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Pew? Die? Pie? So how did it all start, and why did this man become so popular?

Reading time4 mins reading
Fun stuff
6/8/2022

If you are into gaming, you have certainly heard the name PewDiePie. But if it’s not one of your hobbies, you may have no clue who this person is. 

Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, aka PewDiePie, is one of the most popular YouTubers. He is a 32-year-old blogger known primarily for his “Let's Play” videos and comedic formatted shows. 

Felix was born in Sweden, then moved to England to live a quieter and more anonymous life, and last month he moved to Japan after the country relaxed its COVID-19 entry rules for some visa holders.

So how did it all start, and why did this man become so popular?

One of his first publications to become a hit was his play-by-play video of the beloved game Minecraft in 2010. After dropping out of college, Kjellberg decided to pursue a career with his YouTube channel at a time when being a YouTuber wasn't seen as a viable career path. Kjellberg's parents refused to support him financially, and to earn money for his YouTube passion, he worked at a hot-dog stand and sold his artwork.

By December 2011, PewDiePie had already reached 60,000 subscribers and quit his gig at the hot-dog stand. By August 2013, he became the most-subscribed YouTuber. After being briefly surpassed in late 2013 by YouTube Spotlight, he held the title until early 2019, when he publicly vied for it with the Indian record label T-Series. The latter established a significant lead in April of that year. However, Kjellberg's channel remains the second-most-subscribed on the platform, having received over 105 million subscribers as of May 29, 2020. 

In 2016, Time magazine named him one of the world's 100 most influential people.

As of May 27, 2020, his channel has received over 25 billion views, ranking as the 16th-most-viewed channel on the platform. 

Unlike conventional walkthroughs, PewDiePie devoted his “Let's Play” videos to communicating more personally with his viewers. Variety says that Kjellberg "acts like he's spending time with a friend. He begins each video introducing himself in a high-pitched, goofy voice, drawing out the vowels of his YouTube moniker, then delves into the videos."

The blogger’s behavior and manners are not annoying, and his enthusiastic reactions can make people like him. However, there has been a trend of honesty in the past years, and either PewDiePie has started it himself or he is following the example of others. Regardless, it doesn’t matter because he knows the audience will not enjoy sugarcoating, so he doesn’t make it.

theguardian.com
Source: theguardian.com

Influence on video games

Kjellberg has supported video games from indie developers, often played through such titles in his videos. His commentaries have positively affected sales of indie games, with The Washington Post writing, "Game makers have observed a kind of Oprah effect.” The developers of an indie game, McPixel, stated, "The largest force driving attention to McPixel at that time was 'Let's Play' videos, primarily by PewDiePie and Jesse Cox."

Kjellberg is also confirmed to have positively influenced the sales of Slender: The Eight Pages and Goat Simulator.

PewDiePie’s Net Worth

The only person who knows PewDiePie’s net worth is Felix himself. However, many attempts have estimated it over the last few years. His income rose each year from 2010 until 2016, by which time Forbes estimated he was YouTube’s highest earner, taking in $15 million that year.

And we haven’t yet mentioned that he has . . . 110,000,000 subscribers. Can you imagine that? 

Random facts

  • Kjellberg initially registered a YouTube account under the name "Pewdie" in 2006. He explained that "Pew" represents the sound of lasers and "die" refers to death. However, after forgetting the password to this account, he registered the "PewDiePie" YouTube channel on April 29, 2010.
  • PewDiePie is the number one YouTube influencer according to Influencer Marketing Hub “The Top 40 YouTube Influencers who have established Personal Empires” (he calls his fan base the Bro Army).

PewDiePie is famous because he gives his audience exactly what they want - being non-family-friendly and politically incorrect. The star has landed himself in hot water several times when making anti-Semitic remarks and racial slurs, and in 2016 PewDiePie was temporarily blocked from Twitter after joking he had joined the Islamic State group. He is an excellent example for brands to realize that you should do your homework first and ensure that your product and an influencer you work with are a perfect fit. 

Anywho, Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg shows that there is a way to make your passion your profession – do what you love, never stop believing in your dream and remember you will find followers no matter what. Because you know what they say: Let there be some content, and there will be a viewer.

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