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Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg[11] (/ˈʃɛlbɜːrɡ/ SHEL-burg,[12] Swedish: [ˈfeːlɪks ˈarːvɪd ɵlf ²ɕɛlːbærj] (listen);[3] born 24 October 1989),[14] known online as PewDiePie (/ˈpjuːdipaɪ/ PEW-dee-py), is a Swedish YouTuber, comedian, and gamer–commentator known for his YouTube video content, which mainly consists of Let's Play videos and comedic formatted shows.

Born in Gothenburg, Sweden, Kjellberg originally pursued a degree in industrial economics and technology management at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg. In 2010, during his time at the university, he registered a YouTube account under the name PewDiePie. The following year, he dropped out of Chalmers after losing interest in his degree field. After failing to earn an apprenticeship with an advertising agency in Scandinavia, he then decided to focus on creating content for his YouTube channel. In order to fund his videos, Kjellberg sold prints of his Photoshop art and worked at a hot dog stand. He soon gathered a rapidly increasing online following, and in July 2012, his channel surpassed one million subscribers.

On 15 August 2013, Kjellberg became the most-subscribed user on YouTube, being briefly surpassed in late 2013 by YouTube Spotlight and several times in early 2019 by Indian record label T-Series before being fully overtaken by the company. From 29 December 2014 to 14 February 2017, Kjellberg's channel was the most-viewed YouTube channel. As of August 2019, the channel has received over 101 million subscribers and 23 billion video views, ranking as the second-most subscribed and eleventh-most viewed on the platform, as well as the most subscribed and viewed channel to be operated by a single individual.[15][16][17]

Kjellberg's most noted YouTube content is his Let's Play commentaries, traditionally of horror video games and more recently, Minecraft, although he often produces other forms of comedic content. His content has been praised as genuine and unfiltered, but also received as abrasive, and in some cases met with controversy. As a result of an early-2017 controversy regarding allegedly antisemitic content in several of Kjellberg's videos, Maker Studios—the multi-channel network (MCN) he was signed to—ended their partnership with him. While he criticized the coverage of the situation and defended his content as jokes that were taken out of context, he conceded its offensiveness.

Kjellberg has raised money for charities, encouraging his audience to donate to charity drives. Due to his popularity, his coverage of indie games has created an Oprah effect, boosting sales for titles he plays. In 2016, Time named him one of "The World's 100 Most Influential People".[18] Kjellberg lives in Brighton and Hove with his wife, internet personality and fashion designer Marzia Kjellberg.[19]

Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg

(1989-10-24)24 October 1989
Gothenburg, Sweden
ResidenceBrighton and Hove, England
  • YouTuber
Marzia Bisognin (m. 2019)
YouTube information
Years active2006–present
Subscribers101 million
Total views23.5 billion
NetworkNone (formerly Machinima and later Maker Studios)
Associated acts
  • Jacksepticeye
  • Jack Douglass
  • Marzia Kjellberg
  • Markiplier
  • MrBeast
  • CinnamonToastKen
Play buttons
YouTube Silver Play Button 2.svg100,000 subscribers2012[1]
YouTube Gold Play Button 2.svg1,000,000 subscribers2012[2]
YouTube Diamond Play Button.svg10,000,000 subscribers2013[8]
YouTube Ruby Play Button 2.svg50,000,000 subscribers2016[9]
YouTube Red Diamond Play Button.svg100,000,000 subscribers2019[10]
Updated 12 September 2019
Websiterepresent.com/pewdiepie [339]
Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg Signature.svg

Early life and education

Kjellberg studied at Chalmers University of Technology

Kjellberg studied at Chalmers University of Technology

Kjellberg was born and raised in Gothenburg, Sweden.[20] He was born to Lotta Kristine Johanna (née Hellstrand, born 7 May 1958) and Ulf Christian Kjellberg (born 8 January 1957), and grew up with his older sister Fanny.[21] His mother, a former CIO, was named the 2010 CIO of the Year in Sweden.[21] His father is also a corporate executive.[22]

During his early schooling life, he was interested in art, and has detailed that he would draw popular video game characters such as Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog, as well as play video games on his Super Nintendo Entertainment System.[14][23] During high school, he would skip classes to play video games at an Internet café with friends.[23] He then went on to pursue a degree in industrial economics and technology management at Chalmers University of Technology, but left the university in 2011.[24][13] While his reason for leaving Chalmers has often been reported as a want to focus on his YouTube career,[24] in 2017, Kjellberg clarified that he left because of his lack of interest in his course, and perceived the idea of leaving university to pursue a YouTube career as "fucking stupid".[25]

Kjellberg has also shared his enjoyment of Adobe Photoshop, wanting to work on photo manipulation art using the program rather than be in school.[25] Following this passion, he entered Photoshop contests and almost earned an apprenticeship at a prominent Scandivanian advertising agency.[25] He was also interested in creating content on YouTube, and after not earning the apprenticeship, he sold limited edition prints of his Photoshopped images in order to purchase a computer to work on YouTube videos.[25]

Internet career

YouTube content format

Early in his career, Kjellberg's content mainly consisted of videos under the Let's Play umbrella.[26] His commentaries of horror games made up his best known content during this early stage, although he eventually expanded out of this niche while having his channel maintain a mostly gaming identity.[27] Unlike conventional walkthroughs, Kjellberg devoted his Let's Play videos to "sharing gaming moments on YouTube with my fam."[28] Variety details that "PewDiePie 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."[26] ESPN noted that Kjellberg typically performed a "Brofist" gesture at the end of his videos.[29] Kjellberg often referred to his fan base as the "Bro Army" and addresses his audience as "bros".[30] Later on during his YouTube career, Kjellberg stopped referring to his fan base as the "Bro Army", and began frequently using the terms "Squad Fam", and later "9 year olds", in his videos.[31][32]

