The untold truth of VanossGaming

The VanossGaming YouTube channel is one of the largest on the platform. And if you're into the video game scene on YouTube, there's a good chance you've watched some of Vanoss' videos on Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty. The man behind the channel, Evan Fong, is a Canadian of both Chinese and Korean descent who enjoys making content about video games with his friends.

And there's a whole lot more you can learn about him — and the work he does — that you won't easily find anywhere else.

Below, you'll learn the lesser-known facts about VanossGaming, including what Evan was doing before he started creating content on YouTube, and exactly how successful he's been since he became a full-time YouTuber. And on top of that, you'll learn about a few side projects Evan has been involved in over the past few years, and a secret career he's tried to keep separate from his YouTube brand.

This is the untold truth of VanossGaming.

Vanoss used to play hockey

Vanoss is Canadian. And if there's one thing often attributed to Canadians, it's their love of hockey. It shouldn't come as a total shock, then, that Vanoss is a huge hockey enthusiast who spent several years playing in the Ontario Junior Hockey League. In fact, he launched his YouTube channel all the way back in 2011, but didn't devote a lot of time to it. His focus was hockey, and his goal was to go pro.

That dream never came to pass. Today, he's a talented media personality and a skilled entrepreneur. But you're probably wondering, "Is he good at hockey?" The answer is, yeah, he's pretty good.

Over the three-year span Vanoss played in the OJHL, he put on a uniform for four different teams: the Villanova Knights, Vaughan Vipers, Dixie BeeHives, and Aurora Tigers. And over the course of his junior hockey career, Vanoss played in a total of 127 games, racking up 24 goals, 49 assists, and 73 points.

Vanoss will sometimes reminisce online about his hockey-playing days. But now, he's scoring on a different kind of net. And he's pretty good at that, too.

He worked on the game Dead Realm

Not everything can be a winner, though. Vanoss has certainly mastered the ways of YouTube. And he's figured out a way to make second-hand gaming entertaining to those who tune in. But actually making a game might not be in his skill set — at least, not if Dead Realm is any indication.

Dead Realm is described as a multiplayer horror game in which players are divided up into two teams: "the living and the undead," according to the game's Steam page. Vanoss — along with fellow YouTubers SeaNanners and TheSyndiateProject — was a partner on the game, which launched into Steam Early Access in summer 2015. Since then, Dead Realm has been reviewed nearly 4,000 times. And the majority of those reviews are "Mixed."

One recent player claims the game is "as dead as the name implies." Another said they "tried it and it was really fun." One thing many of the reviews share in common, good and bad, is the feeling that the game is dead — as in, no one is playing it anymore. And judging from the fact that the official Dead Realm website displays nothing more than a blank white screen, it's safe to say they're probably right. The game was last updated in June 2017, and there's been nothing in the way of news about it since.

In 2015, his income was pegged at $300,000 a month

A few years back in 2015, the CBC took a look at the YouTube channel of VanossGaming to try and make sense of things. How could it be that someone who talked over clips of video games for a living had more subscribers than Ellen DeGeneres? And more importantly, how much money was he making as a result?

The news company reached out to a source who had familiarity with YouTube's payment system and received some startling news back. Based on the 11 million subscribers that Vanoss had at the time, his income was likely in the ballpark of $300,000 per month.

That's a lot of money.

Vanoss went on the record with the CBC to talk about why he thought his channel was popular, stating that "there's not really anything on TV" if you're someone looking for video-game-related content. That, he believed, was what set his content apart from the shows one might find on cable. "Viewers really like the authentic type of content from regular people just playing games because they can relate to that."

He was YouTube's second-highest earner in 2017

If 2015 was good to VanossGaming, then there was a pretty good chance that later years would be even better if trends held. They did, and Vanoss saw huge earnings in 2017.

How huge? He was the second-highest earner on YouTube period — just behind fellow gamer DanTDM. And from that second spot, he pulled in a grand total of $15.5 million for 2017 alone.

At the time the Forbes of top YouTubers was compiled — which was toward the end of the year — the site had calculated a bunch of impressive stats about Vanoss' channel. For instance, he'd pulled in over 8.4 billion views on his channel since its inception, and his channel was the 24th-most-subscribed with nearly 22 million people signing up to catch his latest videos.

