It might be a struggle to explain to your grandparents exactly how big a deal YouTube is these days, but a few facts and figures usually help. Joseph "Stampy Cat" Garrett - one of the world's most popular Minecraft YouTubers - has over 8 million subscribers (not to mention over 600,000 on his second channel) and many of his videos have been viewed tens of millions of times. When Garrett and several other UK-based YouTube stars took part in our special Mario Kart 8 tournament at EGX 2014, it drew the kind of crowds you'd expect for pop acts or movie stars.
These guys might not necessarily be household names with anyone past the age of 30, but to the legions of Minecraft-obsessed youngsters, Garrett and many like him are the 21st century's first megastars - and we've been lucky enough to sit down with the man himself for a little chat about Nintendo, the Switch and the future of Minecraft.
Nintendo Life: What's your gaming background? What platforms did you grow up playing?
Joseph Garrett: My very first games console was a Game Boy Pocket. That was my only game console until I got a PlayStation 2 when I was a lot older. Most of my gaming was around friend's houses who had either a SNES or Sega Mega Drive.
What inspired you to create a YouTube channel in the first instance, and how did Minecraft become the focus?
I created my channel back in 2006, long before video "let's plays" were a thing. At that time it was just a place to send videos to my friends. I never intended Minecraft to become a focus but I fell in love with the game and so did my audience. It made sense to put more of a focus on Minecraft than other games.
When did you realise that your YouTube channel had become something that could provide a career rather than just being a hobby?
I realised pretty early on after starting lets play videos that it could be a career. Even though I still had another job and wasn't making much money doing YouTube, I could see the speed at which my channel started to grow. At that point I quit my job and put almost all my time into creating videos.
Your videos are largely focused on Minecraft - what makes that game so appealing to a YouTube audience?
Minecraft is so appealing because of all the different types of videos you can make within the game. I can come up with a new idea every week and do something that I have never done before. Not many other games offer you that freedom.
What kind of contact do you have with Mojang and Microsoft? Do they assist your channel in any way?
I have met with both Mojang and Microsoft on several occasions. I am also very close with 4J Studios who develop the console versions of Minecraft. They don't help my directly with my videos but they do often let me know what features will be added to the game before they announce it publicly.
You've never hidden your love of Nintendo - what would you say is your all-time favourite Nintendo console and your all-time favourite Nintendo game?
I know it only just came out but I would have to say that the Switch is my favourite Nintendo system; it's what I have always wanted from a console. I have the fondest memories of Pokémon Blue (Squirtle > Charmander/Bulbasaur, by the way) but I feel like Zelda: Breath of the Wild might become my favourite game of all time.
Many people are saying that Minecraft on Switch - despite not being as technically advanced as other editions - could be the perfect way to experience the game thanks to the hybrid nature of the system. Do you share a similar opinion?
I love playing Minecraft on the Switch, but I've not recorded many videos on it because it doesn't have my character skin. I mainly use to plan and set up videos while traveling.
There were many who predicted that Minecraft's appeal would be fleeting and that sooner or later the YouTube personalities who had grown up around the game would have to move on, but with the game and community showing no sign of slowing, do you think such doubters have been proven wrong?
I think that there has been a slight popularity dip in both the game and the content using it. It's to be expected though. I think Minecraft is a legacy franchise that will grow and dip in popularity but will be around for a very long time. When new updates or things like the Minecraft movie are released I expect it will draw a lot of people back.
What impact will this year's "Better Together" and graphical updates have on the community and your channel, and what does the future hold for Minecraft, in your opinion?
I have mixed feelings about the Better Together update. I have always loved the idea of there being one version of Minecraft that is the same on every platform. I however don't like the Bedrock version of the game compared to the current console version. I hope they are able to improve the Bedrock engine version so I don't feel like I am getting improvements with a compromise. There are also lots of issues with safety on its servers that the console versions have not had before - not to mention the lack of balance with PVP games online due to all of the different input methods on the different platforms.
Finally, do you have a special message for Nintendo Life readers and your many fans?
Thanks for having me on the site. The Nintendo community has to be the friendliest gaming community online so it's great to become a bigger part of it.
Thanks to Joseph for taking the time to speak to us.
Ninterviews are a series of interviews where we get to know interesting people with a passion for Nintendo. Please contact us if you have any suggestions for future Ninterviews. Click here to see the full series.