As his channel grew, he began to branch out in terms of his video content, uploading vlogs, in addition to live-action and animated comedy shorts.[23] Kjellberg has also uploaded music onto his channel, often accompanied by an animation or fan art. Regarding his music videos, Kjellberg has collaborated with The Gregory Brothers (also known as Schmoyoho), Roomie, and Party in Backyard.[33][34][35]

Production and output

During the early portion of his YouTube career, Kjellberg refused to hire any editor or outside assistance to help with his video output; stating, "I want YouTube to be YouTube."[36] In October 2014, Swedish magazine Icon detailed that "he has no manager, no assistant, or friend to help out with work-related contacts."[37] That month however, while speaking to Rhett and Link on their Ear Biscuits podcast, Kjellberg expressed that he would seek an editor in 2015.[38] In 2016, Kjellberg thanked two other content creators for "helping [him] out with videos".[39] In February 2017, Kjellberg stated in his My Response video, "I'm just a guy. It's literally just me. There's not a producer out there [...] there's no writer, there's no camera guy."[40] The following month, Kjellberg expressed he was looking for a U.K.-based production assistant.[39] In July, Kjellberg commented that a couple months prior, he had an office and a limited number of employees to assist with his content creation.[41] Fellow YouTuber Brad Smith, known for his work on the World of Orange channel,[42] was noted to have been an editor on Kjellberg's videos for nearly five years; Smith moved on to his own projects away from the channel in July 2019.[43]

Kjellberg has been noted by both himself and media outlets to put out videos with a high frequency, a practice he first scaled down in 2014.[36] By early 2017, he had uploaded almost 3,500 videos to his channel, around 400 of which have been made private.[44] Kjellberg has been frequently cited for making videos and statements expressing his feelings of burnout from frequently creating content for the platform, and its effect on his mental health.[45][46] In March 2017, Kjellberg commented that his channel was running on a daily output, stating, "[there's] a lot of challenges in doing daily content, [...] but I still really, really love the daily challenge—the daily grind—of just being like, 'hey, I'm gonna make a video today, no matter what.' And sometimes it really works, and sometimes it doesn't."[47]

On the technical aspect of his videos, Kjellberg spoke about how his early videos would feature raw footage, although he later began to dedicate time to edit his videos.[48] Icon noted that he uses Adobe Premiere Pro to edit his videos.[37]


The nature of Kjellberg's video content has been described by various outlets as goofy, energetic, obnoxious and filled with profanity.[49][50][51][52] However, many of the same outlets concede that Kjellberg's content is genuine and unfiltered.[49][52] Chris Reed of The Wall St. Cheat Sheet said it contained "off-the-cuff running commentary that's characterised by goofy jokes, profanity and loud outbursts."[52] Walker wrote Kjellberg's "chosen mode of sharing his critique happens to be ribald entertainment, an unmediated stream of blurted jokes, startled yelps, goofy voices, politically incorrect comments and pretty much nonstop profanity."[49] Reed adds that these aspects of Kjellberg's videos are what critics find most abrasive, but what fans love the most.[52] Kjellberg resorts occasionally to gameplay, resulting in silent or emotional commentary;[49][52] his playthrough of The Last of Us, it was detailed, left the usually vocal gamer speechless at the ending.[52][53]

In 2016, he examined his older videos and while noting the stylistic changes he had undergone, he expressed specific regret for his casual use of words like gay or retarded in a derogatory sense.[54] In December 2016, Kotaku's Patricia Hernandez wrote about his stylistic changes, explaining that "over the last year, the PewDiePie channel has also had an underlying friction, as Kjellberg slowly distances himself from many of the things that made him famous. He's doing fewer Let's Plays of horror games like Amnesia," and adding, "the PewDiePie of 2016 can still be immature, sure, but [...] a defining aspect of recent PewDiePie videos is existential angst, as he describes the bleak reality of making content for a machine he cannot fully control or understand."[55]

In August 2017, Kjellberg called himself "just a guy making jokes on the Internet."[56] In September, Justin Charity of The Ringer stated, "PewDiePie isn't a comedian in any conventional sense," but described his "hosting style [as] loopy and irreverent in the extreme: He's a little bit stand-up, a little bit shock jock, a little bit 4chan bottom-feeder."[56]


Early years (2006–2012)

Kjellberg originally registered a YouTube account under the name "Pewdie" in 2006; he explained that "pew" represents the sound of lasers and "die" refers to death.[14][29][57] After forgetting the password to this account, he registered the "PewDiePie" YouTube channel on 29 April 2010.[29] After he dropped out of Chalmers, his parents refused to support him,[29] and as a result, he funded his early videos by selling prints of his Photoshop art, as well as working at a hot dog stand.[25][58] Kjellberg stated that the ability to make videos was more important to him than working in a prestigious career.[58] Five years later, Kjellberg recalled, "I knew people were big at other types of videos, but there was no one big in gaming, and I didn't know you could make money out of it. It was never like a career that I could just quit college to pursue. It was just something I loved to do."[58]

In his early years as a YouTube creator, Kjellberg focused on video game commentaries, most notably of horror and action video games.[59][60][61] Some of his earliest videos featured commentaries of mainstream video games including Minecraft and Call of Duty, although he was particularly noted for his Let's Plays of Amnesia: The Dark Descent and its related mods.[27][62] Starting on 2 September 2011, Kjellberg also began posting weekly vlogs under the title of Fridays with PewDiePie.[23]

