Local gamer now a YouTube superstar

Story by Adrian Cusack

Tuesday, 31st January, 2017 1:19pm

Local gamer now a YouTube superstar

Sean McLoughlin, a.k.a. Jack Septiceye

You might not recognise his name, but Sean McLoughlin is the most internationally famous person currently living in Athlone. 

To his millions of online followers, he is 'Jack Septiceye', a green-haired, hyper-energetic personality who is a major YouTube star thanks to amusing and colourful videos in which he plays computer games while commentating on them.

He is, by far, the most successful YouTube video creator in Ireland and, earlier this month, he reached another milestone when the 14 millionth person subscribed to his videos.

To put that in context, his 'jacksepticeye' channel has more subscribers than the YouTube channels of music superstars Adele (13 million), Beyoncé (11 million), and Ed Sheeran (10 million).

The most-watched television programme in Ireland last year, The Late Late Toy Show, was seen by 1.5 million people on RTE. One of Sean's recent videos was viewed 2.2 million times in the space of just 24 hours.

He began making YouTube videos on a regular basis four years ago, and the growth of his channel meant it became his full-time job in May of 2014.

In an interview with the Westmeath Independent this week, the 26-year-old said the growth of the YouTube channel changed his life "in every way possible."

"I am now self-employed and living away from home because of how successful the channel became," he said. "I also get to travel to conventions throughout the year to meet people, and I have a lot of friends online who do the same line of work.

"I'm way busier than I've ever been in my life but I'm also doing something that I have an incredible passion for... A lot of opportunities opened up for me as a result of it, and it's very humbling to hear stories from people who watch my content."

Each 'jacksepticeye' video begins with his trademark greeting - "top of the mornin' to ya, laddies!" - and ends by encouraging viewers who liked what they saw to "punch the 'like' button in the face, like a boss!"

Last year, Sean travelled to Austin, Texas, to host the prestigious South by Southwest Gaming Awards, and he also appeared at several other conferences and events in the US throughout the year.

The majority of his YouTube followers - around 60% - are based in the States, while some 4-8% of the subscribers are in Ireland.

Why does he think the YouTube channel has grown to be so enormously popular?

"I don't really know if I can say definitively," he responded. "On one hand, it's the Irish in me and the accent and people are very drawn to that. On the other, it's the energy and the style of content that I make. 

"I'd say it's sort of an overall package of a lot of things; energy, positivity, honesty, and consistency. I try not to mislead people or do bad things, just have fun and hopefully people watch and enjoy."

His working routine involves recording two videos every day and sending them to his editor. He previously edited the videos himself, which was very time-consuming.

"For the first three years I did everything by myself, but it would take about 9-12 hours a day to do it and keep it up. Having never missed a deadline, every single day, you can imagine how that piles up."

He generally records his videos two days before they are uploaded, and then spends time reading comments and replying to people on various social media.

"It's a never-ending pattern, really, due to it all being online, so it's basically 24/7." 

He said there are some common misconceptions about what he does.

"People tend to think it's very easy work or that it takes no effort or talent to do because it's just sitting and playing games. On a single day it might not be that hard, but over the course of four years, and being 100% consistent, it's much harder than that.

"People tend to think that all YouTubers are filthy rich as well, for some reason," he added, with a laugh.

He said his earnings from the videos generally depend on factors like "watch time" and "audience retention".

"Not only that, but all YouTubers earn different rates and amounts based on contracts and networks, so even if two YouTubers had the exact same views they could earn wildly different amounts."

In a video marking the 14 million subscriber milestone, he said his aim was still to create videos "just to make people smile and laugh".

"I've never ever done this for fame or views or money or anything like that. And I don't think I ever will, because that's not fun to me," he said.

"I like seeing the reactions from people. I like uploading something and then seeing people say how it made them feel."

While he has been living in Athlone in the last few years, he might not be here for much longer.

He has said that he intends to move to Brighton, England, later this year, where he also hopes to work with a voice coach and an acting coach.

His videos can be viewed at: www.youtube.com/jacksepticeye/

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