What do Jurassic Park, love hotels and Japan have in common? They all made an appearance in some shape or form on the viral YouTube channel, TheGamingBeaver. With over 3.6 million subscribers, the success of this dinosaur entertainment channel has propelled its creator, James Beavers, to embark on new horizons in the land of the rising sun. We chat with Beavers about how he first carved out his niche, the allure of the prehistoric and why Japan is a content goldmine.

Like most content creators of his generation, the YouTuber’s first encounter with the online video-sharing platform was through comedy channels such as Smosh. Having studied animation at university, he created Beaver Media, a channel dedicated to his own self-produced animation videos. Shortly after, however, a passion for gaming led him to the ‘let’s play’ community on the platform, where creators primarily share footage of themselves playing video games along with their reactions — and it’s really the reactions people come to see.

Passion Turned Obsession Turned Opportunity

It’s true that during the 1990s, when Beavers was growing up, dinosaurs were roaming around extensively in novels, comics, morning cartoons and movies alike. This was the golden age for franchises such as Jurassic Park as well as other popular films such as The Land Before Time. Many might think dinosaurs are a childhood fascination, but don’t be fooled; it’s something that has certainly stayed with many well into adulthood. Beavers’s audience serves as evidence of this.

After one video about a Jurassic Park mobile game went viral, Beavers’ content direction changed. This decision propelled his career forward.

“I was always known as the dinosaur man amongst my friends,” he says. “But it was seen as a weird quirk during high school. It wasn’t until I started YouTube that it allowed me to see what else was out there and that there were many people who liked dinosaurs too.”

Some career highlights have seen Beavers swap his gamer chair for the red carpet experience. He even scored an interview with American actor Jeff Goldblum, who plays Ian Malcolm in the Jurassic Park franchise.

Beyond the entertainment side, Beavers is also interested in the science of it all. He booked talks with the likes of Jim Kirkland, a paleontologist and geologist famous for his work in discovering and naming a variety of dinosaur species.

Since moving to Japan in 2022, with the support of talent management company GeeXPlus, Beavers has been able to film more IRL content, incorporating the sights and sounds of the country while still making it relevant and interesting to his community.

He was recently invited by the Toyohashi Museum of Natural History to video the dinosaur exhibition as well as the Pokémon Fossil Museum exhibitions, still touring Japan until the summer of 2023. In another, he stayed at Hotel Artia, a chain of hotels in Japan themed around, you guessed it, dinosaurs. Beavers has even visited the Kaiju king himself, Godzilla, at the world’s first Godzilla Museum on Awaji Island.

From a content creator’s perspective, Beavers is grateful for all of the opportunities he’s had in Japan. “There’s so much to do and see here, which is very different to the small town I’m from in England,” he says.


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Advice From The Gaming Beaver

Beavers admits he had a wobbly start with YouTube. He cites social anxiety as an early challenge that he was able to overcome only through practice, making more videos and developing a presenter’s personality, especially for in-person events such as conventions. Having been on the internet for a long time, Beavers has solid advice to offer those interested in pursuing it as a career.

“If you’re still at high school, I’d say wait until you’re a bit older. Because the stuff you make now will be cringe,” he says jokingly. ‘The only thing I can say is to find your niche because that’s like finding your personality. Stay true to it to help separate yourself from the rest. Whatever actual tips I can give that I’ve used, probably wouldn’t work anymore as YouTube is constantly changing. So it’s best to find your own path, one that no one else can follow.”

He warns us to never do it for money. Authenticity is key and if one isn’t genuine, it’s easy for viewers to see right through that.

“I’m like a dinosaur myself,” he says. “I put in the hard work, but I stick to what I know and what I’m good at, which is YouTube. Times are changing and things like IRL streaming are becoming more of a ‘thing’ and I have been dipping my toes into that. But what’s key to me is whether I enjoy something or not, rather than just following a trend.”