By December 2011, Kjellberg's channel had around 60,000 subscribers.[29] On 9 May 2012, Kjellberg's channel reached 500,000 subscribers.[63] Around the time his channel earned 700,000 subscribers, Kjellberg spoke at Nonick Conference 2012.[64][65] In July 2012, the channel reached 1 million subscribers,[20] and it reached 2 million subscribers in September.[59] In October, OpenSlate ranked Kjellberg's channel as the No. 1 YouTube channel.[66] That December, Kjellberg signed with Maker Studios, a multi-channel network (MCN) that drives the growth of the channels under it.[29] Prior to his partnership with Maker, he was signed to Machinima, which operates as a rival to Maker.[67] Kjellberg expressed feeling neglected by Machinima, and frustrated with their treatment, Kjellberg hired a lawyer to free him from his contract with the network.[67]

Early in his YouTube career, Kjellberg used rape jokes in his videos.[50] A satirical video mocking Kjellberg's content highlighted his usage of such jokes.[68] Shortly after, Kjellberg attracted criticism and controversy for the jokes, and in October 2012, he addressed the issue through a Tumblr post, writing, "I just wanted to make clear that I'm no longer making rape jokes, as I mentioned before I'm not looking to hurt anyone and I apologise if it ever did."[69] The Globe and Mail stated "unlike many young gamers, he listened when fans and critics alike pointed out their harmful nature, and resolved to stop making rape jokes."[50]

Becoming the most-subscribed user (2013)

On 18 February 2013, the PewDiePie channel reached 5 million subscribers,[29] and in April, Kjellberg was covered in The New York Times after surpassing 6 million subscribers.[70] In May, at the inaugural Starcount Social Stars Awards in Singapore, Kjellberg won the award for "Swedish Social Star".[71] Competing against Jenna Marbles, Smosh and Toby Turner,[72] Kjellberg also won the award for "Most Popular Social Show".[73] In July 2013, he overtook Jenna Marbles to become the second most-subscribed YouTube user,[74] and reached 10 million subscribers on 9 July 2013.[29][75]

In August, Kjellberg signed with Maker's gaming sub-network, Polaris.[76] Polaris functioned as a relaunching of The Game Station, Maker's gaming network.[77]

Kjellberg's subscriber count surpassed that of the leading channel, Smosh, on 15 August 2013.[78] Kjellberg received a certificate from Guinness World Records for becoming the most subscribed YouTuber.[79] On 1 November, Kjellberg's channel became the first to reach 15 million subscribers;[80] the following day, the channel was surpassed by YouTube's Spotlight account at the top of the site's subscriber rankings.[81] In the same month, Kjellberg proclaimed his dislike of YouTube's new comment system and disabled the comment section on all of his videos.[82] On 22 December 2013, Kjellberg overtook the YouTube Spotlight channel to once again become the most-subscribed on YouTube.[83][84]

Throughout 2012 and 2013, Kjellberg's channel was one of the fastest growing on YouTube, in terms of subscribers gained.[85] In 2013, the PewDiePie channel went from 3.5 million to just under 19 million subscribers,[86] and by the end of 2013, it was gaining a new subscriber every 1.037 seconds.[87] Billboard reported that the PewDiePie channel gained more subscribers than any other channel in 2013.[88] Additionally, in the second half of 2013, the PewDiePie channel earned just under 1.3 billion video views.[89]

Continued growth (2014–2015)

To this point, Kjellberg's commentaries were best known for featuring horror video games. In 2014, however, he began to more actively play games that interested him, regardless of genre.[27]

In March, Kjellberg updated his video production output, announcing he would be scaling down the frequency of uploads.[36] In August 2014, Maker Studios released an official PewDiePie app for the iPhone, allowing audiences to view his videos, create custom favourite video feeds and share videos with others.[90] Later in the month, Kjellberg uploaded a video, announcing he would permanently disable comments on his YouTube videos.[91] On his decision, Kjellberg stated "I go to the comments and it's mainly spam, it's people self advertising, it's people trying to provoke... just all this stuff that to me, it doesn't mean anything. I don't care about it, I don't want to see it."[92] After disabling comments, Kjellberg continued interacting with his audience through Twitter and Reddit.[93] On 13 October, Kjellberg decided to allow comments on his videos once more, albeit only after approval.[94] However, Kjellberg expressed that he set toggled his comment settings this way so he can redirect people to instead comment on the forums of his Broarmy.net website.[95] In a later video, Kjellberg claimed that disabling comments helped him become happier.[96]

In September 2014, Kjellberg began streaming videos of his co-hosted series, BroKen, onto MLG.tv.[97] Kjellberg co-hosted the series with Kenneth Morrison, better known as CinnamonToastKen, who is also a video game commentator.[98]

In October 2014, Kjellberg began hinting at the possibility that he might not renew his contract with Maker Studios upon its expiration in December 2014.[99] Reports that covered this information also added that Kjellberg expressed his frustrations with the studio's parent company, Disney.[67] Kjellberg mulled the option of launching his own network, rather than resign with Maker, although he has declined to provide in-depth details on the subject.[37][100] However, in light of news outlets reporting his disinterest with Maker, Kjellberg tweeted, "I feel like I was misquoted in the WSJ and I'm really happy with the work that Maker has been doing for me."[101] Kjellberg would ultimately continue creating videos under Maker. His relationship with Maker developed into the network establishing an official PewDiePie website, app, and online store to sell merchandise, while Kjellberg promoted Maker's media interests and gave the network a share of his YouTube ad revenue.[23]

