Seán “Jacksepticeye” McLoughlin is one of YouTube’s biggest gaming personalities, with more than 27 million subscribers. But the Irish YouTuber has been taking a break from gaming content recently — it’s been a month since his last gaming video, an eon in the world of the YouTube algorithm.
Polygon interviewed McLoughlin as part of the release of the Disney movie Free Guy, which features a Jacksepticeye cameo. We spoke to him about his recent hiatus from making games content, and asked him when he plans to return to making videos.
“I think I’ll take a break for a little longer from it. It’s one of those things that I can always come back to, but right now I don’t really know what I’d even play,” McLoughlin said.
McLoughlin’s last video with gameplay was published on June 13, and his last before that premiered at the end of May, a big contrast to his old schedule of uploading videos every day, or every other day. In his videos, McLoughlin buzzes with energy, often shouting as he comments on the game as he plays.
In the past year he’s picked up titles ranging from Subnautica: Below Zero to Resident Evil Village, and equips his gameplay videos with clicky titles like, “LADY DIMITRESCU LICKED MY HAND.” He also used to regularly stream Among Us with the likes of Corpse Husband and Rachell “Valkyrae” Hofstetter.
Unlike the slow-burn of a stream that might unfold over the course of hours, McLoughlin’s videos are heavily edited. Dramatic cuts and constant color commentary help maintain even the shortest of attention spans. Editing in such detail for so long — the YouTuber’s videos range in length, but generally run anywhere from 45 minutes for an hour — has taken its toll.
“I feel like I’ve done it so often for so long that I just burnt myself out on it,” McLoughlin said. “I feel like if I’m not putting the the energy that I’m known for; the energy that I like to put into my content, then I’d rather just take a step back from it and do something else.”
Since then, the creator has dabbled in creating new kinds of videos. On July 21, he posted a video titled “15 MONTHS” that was a moody and atmospheric exploration of his time during the pandemic — the dead opposite of the kind of frenetic, shouty content he is known for. “I wanted to just get a bit more creative and do things that challenged me a bit more and got me out of my comfort zone,” he said.
This doesn’t mean he won’t return to making gaming content.
“When the new God of War and things like that come out, I obviously want to play those,” he said. “But right now, it’s just kind of nice. I think with the pandemic going on, it was great at the beginning; ‘Oh, well we work from home anyway, I can just do that and just keep it going.’ But the fact that the freedom of being able to go out and do other things was taken away — I don’t know, [that] burnt me out even harder.”
McLoughlin said that now things feel like they’re going back to normal for him, it’s been nice to meet up with friends and take a break. He’s taking the time to make sure he’s in the best mental space, rather than pushing himself to, “keep doing this thing because, I don’t know, I’ve set this self-imposed limit on myself.”