‘Video Game High School’ Season 3: Watch Free on YouTube Weekly, or Pay to Binge

Video Game High School,” the action-comedy web series that became a YouTube hit, will bow its third and final season on Monday, Oct. 13.

Season three of “VGHS” will again be available free on YouTube, with each of the six episodes launching weekly. But this time around, superfans of the show — set in a world where pro videogaming is the world’s No. 1 spectator sport — will be able to pay to binge-watch the full season out of the gate: Season three will be $12.99 for all six episodes or $2.99 per episode, available to purchase on Vimeo to be followed by Google Play and Xbox Video.

“For sure, I think we’ll get more (revenue) from digital downloads, given the (advertising) rates on YouTube,” said Freddie Wong, co-founder of RocketJump who created “VGHS” with Matt Arnold.

For YouTube, “VGHS” is representative of the kind of higher-value programming it wants to promote to Madison Avenue. “Video Game High School” is currently featured in a Google ad campaign that includes digital, TV, print ads and billboards in New York, L.A. and Chicago.

The first two seasons of “Video Game High School” have racked up more than 84 million views on YouTube. Now that the franchise has a sizable fanbase, Collective Digital Studio, which produced season three along with RocketJump, decided to try a transactional distribution model. Beyond the initial window on YouTube and download-to-own sites, CDS and RocketJump are exploring other licensing deals, including international syndication and subscription VOD (the first two season of “VGHS” have been licensed by Netflix).

The third season of “VGHS” will have a final cost of around $2.4 million to $2.5 million, according to Wong — up from a budget of $1.4 million for season two and $600,000 for season one. RocketJump raised $898,144 for “VGHS 3” on crowdfunding site Indiegogo, with CDS also financing the project.

With the bigger budget, the final season of “VGHS” has better visual effects, Wong promised — including an explosion fueled by 200 gallons of gasoline. Still, he noted, “it’s very low budget for an action movie.” Wong is a longtime YouTuber who converted his freddiew channel into the official YouTube home of Rocket Jump, with 7 million subscribers.

The series follows the adventures of pro gamer Brian D (Josh Blaylock) and his friends at Video Game High School, an elite competitive gaming academy, with a mix of drama, comedy and big explosions. “VGHS” season three will feature cameos from latenight host Conan O’Brien and skateboarder Tony Hawk along with other guest appearances.

“From a story perspective, it was the natural end of the arc,” Wong said, explaining why season three is the last installment. Also: “We didn’t want to have 40-year-old high school students.”

“VGHS” season three was shot in Southern California, including at YouTube Space LA and in the Mojave Desert, in February and March 2014.

RocketJump’s next big project is “Dimension 404,” being produced under its pact with Lionsgate, which Wong described as “a ‘Twilight Zone’ for the modern digital age.” (On the web, a “404” error means the requested page can’t be found.) The companies haven’t determined if the half-hour series will debut first on TV, or on digital platforms.

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  1. Hunter says:

    When will this be available to purchase on Xbox?

  2. goldenboy62 says:

    The one thing you can count on with core fans is that they will pay for the things they want, and they will also pay to see it first (I know I’m seriously thinking about it.) For all of us out here trying to make films FreddieW is a true inspiration. I wish him all the success in the world, and I don’t mind supporting him. VGHS has been a fun ride.

  3. Blonde, blue-eyed Jesus says:

    I’m surprised that their young audience would pay for a full season, considering they are the generation that doesn’t think twice about downloading ANY content for free. Ten minutes after this is released, it will be available via torrent. I’m sure Freddie Wong knows that, but I’d be curious to know how sales break down for paying customers. Obviously, his business model is still holding up (probably from the licensing agreements from companies run by old guys who don’t understand torrenting!).

    I would think that an interactive element would be a no-brainer extra for those who purchase the series — i.e., if you buy the season subscription, you get access to an actual game online with players from around the world.

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