In 2014 alone, Kjellberg's account amassed nearly 14 million new subscribers and over 4.1 billion video views; both figures were higher than any other user.[102][103] According to Social Blade, a website which tracks YouTube channel statistics, on 29 December 2014, Kjellberg's channel surpassed emimusic's video view count, at over 7.2 billion views, to become the most-viewed channel on the website.[104][105]

In early 2015, Nintendo launched its Creator Program, in order to share revenue with YouTube video creators who feature gameplay of their products in videos.[106] Kjellberg joined various gamers in criticising the programme.[107] Kjellberg called the programme a "slap in the face to the YouTube channels that do focus on Nintendo games exclusively".[107] Despite criticisms from Kjellberg and other gamers alike, Nintendo experienced more requests from YouTube creators than expected, causing an extension on the 72-hour wait time for video approval through the programme.[107][108] Ultimately, the focal point of Kjellberg's concern and criticism was toward the approval of a video which Nintendo has to administer, and the potential of that approval process being motivated by biased intentions.[108]

During July 2015, Kjellberg's videos were documented to receive over 300 million views per month.[109] On 6 September, Kjellberg's YouTube account became the first to eclipse 10 billion video views.[22][110]

YouTube Red, Revelmode, and style change (2015–2017)

During September 2015, Kjellberg teased about having a role in a series, stating that he was in Los Angeles for the show's shooting.[111] Although not many details were revealed at the time, it was later announced that the series would be titled Scare PewDiePie.[112] The series premiered the following February.[113]

In January 2016, he announced a partnership with Maker Studios to produce Revelmode, a sub-network of Maker, that would showcase Kjellberg and his friends on YouTube in original series.[114] After the deal, the head of Maker Studios, Courtney Holt, stated, "we're thrilled to be doubling down with Felix."[114] Along with Kjellberg, eight other YouTubers signed to the network upon its creation: CinnamonToastKen, Marzia, Dodger, Emma Blackery, Jacksepticeye, Jelly, Kwebbelkop, and Markiplier.[114] Three YouTubers – Cryaotic, KickThePJ and Slogoman – would later join the sub-network after its launch.[115][116]

Throughout 2016, Kjellberg's video style change became more apparent.[48] While producing fewer Let's Play videos about horror games, his style of humor also changed; he has commented that his shift to drier humour was not understood by younger viewers.[55]

On 20 October, Kjellberg launched a second channel, under the name Jack septiceye2.[117] The name is derived from his friend and fellow YouTube video game commentator, Jacksepticeye.[55] By December, Kotaku reported the Jack septiceye2 channel had garnered 1.4 million subscribers, despite having only one upload available to watch.[55]

On 2 December, he uploaded a video in which he discussed his frustration with the issue of YouTube accounts experiencing an unexplained loss of subscribers and views.[118] Kjellberg expressed, "I find that a lot of people that work with YouTube, almost anyone, have no idea what it's like to work as a content creator, as someone who's built this for years and really cared about it."[55] On this issue, a Google representative provided a comment to Ars Technica, stating "Some creators have expressed concerns around a drop in their subscriber numbers. We've done an extensive review and found there have been no decreases in creators subscriber numbers beyond what normally happens when viewers either unsubscribe from a creator's channel or when YouTube removes spammed subscribers".[119]

On 8 December, Kjellberg's channel reached 50 million subscribers, becoming the first YouTube channel to do so.[120] After reaching the milestone, Kjellberg tweeted "will delete tomorrow 5 pm gmt," in reference to his channel, before later uploading a celebratory video featuring fireworks.[120] Ultimately, he did not delete his PewDiePie channel, and instead shut down the joke Jack septiceye2 channel.[119] This received negative reception from Fortune. The publication's Mathew Ingram opined, "this is just a temper tantrum by a man-baby who makes millions of dollars playing video games," adding, "at first glance, the video in which he threatens to delete his channel seems like the whining of a rich, entitled celebrity who has noticed that his videos aren't getting as many views as they used to, and blames the platform for not supporting him as much as he thinks they should."[121] On 18 December 2016, he received a custom Play Button from YouTube as a reward for hitting 50 million subscribers.[9]

On 14 February 2017, his channel's total video view count was surpassed by Indian record label T-Series at the top of YouTube's view rankings, according to Social Blade.[122][123]

Media controversies, streaming, and formatted shows (2017−2018)

In January 2017, Kjellberg began to receive criticism for his non-gaming videos. According to International Business Times, one of the videos "appeared to show" him using a racial slur, which caused #PewdiepieIsOverParty to trend worldwide on Twitter.[124][125] A few days later, Kjellberg created further controversy, when he uploaded a video featuring him reviewing the website Fiverr, which allows people to sell a service for US$5. In the video, Kjellberg shows the ridiculous acts people will do to make money on Fiverr by paying a duo to see if they will display the message "DEATH TO ALL JEWS" on a sign, and recorded his reaction to it.[124][126] He immediately apologised within the same video, stating he was not anti-Semitic and did not expect the duo to accept his request.[124] Kjellberg received criticism from some users in the video's comment section, as well as from some media outlets.[124] As a result of this video, both Kjellberg and the duo were banned from Fiverr, prompting the latter to upload an apology video stating that they did not understand the meaning of the sign, and that they were sorry to all Jews.[127] Kjellberg later explained that the video was done in jest and attempted to highlight the ridiculous things which can be provided as paid services on the Internet.[128]

"I've made some jokes that people don't like. And you know what? If people don't like my jokes, I fully respect that. I fully understand that. I acknowledge that I took things too far, and that's something I definitely will keep in mind moving forward, but the reaction and the outrage has been nothing but insanity."  –PewDiePie, My Response video (February 2017)[40]

