NATHIE is no stranger to the VR community, being one of the top VR Youtubers consistently churning out entertaining videos on VR games since 2016. Fans just seem to love his energetic delivery and wide smile when discussing and playing those games.
But like yin and yang, where there are fans there are also haters. While most gamers appreciate Nathie’s candid and high energy approach, a handful of game developers complained that Nathie is ‘stuck up’ and asks for high compensations to finance his fulltime commitment to review VR games.
I know Nathie from back when he agreed to make a video on Sairento VR (for free) earlier this year. Then when I reached out to him for an interview to let people know more about Nathie, why he chose VR, what he stands for and his responses to the controversies, he graciously agreed.
So here’s what he has to say!
Hi Nathie, thanks for accepting to do this Q&A. Please give us an introduction of yourself. Where are you from, how old are you, your favorite hobby, etc.
You are one of the most influential Youtubers specializing in making videos for VR games. Did you do any other kinds of videos before this and why did you decide to go into doing videos for VR games?
YouTube, video and me have a long history together. I created my original account on the platform in 2009 and my first video ever went up a few weeks later. I usually created videos of my silly pet hamster, theater plays with puppets and also a bit of gaming. I’ve always been very interested in the world of video and gaming. It really gave me the opportunity to be creative in so many awesome ways.
When VR made it’s comeback in 2012 I got totally excited. Back in the days I was still at school studying to become an audio visual media specialist and I can remember that one of my friends showed me the Kickstarter page of the Oculus Rift DK1. After I saw their promo I was sold right away. I had to try those magical goggles and that’s also how I started doing VR videos on YouTube. I really wanted to share my excitement for this new technology. My channel was still a mix of my own creative mind so it wasn’t only about Virtual Reality but also the other things I was interested in. When I noticed there was a high demand for VR content on YouTube I decided to focus on that. This happened in 2016 I was ready to shine. I wanted to dedicate my channel to the future of video games and since that moment my channel has been going like a rocket.
When I noticed my YouTube channel was growing fast and steady I took a serious look on doing it full-time. I made a couple of future-proof plans and quit my job at a gaming company where I worked as a community manager. I became the full-time VR content creator that shares the magic of VR with people from all over the world.
What are your criteria for picking what kinds of VR games to showcase?
How does a VR game developer reach out to you to make a game review?
Watch a video Nathie made of Sairento VR!
Can you share the process involved in making a video and how much time you spend generally?
How do you make a living?
Do you normally charge game developers for making videos?
No I think that every indie and triple-A developer out there deserves a chance to broadcast their game, experience or app on my channel. As one of the largest VR channels out there I do have a pretty tight schedule so that’s one of the reasons why I am not able to play all the games out there. I would love to but it’s simply impossible since the demand is usually very high. That’s why I created a waiting list in where I add all the game requests I get. This way I got a nice overview of what I can dive into and what is releasing later that month or year. This list can take up to one or two months.
There are rare occassions where developers, marketeers or publishers want me to review their title before it comes out and release a review video at a specific day or week. I’m always very open to these opportunities but the only problem is that I’m always packed with a lot of game requests from other devs as well. This pretty much means I will have to priorities their title and set aside extra work & time to make it happen. That’s one of the occasions where I charge a developer for the work I do. Sounds fair.
Some game developers don't understand why you may have to charge to make sponsored videos. Do you have anything to say about this?
I totally understand their side of the story. For me it’s a little different of course. Let’s say that in public I do not speak out that much about my private life. To be able to explain people why I ask for a financial compensation I usually tell them a bit more about my background and where I’m coming from. When I started 2009 I always recorded and produced my content from within my bedroom. I was sleeping and working in the same room all-day all-night. I lived like that for over 6 years and in those 6 years I had to live with those pros and cons in mind everyday. When room-scale VR came around I had to get my actual closet out of my bedroom to be able to experience it. I had nearly no space to play with a Rift and Vive, only a seated experience would do the trick. I had to place my closet in my brothers room and in the end we had to share it because he simply had even a smaller bedroom than me. He pretty much sacrificed his own little space for my YouTube career.
After I finished my study I did not have a job for a while so the money I made came from my parents who helped me out from time to time. They saw the time and work I spent on the channel everyday and noticed that it was all about true dedication. I was still living with my parents back then.
Some indie developers gave me a small fee when I played their game, app or experience but I never asked for a compensation. When I saw the channel and VR growing I knew I wanted to contribute in a bigger way but in that tiny bedroom of mine I wasn’t going anywhere with those plans. I pretty much had limited resources (that I was able to solve creatively) but I slowly started to run out of ideas.
I had to make at least a bit of money to make it happen. My bedroom was to small for the plans I had. I was running out of time, ideas and also the possibility to turn the potential I had into something bigger. The potential to make a lot of people excited for VR around the world.
So I started to work harder, produced more VR videos, joined a YouTube network so I would get paid through ads and I decided to ask for a small financial compensation to developers. I explained them that this way they could support me and also invest into the channel in a way.
Without the hard work and the compensations I got at the start I would have never been able to upgrade my equipment, move out and get my own office. Now I got my own creative spot from which I work with a lot of pleasure. I now have a Mixed Reality studio, a real office and a play/test area for the Vive, Rift, HoloLens and also the Mixed Reality HMD’s. The moment I got the key of my first house it felt super liberating and gave me a lot of space to start working on projects I could have never worked on before from that small 3 by 4m bedroom of mine.
My parents, developers and good friends are the real heroes here. They believed in me from the start. So in the end I think it works both ways. Developers pay me for a video and I will make sure their title will be out there for my audience to watch as soon as possible (on release or before) This will create opportunities for the developer to reach new potentional players and I will be able to buy new equipment, improve my content and simply dream bigger. Without I would have never been able to make so many people excited for VR over the years.
Why do you think you are so popular as a VR gamer? There are many VR centric channels like yours out there, so what do you think made you stand out and become popular?
Not really sure. It’s hard to answer this one since I am not the one that is watching. From an experience point of view I would say that working at a gaming company helped a lot. I’ve been a huge video geek for a very long time but never knew how to get my videos out to the public. Over there I learned a lot about how to engage with your audience. I think that over the years my VR reviews became very critical and solid after the many experiences I had in the metaverse. This made them even more popular amongst VR enthusiasts. Those experiences inside Virtual Reality really shaped my opinion about certain apps, experiences, games and the overal state of the industry. The style of my channel really changed because of that and it is still constantly changing and improving.
From the perspective of my audience I think that the videos I produce are super useful to watch and are a strong force within the VR community. In the end we VR content creators on YouTube are the gate keepers of bad and good VR content. We will make sure that our audience will not get tricked into buying a game that isn’t as good as it looks. I think that’s a very important thing for them. On Nathie I have a very close relationship with me and my viewers. Being honest potential about what you have played is the key and brings lots of respect.
I pretty much perfected the mix between a serious review and entertainment. In the end I think that’s one of the main reasons so many people watch my videos. It’s for everyone!
Name your top 5 VR games.
- The Lab
- The Gallery
- Super Hot
- Edge of Nowhere
Comment from me, “What? No Sairento VR??? Oh well … everyone has his/her own gaming preferences and at least Nathie’s honest :)”
Do you have a message for your fans and our readers?