Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg has surpassed 100 million subscribers on YouTube, making it the first individual creator to do this.
Kjellberg has been one of the most successful creators in the history of the platform, shaping what is happening on the site and extending its reach to a book deal, talk show appearances and sponsorship. But his fame was hampered by controversies such as the use of racist language and anti-Semitic images.
The milestone of the subscribers came almost nine years after the publication of the first video from Kjellberg, although his turnout was particularly sharp and turbulent last year: his channel grew rapidly from around 65 million subscribers last August when he and his fans were busy with a race with a different channel, the Indian music label T-Series. It started facetiously and sometimes included racist language from supporters that led to the subscriber contest being referred to during a massive shooting.
From 2013 to a few months ago, the Kjellberg channel had the title for most subscribers on YouTube; he was overtaken by T-Series in March, but he remains tens of millions of subscribers ahead of any other maker. T-Series became the first video channel to pass 100 million subscribers earlier this year.
Although having 100 million subscribers does not translate into 100 million viewers who tune into each video, Kjellberg has undeniably one of the largest audiences on YouTube, and the choices he makes directly determine what is happening on the platform. When he first started his channel almost ten years ago, he revolutionized gaming on YouTube. More recently, his channel looked more like a variety series, with Kjellberg going through memes, commenting on YouTube culture, and responding to other videos.
The milestone was reached late Saturday night and the moment was set by fans and other YouTubers using the analysis site Social Blade & # 39; s real-time subscriber counter. The official YouTube account tweeted a festive video that shortly afterwards congratulated Kjellberg and emphasized other milestones in his career on the platform, including his time as Let & Play's YouTuber and even a reference to Kjellberg's feud with the T series .
Kjellberg called the milestone & # 39; an unreal performance & # 39; in a tweet on Monday morning. "I don't feel worthy, but I am always grateful," he wrote. In a video for the milestone, Kjellberg thanked his subscribers and expressed respect for the upcoming performance. "I still don't believe it," he said. "Before YouTube, I was that weird kid without friends, and suddenly so many people enjoy what I do."
Major makers such as James Charles, Jacksepticeye, Anthony Padilla, MrBeast, Craig Thompson and even The room director Tommy Wiseau congratulated Kjellberg on Twitter. Many of them talked about growing up to Kjellberg and talked about how intertwined he is with YouTube as a culture.
PewDiePie is a YouTube staple, although controversial both on and off the platform. In recent years, Kjellberg has taken into account worldwide criticism of publishing one video with anti-Semitic images, the use of a racist lie during a live live streamand make offensive remarks in a diss track against T-Series. Kjellberg has apologized over the years, but he is still confronted with the consequences.
YouTube has canceled its YouTube Red series, Scare PewDiePie, in 2017, after using anti-Semitic images in his video. He was also removed from Google's top advertising program, Google Preferred. Kjellberg said it was "a rocky road" for his channel in his recent milestone video.
"Looking back, I feel rather stupid about it, and how much it was not worth," Kjellberg said. "In short, I am sorry for all the bad things I have done. I just want to play Minecraft. "
Kjellberg seemed to be struggling with his impact on his audience. Sometimes he used it to encourage his fans to donate to charities, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years for Charity: Water, Child Rights and You and others. But he has also enhanced anti-Semitic rhetoric to potentially dangerous effects, such as Vox pointed out.
In recent months, Kjellberg has transformed its channel to re-establish itself Minecraft. The video & # 39; s, sometimes longer than 20 minutes, take place as episodes in a TV series. Kjellberg said making them has brought him more joy than anything else he has been working on, according to some of his recent videos on the subject.
It's a bit ironic, and it may say something about how cyclical YouTube is, after surpassing 100 million subscribers and approaching Kjellberg & # 39; s 10-year anniversary as a creator, the PewDiePie channel has returned to gaming. Kjellberg noticed this in his vlog and said, "I feel like I'm completely done with the channel now, coming back to gaming." Minecraft will ensure that viewers don't come back forever, but for now he says he's happy to have & # 39; uplifting content & # 39; to make.
Reaching 100 million subscribers became an endgame for so many fans. The fact that it happened amid a major shift on his channel – and personal events, such as his wedding last week – has led people to speculate that Kjellberg is preparing to leave YouTube. Kjellberg recently said that he is looking forward to some free time and taking his first serious break in years, but he plans to stay.
"I still really enjoy YouTube and I have no intention of stopping," Kjellberg said. "I really think it would be good for me to take a break at some point … it would be nice not to have YouTube in my head for the first time."