In February, The Wall Street Journal reported on the incident, while also adding that since August 2016, Kjellberg has included anti-Semitic jokes or Nazi imagery in nine separate videos.[129] The publication reported he removed three of the videos, including the one from January 2017.[129][130] In a 12 February Tumblr post, Kjellberg expressed: "I am in no way supporting any kind of hateful attitudes, [...] I think of the content that I create as entertainment, and not a place for any serious political commentary," and conceded, "though this was not my intention, I understand that these jokes were ultimately offensive."[128][130] In his post, he also reiterated he does not support anti-Semitic groups.[128] Kjellberg's motivation for his Tumblr post was partially driven by the fact that neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups and publications, such as The Daily Stormer, were referencing and praising him for his jokes.[40][131]

On 13 February, the Disney-owned Maker Studios multi-channel network cut its ties with Kjellberg because of the aforementioned controversy and the additional videos containing allegedly anti-Semitic jokes.[130][132] Maker stated that "although [he had] created a following by being provocative and irreverent, he clearly went too far in this case and the resulting videos are inappropriate."[132] Google also took action, dropping him from the Google Preferred advertising programme, as well as cancelling the Scare PewDiePie YouTube Red series.[133][134] Various media journalists and outlets joined the Wall Street Journal in criticising Kjellberg.[135][136][137] Kirsty Major of The Independent, Arwa Mahdawi of The Guardian and Ben Kuchera of Polygon, were all critical of Kjellberg's defense of his content as jokes taken out of context, opining that his content helps normalise ideologies such as fascism, neo-Nazism and white supremacy.[135][136][137]

Many in the YouTube community, including Ethan Klein of h3h3Productions, a Jewish YouTube sketch comedian, who is also friends with Kjellberg, as well as YouTube news commentator Philip DeFranco, and popular gamers Markiplier and Jacksepticeye, as well as many others, defended Kjellberg and criticised the way media handled the incident.[138][139] On 16 February, Kjellberg himself responded in a video entitled My Response, in which he apologised to those who were offended by his previous videos and which he also criticised the reporting by the media.[40][140][141] He also states The Wall Street Journal framed his jokes as "posts" and took them out of context.[142] One of the examples Kjellberg gives of this includes one of his videos, in which he expresses frustration at people creating swastikas in his Tuber Simulator video game.[143]

In March, Kjellberg confirmed that Revelmode no longer existed, in wake of the controversy surrounding the Wall Street Journal's allegations of anti-Semitism toward him.[47] While announcing this, he revealed that he worked on the company for about 3 or 4 years.[47]

In April, while still continuing to upload new content onto YouTube, Kjellberg created Netglow, a crowdsourced channel on the livestreaming service Twitch.[42] On Netglow, he started streaming Best Club, a weekly live stream show.[42] Best Club premiered on 9 April, with its first episode featuring Brad Smith alongside Kjellberg.[42] Kjellberg commented that his decision to create Netglow was in the works prior to the aforementioned allegations of anti-Semitic themes in his videos.[42] Business Insider detailed that Kjellberg's first stream amassed around 60,000 viewers, and that Netglow had accumulated 93,000 subscribers to that point.[144]

In September 2017, Kjellberg drew criticism again when he used the racial slur "nigger" during an outburst at another player while live-streaming PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds.[145] As a response to the incident, Campo Santo co-founder Sean Vanaman referred to Kjellberg as "worse than a closeted racist", announced that Campo Santo would file copyright strikes against Kjellberg's videos featuring the studio's game Firewatch, and encouraged other game developers to do the same.[146][147] Kjellberg later uploaded a short video apologising for the language he used during the live-stream, expressing "I'm disappointed in myself because it seems like I've learned nothing from all these past controversies, [using the slur] was not okay. I'm really sorry if I offended, hurt or disappointed anyone with all of this. Being in the position that I am, I should know better."[148]

In 2018, Paul MacInnes of The Guardian wrote about Kjellberg's YouTube content; he noted that each week Kjellberg posted videos featuring one of three series formats, comparing this uploading pattern to television programming.[149] The three series listed were You Laugh You Lose, which features Kjellberg watching "a stream of supposedly humorous, or perhaps laughable clips" while trying to not laugh; Last Week I Asked You, having begun as a parody and homage to Jack Douglass' Yesterday I Asked You, he challenges his audience and reviews the output; and Meme Review, in which he reviews popular Internet memes.[149] Furthermore, Kjellberg then began a book club-styled series.[149] Kjellberg's own enjoyment with the Book Club series was also noted.[149] Kjellberg also began Pew News, a satirical series that has Kjellberg present and discuss recent news stories while in character, often as his own fictional characters that are mostly the ones named after CNN hosts, such as Gloria Borger, Poppy Harlow, or Mary Katharine Ham and sometimes, an amalgamation of these names.[150] Pew News parodies both mainstream news channels, such as CNN, and YouTube news channels, such as DramaAlert.[150]