He studied economics in college before dropping out

The University of Pennsylvania, located in Philadelphia, is an Ivy League school that has graduated some of the brightest in the nation's history. It was founded by Benjamin Franklin, and boasts several Declaration of Independence signers, three Supreme Court justices, and two US Presidents as alumni.

It was also the school that VanossGaming attended as a student of economics. That is, until he realized that his YouTube channel was taking off, and he stood to make far more money creating content online than he would with his degree.

Prior to dropping out, his parents expressed concerns that YouTube was taking up too much study time. And as the channel grew, Vanoss himself kept school open as an option — at least until he felt his YouTube income was enough to sustain a career.

"It was something they weren't always fully supportive of," Vanoss told the CBC. "But I was very conservative. I never wanted to stop university and risk that opportunity. So what I did was I made sure I was successful enough on YouTube before I (dropped out). I probably stopped school a lot later than most full-time YouTubers did."

Based on his success, that decision turned out to be a good one.

He was #3 on Forbes' 2017 list of the Top 10 Biggest Influencers in Gaming

If you look through the 2017 edition of Forbes' Top 10 Gaming Infleuncers list, you're bound to see some familiar names. Markiplier captured the first spot, for instance. PewDiePie is #2 on the list, though one could argue he's just as well known for his controversies as he is for his content. You may even recognize DanTDM at #7, who we've written about previously.

Everyone on the list collectively reaches around 228 million people, which is not an insignificant sum. And VanossGaming, who was a mere hockey-playing economics student just a few short years ago, holds the #3 spot.

What does being an influencer in video games mean, exactly? In terms of being a content creator, it can mean a lot in terms of revenue. Game publishers, hardware makers, and retailers are often looking to team with those who create video game content so they can reach the widest audience possible. These partnerships often take the form of sponsorships, which can mean anything from free stuff to pay contracts.

They're another source of income outside of YouTube ad revenue, which means that Vanoss is likely making some serious dough.

He released music under the pseudonym "Rynx"

We know that VanossGaming's real name is Evan Fong. VanossGaming is a moniker, of sorts — a nickname used by Fong for his YouTube channel. And it's not uncommon for content creators to use a pseudonym for their work. It's sometimes a branding move. After all, Shawn Carter just sounds like a normal name. Jay-Z? That's way more memorable.

But here's the thing about Evan. He doesn't just make video game content for YouTube. He also makes music. And it's not a widely known fact in the video game community because he doesn't release his music under the VanossGaming brand. Instead, he goes by Rynx. And unless you know where to look, it's nearly impossible to tie the two together.

Once you travel down the Rynx rabbit hole, you'll discover that Evan has released a few tracks as well as music videos. And he has a Spotify page with over 1.3 million monthly listeners in July 2018. For some context, Jay-Z — who we referenced earlier — had nearly 8 million monthly listeners for the same month.

So Rynx is doing pretty well. And you'd never know it by looking at the Vanoss Twitter, which makes absolutely no mention of Evan's music career. Crazy.

He voiced his Vanoss character in YouTube Red's Paranormal Action Squad

And that isn't all Vanoss has been dabbling in. In addition to video game content and music videos, Vanoss has been involved in a few different online TV shows. The most famous show by far was called Paranormal Action Squad, a series that ran in 2016 on the YouTube Red platform. In that series, which spanned eight episodes, Vanoss joined fellow YouTubers SeaNanners and Mr_Sark in voicing characters. Vanoss' character was, quite amusingly, Vanoss, the owl-headed neighbor of Paul and Eddie (voiced by SeaNanners and Mr_Sark, respectively).

But that's not the only show Vanoss appeared in. He also voiced the character Vanoss in a mini-series called The Magic Tomato, another mini-series called Team 6, and a show called Vanoss Superhero School. And he earned credits for both writing and producing Vanoss Superhero School, too.

To put it plainly, Vanoss seems like he's had a lot of new things on his plate these past few years, all while continuing to release new content on the VanossGaming YouTube channel.