VIENNA, Ohio (WKBN) – College jobs, like washing dishes or bussing tables, are not often very glamorous. But one Youngstown State student found a unique way to make ends meet while earning his degree.
Tyler McVicker is a 20-year-old junior studying journalism but on YouTube, he’s known as the Valve News Network. His channel is paying his way through college.
Walk into McVicker’s home and you instantly know he likes video games.
Six years ago, he uploaded his first video on YouTube under the name Valve News Network. Since June of 2014, McVicker has been making money through uploading videos and other online platforms.
“I want to disprove the rumor that it’s just getting paid to play video games,” he said. “I actually don’t play video games that often. I spend more time reading code.”
The YSU student works out of his Vienna home. He’s able to make house payments and pay for school, thanks to the money generated from his YouTube channel, where he searches through publicly-available video game code and reports on what’s happening with the video game company Valve.
“The only way this company actually communicates is through like, ‘Oh, they released a new level for Counterstrike.’ But when they did, they accidentally released some code that hints on some other stuff they’re working on,” McVicker said.
Valve News Network has just short of a quarter of a million subscribers. Most of McVicker’s videos get well over 100,000 views — some get close to 1 million.
McVicker said he puts in about 100 hours weekly into VNN.
“It’s nonstop. Weekends, holidays — there’s no break.”
Timing was everything for him. McVicker said he started making videos when he could still create his own niche.
“I’m comfortable to say I think I figured it out a little bit. There’s always room to grow. I don’t want to say I got lucky, but I made the right choice years ago, planting the flag in the Valve News department.”
Today’s popularity is not what he expected to get when he began in 2011.
“It may be a job that you have to put 90 percent of your life into, but I love it,” he said.
McVicker said he’ll continue YouTubing at least through college. As far as a career, he hopes to land in the marketing field for a video game company.