In May, Kjellberg attracted controversy for using the term "Twitch thots" in one of his videos, at a moment when a clip of Twitch streamer Alinity was playing.[151] The controversy was further fueled by Alinity's response, in which she asked on stream if she could "copy strike" Kjellberg, referring to tagging Kjellberg's video with a copyright violation claim, resulting in a copyright strike for his channel.[151] The video would be removed from YouTube, although Alinity stated the video was tagged with a copyright claim by CollabDRM, a company that copyright strikes videos on YouTube on behalf of content creators.[151][152] Due to Kjellberg's video being removed, Alinity received backlash from some online users.[151] She responded to this backlash by stating that the "rampant sexism in online communities" caused her to react in the way she did, and additionally argued that Kjellberg's "Twitch thot" comments degraded women.[151] Kjellberg apologized for using the term, although Alinity's further comments and refusal to accept his apology led him to argue that she was pushing a "victim narrative".[151][152] Kjellberg also criticized Alinity for wearing revealing clothing and acting provocatively in her streams.[152][153] Following Kjellberg's videos, Alinity told Vice, "I'm gonna be honest with you, if this wasn't my job this would have pushed me off the Internet a very long time ago. It makes me wonder maybe this is why women are so underrepresented on Twitch in general."[152][153] Shortly after, Alinity completely backed away from the controversy.[152]

In July, Kjellberg posted a meme with singer Demi Lovato's face; the meme jokingly referenced Lovato's struggles with addiction. The meme was posted around the same time Lovato was hospitalized after suffering an opioid overdose. As a result, he received criticism from online users, including fans of Lovato and others struggling with addiction.[154] On 26 July, he issued a tweet reading: "Deleted meme. I didnt mean anything with it and I didnt fully know about the situation. I realize now it was insensitive, sorry!"[154]

In a video uploaded in early December, Kjellberg gave a shoutout to several small content creators on YouTube, recommending his viewers to subscribe to them. Among those creators was "E;R", who Kjellberg highlighted for a video essay on Netflix's Death Note.[155] Shortly thereafter, The Verge's Julia Alexander noted that the video in question used imagery of the Charlottesville car attack, and that the channel made frequent use of racial and homophobic slurs.[155] Kjellberg addressed the issue, stating he was largely unaware of E;R's content contained outside of the Death Note video essay, and revoked his recommendation of E;R.[155] Kjellberg said he was not only unaware of E;R's insensitive content, but also the Charlottesville car attack. Aja Romano of Vox stated that racial slurs were used in the video description of one.[156] On 17 December, Kjellberg posted a Pew News video entitled My Response S02E01, in which he criticized what he saw as the reporting of misinformation by the media and online personalities.[157] Kjellberg particularly criticized Vox Media's The Verge and Vox outlets, and denounced claims that he previously tweeted about the Charlottesville car attack.[157]

Subscriber competition with T-Series (2018–2019)

T-Series logo

T-Series logo

On 5 October 2018, Kjellberg uploaded a diss track against Indian record label T-Series titled "TSERIES DISS TRACK" (later renamed to "Bitch Lasagna") in response to their YouTube channel being projected to surpass PewDiePie in subscribers.[158] In the diss track, Kjellberg made certain comments, which many considered to be covert racism, such as the line “Your language sounds like it come [sic] from a mumblerap community" addressing the Indian population in general.[159][160] Kjellberg also made allegations against T-Series using subscribing bots, but there was no proof as such, considering YouTube has a tough policy against fake engagement.[161][162] On the prospect of being surpassed by T-Series in terms of subscriber count, Kjellberg stated, "I don't really care about T-Series, [...] but I think if YouTube does shift in a way where it does feel more corporate, then something else will take its place."[163] Variety noted that many fellow YouTubers, including MrBeast and Markiplier, encouraged their viewers to subscribe to the PewDiePie channel.[158] Efforts to keep Kjellberg's channel ahead of T-Series in terms of subscribers also included multiple instances of hackers exploiting several thousands of printers to print out messages asking people to subscribe to PewDiePie, unsubscribe from T-Series, and upgrade their printer security.[164][165][166] Bhushan Kumar, the chairman and managing director of T-Series, commented "I am really not bothered about this race. I don't even know why PewDiePie is taking this so seriously. He's getting his people to push him, promote him. We are not competing with him."[167] Online campaigns to subscribe to PewDiePie greatly assisted Kjellberg's subscriber count; his channel gained 6.62 million subscribers in December 2018 alone, compared to the 7 million subscribers gained in all of 2017.[168]

On 22 February 2019, Kjellberg uploaded an episode of his show Meme Review featuring entrepreneur Elon Musk and Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland.[169][170] A segment from the video involving Elon Musk bursting into laughter at a meme involving a deer submerged in a pool captioned "Why my dolphin not working lol" was particularly noted by media outlets.[170][171]

On 12 March, Kjellberg uploaded an episode of his show Pew News in which he mentioned the 2019 Pulwama terrorist attack in which 40 Indian paramilitary troops were killed by terrorist organizations based in Pakistan. Following the attack, T-Series removed several songs by Pakistani artists on its YouTube channel after being pressurised by political party MNS to isolate Pakistani artists, a course of action that Kjellberg disagreed with.[172][173] Kjellberg went on to make light of Pakistani users subscribing to his channel over T-Series in response to T-Series' removals.[174] The outlet Zee News reported that Kjellberg "faced strong criticism for his comments on the heightened tension between Pakistan and India in [the] March 12 issue of Pew News. The heavy backlash forced the content creator to pull the segment from the clip."[175] Kjellberg also issued a clarification on Twitter, expressing that he was not attempting to speak on the broader India–Pakistan relations, but rather on the more specific context of T-Series removing artists' songs from its YouTube channel.[175]

On 15 March, the perpetrator in the Christchurch mosque shootings said "remember lads, subscribe to PewDiePie" during his live stream before carrying out the attacks. In response, Kjellberg tweeted of his disgust to have his name associated with the attack, and offered condolences to the those affected by the tragedy.[176] Various journalists covering the shooting reported that PewDiePie is not complicit with the shootings.[177] The New York Times suggested that Kjellberg's mention in the shootings was a ploy for the news media to attribute blame to PewDiePie and otherwise inflame political tensions.[178]

