Online games news Tedious Retro Gamer, 16-01-2023
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The curious case of PhlyDaily, or how to sink your youtube channel for a... reasonably good reason. But in unreasonably silly way.
PhlyDaily, an American youtuber with over 1.2 million subscribers, specializes in WarThunder. With (according to himself) experience of being a pilot, he managed to make WarThunder actually entertaining, which could be challenging. Another hallmark of his career was that he is uploading his WarThunder videos daily. Well, almost daily. And that was the surprising beginning of his problems.
He managed to gather a loyal group of viewers, his channel in the best moments recently (like early 2020 or early 2021) was reaching 14 to 15 million views per month, which is quite significant, especially for a rather niche game like WarThunder. His unique sense of humour and ability to find something interesting even in the least interesting vehicles available in the game, made his channel a bustling place. During 2022 he was moving, together with his family, into a new house, so this made a little dent in his impeccable record of constantly uploading videos, but it was not that big problem.
The problem arose on 19th July 2022, when he uploaded a video presenting an Italian self-propelled AA gun. It was not any different from his other videos, it was fun, it was entertaining and... it was the last one. A few days later, his viewers were a bit concerned when no new videos were coming up from PhlyDaily, a week later, they began to joke that he should change his name to PhlyMonthly. The last video within a few days gathered hundreds of comments, quickly the number passed 1000 comments. Most of them were about the same - where is PhlyDaily? Why did he stop uploading new videos?
There were no messages from PhlyDaily under his video, there were no announcements on the YouTube community, not a single message on Twitter or other social media. On July 20th, he... just stopped everything. Days went by, weeks, his audience was growing anxious to learn what happened to him. Some speculated that his infant son is ill, some were worried something happened to PhlyDaily, perhaps he is dead, perhaps he just needs time to finish moving between houses, perhaps he feels exhausted and needed a break. There were many theories, but very few actual information.
There was one leak from discord, admin of that discord supposedly said that PhlyDaily is fine, he is taking a break, but that is all they can say - which sounded a bit ridiculous. How youtuber with over 1.2 million subscribers can just vanish without saying a word to his audience? To be fair, before disappearing, he put a message on Twitter stating he will be back next week, but a few weeks went by and still, there was no new information. New speculations rose, that it’s curious none of PhlyDaily’s youtube buddies mentioned even once in their videos that he just vanished.
When the PhlyDaily turning into PhlyMonthly became a stale joke and PhlyQuarterly became the new normal, some of his audience got angry. It is understandable, some of them were still paying subscription via Patreon or via YouTube, and clearly no one, including PhlyDaily himself, was able to update them on the situation. His last video, from July 19th, gathered over 2000 comments, some of them quite angry, some of them joking, some of them worried, but overall the situation looked odd to say the least.
On October 31st, PhlyDaily finally broke his silence and posted a new video, in which he explained in 9 minutes the reason behind his sudden vanishing. Partly. He explained that he felt that he needs to take a break and spend time with his infant son, and otherwise he will miss out those precious moments. Yes, it sounded... reasonable. Mostly. He mentioned that he read all the comments under the last video, he mentioned that he is back now, he mentioned a few other things. Except for one that was important - why in 3 months he did not manage to find a single minute to post an update on YouTube or Twitter?
Anyway, he was back, he started to upload the videos again, his channel was regaining views, in the first week he got 2 million views, which was encouraging, but then... to put it nicely, he has done it again. Well, almost - after about 2 weeks he announced he was taking a few days break for Halloween and vanished for 2 weeks. When he got back, his views again rose from 400 thousand per week to 1.8 million per week before... he took a break for Christmas and New Year.
Right now, his channel is struggling to gather 5 million views in a month, which means he lost almost 2/3 of his audience within one year. And all of it because of lack of communication, or rather misleading communication with his audience. For about 10 years, his fans got used to PhlyDaily uploading every day, being entertaining every day, offering something slightly different every day. It took only 3 months to sink his reputation and perhaps even kill off his channel.
From what I read in the comments under his videos, not many people minded that he took a break to spend time with his family, quite the opposite, they were more than understanding, but complete lack of communication that you are taking a break is something completely different. All it would take was about 1 minute to write tweet "I’m taking a break for a month or two" and there would be no problem. Yes, there might be some losses, some people in the meantime may find a different WarThunder channel to watch and never come back, but no communication at all for 3 months is something else.
Will he recover after his disappearing acts? Maybe, he is a talented youtuber and a good entertainer, clearly he is a good father as well, but on reflection, wouldn’t be smarter to spend 1 minute to write that tweet and avoid all the hassle? He didn’t find that single minute, so we will never know how his career might have been different at this point, all we know that there are some really disappointed fans out there, who were not worth 60 seconds of his time.
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