For Jack Igoe, it started with a TikTok. A simple 30-second Valorant clip taken from the Irishman’s 22nd birthday stream, which features him passionately renditioning Maroon 5’s ‘Moves Like Jagger’, while Skye flashing and mercilessly gunning down the enemy team, blew up overnight. What the man from Mayo didn’t realise, however, was just how quickly, and how dramatically, his life would change as a result.
Almost overnight, Igoe’s presence on the app ballooned, taking him from relative obscurity to a whopping 350,000 followers within the space of a few weeks. With over 430,000 followers at the time of writing – 150,000 more than the official Valorant TikTok account, and just 40,000 less than FPS royalty Michael ‘shroud’ Grzesiek for reference – and well over 80 million views across his videos to date, Igoe has quickly established himself as one of the biggest creators in the scene right now.
Having already spent more than his fair share of time operating within the esports industry – be it through his work with Team Serenity, or more recently flexing his casting chops – Igoe already had a pretty good idea of what makes good content tick. Having also taken up streaming during COVID lockdown, he possessed all the tools he’d need to blow up, though, like most successful creators, he was yet to find his niche.
Although he had been slowly putting out “shitpost” content prior to his first big video, Igoe’s first TikTok account didn’t take off in the way he had hoped when he began posting Valorant content, as his existing audience didn’t care for it.
“One thing I found with TikTok is, if your existing viewers are coming back and aren’t engaging or sitting through the first five-to-seven seconds of your content, it never hits the For You Page,” Igoe notes.
Once he created his current account back in January, Igoe set to work carving out his space in TikTok’s Valorant community, which has a monstrous 44.2 billion views on its hashtag alone. Within his first two weeks, he had already gone semi-viral with his first karaoke clip – which currently sits at over two million views – featuring him singing along to Smash Mouth’s iconic single ‘All Star’.
After muting up in-game due to toxic teammates, the creator whacked up the tunes and proceeded to run-and-gun the final enemy while straight-up vibing. “I remember having 15 viewers in the [Twitch] chat at the time,” Igoe recalls, “and they were spamming laughter.” Evidently, TikTok couldn’t resist the Irishman’s mid-round warbling either, and he immediately knew he was onto something.
“I caught on that I had found a niche for myself that I needed to exploit,” Igoe says, “or I was going to be making a serious mistake.” From there, the daily uploads began, and Igoe’s slowly-expanding audience kept coming back for more. However, for the Moves Like Jagger video to materialise, and Igoe to really blow up, there was still one flashy element missing.
It would not be long before Igoe found his muse, as he was one day pointed to Skye one-trick ‘aqib’ by his friends while he was trying to learn how to play her. He instantly became enamoured with aqib’s utterly disrespectful use of the agent’s flashes to get in close and dispatch their opponents as they flailed around helplessly. It’s evil. It’s twisted. But Igoe took the ‘aqib flash’ and, quite literally, ran with it.
With a Skye flash in-hand, a tune in his heart, and a camera on his face, the Moves Like Jagger clip was born. Since going viral at the beginning of June, Igoe has successfully bamboozled plenty of high elo players and even the odd streamer with his antics, meriting the same reaction from many: “how does this work? Why does this work?” And his audience loves it.
“I personally believe the reason my clips do as well as they do on TikTok is because it’s very easy, short form content to consume,” Igoe says, “and because it’s so obnoxiously stupid that it works.”
As more and more people flocked to Igoe’s content like moths to a flame (or Skye flashes to an enemy agent), doors began to open for the creator, and his relationships with not only Valorant developer Riot Games, but other creators in the scene have deepened as a result.
“It’s been mental,” Igoe stresses, “because I’ve met so many cool people – one of my favourite flexes now is that I got invited to a Discord server of UK creators and we play often.” Indeed, he’s certainly been enjoying his “15 seconds of fame”.
Additionally, Igoe tells us of the disbelief he felt when he had the opportunity to lobby up with musician and YouTube star Talia Mar. “That [the gravity of the situation] went over my head,” he chuckles. “I tweeted out that I’m playing with Talia Mar and Kay Wordley, and I was like ‘well I just got to tweet that’.”