On 27 March, T-Series surpassed Kjellberg in subscribers to become the most-subscribed channel on YouTube, after briefly gaining the title several times in early 2019.[179] On 31 March 2019, Kjellberg posted another diss track music video, ironically congratulating T-Series (this time an upbeat synth pop/hip-hop music video featuring YouTubers Roomie, Boyinaband, and MrBeast) titled "Congratulations".[180][181] Parts of the song's lyrics are sarcasm towards T-Series.[182] In the music video, Kjellberg mocks T-Series and the actions of the company, including how T-Series were founded to sell pirated songs and how they sent Kjellberg a cease and desist letter alleging that his actions and words were defamatory. He also mentions the CEO's tax evasion scandal and #MeToo allegations.[180] The day after the video's upload, Kjellberg regained his lead over T-Series as the most subscribed channel.[183]

On 11 April, T-Series started to seek court orders to remove PewDiePie's "diss tracks" from YouTube.[184][185] According to entertainment and law website IPRMENTLAW, T-Series sought out a court order from the Delhi High Court to remove PewDiePie's "Bitch Lasagna" and "Congratulations" from YouTube. The alleged court order was ruled in favor of T-Series. It was allegedly said that the complaint against Kjellberg claimed that his songs were "defamatory, disparaging, insulting, and offensive," and noted that comments on the videos were "abusive, vulgar, and also racist in nature."[186][187] Access to the music videos on YouTube was later blocked in India.[187] The two parties were reported to have come to a settlement later that July, although Kjellberg's videos remained blocked in India.[187]

Finally, on 28 April, Kjellberg uploaded a video entitled "Ending the Subscribe to Pewdiepie Meme" in which he asked his followers to refrain from using the phrase "Subscribe to PewDiePie" due to incidents such as the phrase being graffitied on a war memorial and its mention by the Christchurch mosque shooter.[188][189] The following day, during a live stream showing a plane fly over New York City with a banner attached saying "Subscribe to PewDiePie", Kjellberg said that the event was "a nice little wrap up" to the Subscribe to PewDiePie meme.[190]

Minecraft series and renewed focus on gaming (2019–present)

On 21 June 2019, Kjellberg launched Gaming Week, during which he focused on Let's Play videos for the first time in several years. Among the games played were Minecraft, which he surprised himself enjoying; this resulted in Kjellberg largely centering his videos around Minecraft in the following months, with the content featured in his series Meme Review and LWIAY also becoming focused on the game. Although Kjellberg had played Minecraft earlier in his YouTube career, he had very rarely played it in the following years due to his reluctance to join the trend of Minecraft YouTubers, whom he felt only played the game because of its popularity rather than for their own enjoyment.[191][192] This transition was largely successful for Kjellberg who received a large increase in views, achieving over 570 million views during the month of July (the most views received by the channel in a month since at least October 2016), and his daily number of new subscribers grew from 25,000 to 45,000 during that month.[192] Despite this success, Kjellberg insisted that he played the game for his own enjoyment and did not want to become solely a "Minecraft YouTuber", stating "If Minecraft gets boring, I can just move on to other things."[191]

On 25 August, Kjellberg became the first individual YouTuber to surpass 100 million subscribers; his channel was the second overall to reach the milestone, after T-Series who passed the mark earlier in the year.[193] YouTube tweeted a congratulatory post to note the occurrence,[194] and rewarded him with a Red Diamond Play Button.[195]

Public image and influence

Since breaking through on YouTube with his Let's Play-styled videos, Kjellberg has emerged as one of the most noted and influential online personalities. In September 2014, Rob Walker of Yahoo! called Kjellberg's popularity "insane", writing, that it "strikes me as considerably more curious – I mean, you know who Rihanna is, but would you recognize this kid if he were standing in line behind you at the bank?"[49] Walker, among other reporters and some casual gamers, have questioned the reasons for his popularity,[49][52] while other reporters have criticized his rise in notability.[51] Walker commented on Kjellberg's interaction with his audience, writing, "While he can be raucous and crude, it always comes across as genuine. He constantly addresses his audience as a bunch of peer-like friends, as opposed to distant, genuflecting fans. He's certainly more than willing to make fun of himself in the process."[49] In 2015, Ross Miller of The Verge wrote, "Love it or hate it, his success – like so many other YouTube personalities – isn't just in playing games but actually connecting and talking directly to an audience. No agent, press release, or any other intermediary. He just hit record."[196]

In response to his 2017 controversies, The Ringer's Justin Charity commented, "PewDiePie's occasional, reactionary irreverence has become a core component of his appeal. Likewise, for critics and fans who value inclusivity—and among outside observers who view PewDiePie's conduct as inexplicably frequent in the news—PewDiePie represents all that is wrong and alienating about games culture."[56] In 2018, Paul MacInnes of The Guardian wrote, "Given the scale of his audience and his influence, not much is written about PewDiePie. Tech sites like The Verge and Polygon report on him and often critique him severely. But in the mainstream media, his name has broken through only either as a result of novelty or scandal," and added, "PewDiePie's content is written about even less often."[149]

