. I've seen way too many people on forums spend thousands of dollars on equipment, only to give up a month later. Be careful.

    Your very first video will probably be bad unless you had experience making content in the past. It's gonna happen. I still have videos where I think "shoulda done this instead." Just get to practicing. You aren't likely to be the 1 in a million guy who just knocks it out of the park and goes super viral. It would be nice, but try to be realistic.

    My recommendation for people who actually want to try to grow a big Youtube channel is find a game that is coming out that might have some legs on Youtube and start learning. This isn't to say that you should just hop on ANY new game that's coming out if you don't like it, don't force yourself. The moment you start forcing yourself is the moment you will hate it, because then it's no longer a hobby, it's an obligation. Do it because you find it fun. That should be the only reason. Well, ONE of the reasons at least. Also, there's a reason no "how to make a Youtube channel" video tells you what content to make directly. It's because they're keeping their ideas for themselves, you need to actually be creative and come up with your own.

    Last is a piece of advice I got from Adam Kovic of Funhaus: don't add to the noise. If your plan is to just copy what someone else is doing, you're not adding anything new. You're just adding to the already existing noise out there. You need to have your personal spin on things. My spin? I'm a numbers guy, I bring a different perspective, I bring content that others don't make. Whatever your personal spin is, make should you have it. If you're trying to be a comedy channel, you better be funny. But whatever you do, do something that is going to make you different from someone else. If you're just gonna be another Let's Player in a sea of thousands and thousands of already existing Let's Players, I hope you have a way to set yourself apart from the rest. it is a daunting task. If you just want to make videos for the hell of it, you don't care about growth, you just want something to do, then I have no business telling you anything, do what you wanna do. But if you're looking to get a little serious about it, these are all factors you need to think about. Top of the list is always going to be: make sure you enjoy doing it. If you don't, then I don't recommend trying to do Youtube content.

    You can catch up with what Datto is doing at any particular time, check out his Youtube channel, Twitter account, or Twitch to see if he's live.

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