Boasting over a billion active users each month, TikTok has become the new frontier for upcoming content creators to make their name on. But, as Igoe attests, it’s not a sustainable platform for those hoping to make a living from their craft. At the time of our chat, Igoe had the best part of 70 million views across his videos. But how much revenue did he have to show for it? A measly $6.27. For Igoe, though, the money isn’t important – it’s all about the audience.
You see, if you do want to make a living as a gaming content creator, there have traditionally only been two main options when it comes to video-based platforms: Twitch and YouTube. TikTok, Igoe says, is good for discoverability – something these two giants aren’t necessarily the greatest for.
So, if you’re a content creator on TikTok, how do you tempt your followers to come and check out your content elsewhere? Well, Igoe has a rather ingenious strategy for Twitch, and it involves the Spotify playlist that is the source of his karaoke powers.
“The big thing I get is people desperate for my playlist,” Igoe notes with a cheeky grin, “so I never made it easy to get on TikTok – I made a command [to access it] on my Twitch that I had on follower-only mode. So I kind of socially engineered my way to a better following [on Twitch], and from June to July I gained 15,000 followers. Back in December I was averaging 26 viewers, and for the month just gone by [June] I’m sitting at 116.” Igoe has even been able to apply to Twitch for a spot in its coveted Partner program.
However, as Igoe continues to grow his brand across multiple platforms – his YouTube channel now also added to the content mix – the creator is wary of the pressure to keep putting out bangers that comes with being in the spotlight.
“I had two lads ask ‘is everything ok?’ because I missed an upload,” Igoe recalls. “And I realised ‘shit, I’ve got a general recurring audience that wants to see my stuff’, and I realised that the big thing for me now is consistency.”
It’s not just uploading daily that will keep Igoe growing, either. Whereas a clip hitting 50,000 views was once a huge success, the creator says that it now constitutes an “absolute stinker”. A video with so few views relative to the rest of Igoe’s content, he says, most likely means it won’t make its way onto that all-important For You Page – at least not for long.
With the demands of content creation quickly taking over his life, Igoe knows he runs the risk of burning out, as he notes his struggle to juggle his content creation with the law degree he is set to finish this year. At the very least, he says he is taking steps to mitigate it on all fronts, especially when it comes to keeping his voice – the most important weapon in his arsenal – in top shape.
“There is a physical demand because at the end of the day I’m essentially a busker,” Igoe says. “I’m singing for however many hours a day, and it could be three-four streams [per week].” To prevent burning out his voice, Igoe ensures he takes Mondays and Thursdays off, and employs the vocal techniques he has accrued from his casting and presenting work to keep his pipes in pristine condition.
Above all, Igoe is cognizant of the fact that his content is a trend, so ensuring the longevity of his channel is the most important thing. Heading forward, then, musically-mutilating his enemies in the most audacious ways possible will be the key to his continued success on TikTok – at least that’s the plan. While the iron remains white hot, the creator is also doing his best to introduce the purple and red hues of Twitch and YouTube into the mix, with the hopes that success won’t be limited to a single shade.
Igoe also hopes that he will be able to utilise some of his newfound clout for good, with the seventh edition of the JackIgoeTV Charity Cup – a competition which has benefited charities and organisations close to him like COPE and Enable Ireland – well in the works.
“The big thing for me is to always help out others,” Igoe stresses, “because it [being in a disadvantaged position] is not an easy place to be. I needed help to get where I was – a friend of mine bought me a PC to get me to where I am now. I realised how often you need a shoulder to lean on, and to help offer that to people is a big thing, and it’s something I want to do more and more, especially as I’m growing in magnitude.”
Over the course of our chat, it became increasingly clear that Igoe has got his head firmly screwed on, and his heart is absolutely in the right place. Although he’s now playing with some of the biggest creators in the scene, Igoe remains fiercely loyal to his friends. Indeed, someone like Igoe hitting the big time is the kind of story we love to see, and we hope that both the content and the person behind it will continue to be a positive force within the community as Valorant itself continues to grow.