In 2015, Kjellberg was included on Time's list of the 30 most influential people on the Internet, with the publication writing that his channel "broadcasts some of the most-watched programs in pop culture."[197] Later in 2015, Kjellberg was featured on the cover of Variety's "Famechangers" issue, with the magazine ranking him as the "#1 Famechanger", or "those whose influence stands head and shoulders above the rest".[198] The following year, Time included him on their Time 100 list, with South Park co-creator Trey Parker writing in his entry, "I know it might seem weird, especially to those of us from an older generation, that people would spend so much time watching someone else play video games [...] But I choose to see it as the birth of a new art form. And I don't think anyone should underestimate its most powerful artist."[18] Forbes wrote that "[Kjellberg's] overall brand suffered earlier this year [2017] when he included anti-Semitic content in nine of his videos," when citing their reason for not ranking him as the top gaming influence.[199] Forbes still included Kjellberg in the Gaming category of their June 2017 "Top Influencers" list.[200]

Kjellberg has himself stated that he dislikes being called "famous", and has been referred to as "shy and quiet", and "much more reserved in real life," by a colleague who worked with him on Scare PewDiePie.[201] In a Rolling Stone article, Kjellberg admitted to being shocked by his fame; he recalled a gaming event near his hometown, stating "I remember there were five security guards yelling at a crowd to back up – it was out of control. It was shocking to find myself in that situation, where I was that celebrity person."[23] At the 2013 Social Star Awards, Kjellberg greeted his fans personally despite security warning him against doing so.[57][202] Kjellberg also mentioned this event to Rolling Stone, stating, "I didn't even understand they were screaming for me at first."[23]

Channel demographics and fan base

Kjellberg's channel appeals strongly to younger viewers, a group Google refers to as Generation C for their habits of "creation, curation, connection and community".[28] This demographic, however, is more commonly known as Generation Z elsewhere.[203] According to a 2014 survey commissioned by Variety, Kjellberg along with a few other YouTube personalities have been reported to be more influential and popular than mainstream celebrities, such as Jennifer Lawrence, among US teenagers aged 13 through 18.[204] His rise to fame has been used as "a great example of how the emerging society gives extensive opportunities to individuals with great ideas, courage, and, of course, a significant portion of luck as opposed to the old society."[205] Studies of the gaming community on YouTube have shown that 95% of gamers engage in watching online videos related to gaming, which has been linked to be an important reason for Kjellberg's popularity.[206] In a 2017 video, Kjellberg shared a screenshot of data provided by YouTube regarding his channel statistics, which suggested his largest demographic was among the 18–24 age group, followed by the 25–34 age group.[149]

As aforementioned, the "Bro Army" was a name often used to refer to Kjellberg's fan base by both himself and media outlets.[29][207][208] In the late 2010s, Kjellberg used the term "army of 9-year-olds" to refer to his fan base.[32] The fan base has been the target of criticism; in July 2018, Wired published an article, referring to Kjellberg's fan base as "toxic", stating that "it's not just that they've stuck with the Swedish gamer/alleged comedian as he peppered his videos with racial slurs, rape jokes, anti-Semitism, and homophobia for nearly a decade (though that's bad enough). It's also that they insist that PewDiePie somehow isn't being hateful at all."[208]

Relating to his responsibility to his audience, Kjellberg has stated, "many people see me as a friend they can chill with for 15 minutes a day," adding, "The loneliness in front of the computer screens brings us together. But I never set out to be a role model; I just want to invite them to come over to my place."[37] Correlating with this note, his audience has been reported to provide positive remarks about him; some of his viewers created and contributed to a thread expressing that he has made them happier and feel better about themselves.[27] Conversely, during an informal Twitter poll conducted by one Kotaku reporter, respondents described him as "annoying" and an "obnoxious waste of time."[27] Additionally, Rolling Stone has documented the existence of several Reddit threads dedicated to sharing disparaging views of Kjellberg.[23]

Media reception and analysis

Responses to Kjellberg's content are mixed; Anthony Taormina of Game Rant wrote, "It's no secret that as his popularity continues to grow, PewDiePie has become an increasingly divisive figure. While some love the YouTuber for the entertainment he provides, others see PewDiePie as the singular representation of our gameplay commentary obsessed culture."[209] Chris Reed of The Wall St. Cheat Sheet commented on the divisive opinions about Kjellberg, stating, "PewDiePie is not universally adored [...] the great divide in opinion on PewDiePie seems to be largely generational. Older people are less likely to subscribe to YouTube channels, or to pay much credence to YouTube personalities in general. Many younger viewers, on the other hand, see him as endlessly entertaining and relatable."[52]

When critiquing Kjellberg's early video game commentary content, Swedish columnist Lars Lindstrom commented positively, stating "that Felix Kjellberg [having] a comic talent is indisputable. It is both amazingly awful and amazingly funny when a father bikes around with his son in the game Happy Wheels and both get crushed and bloody again and again and PewDiePie improvises absurd comments as the game continues. The secret is that he really loves to play these games and that he has fun doing it."[24] Kjellberg has also been received negatively by the media, often being reported as an "inexplicable phenomenon."[27] Andrew Wallenstein of Variety heavily criticised Kjellberg, following his channel becoming the most-subscribed on YouTube, describing his videos as "aggressive stupidity" and "psycho babble."[51] Conversely, both Walker and Reed have commented positively on Kjellberg's intelligence. Walker stated Kjellberg is "clearly" smart based on when he speaks directly to his audience,[49] and Reed opined "He's much more thoughtful and self-aware than he seems in many of his videos."[52]

Following the controversy regarding alleged anti-Semitic content in his videos, many media publications both in and outside of the gaming and tech industries severely criticised Kjellberg's content. These outlets suggested that Kjellberg's content contained and promoted fascist, white supremacist, and alt-right ideologies.[135][136][210] A Wired article covering the controversy was originally titled "PewDiePie Was Always Kinda Racist – But Now He's a Hero to Nazis", although this was later changed to "PewDiePie's Fall Shows the Limits of 'LOL JK'.[210] Writing for The New York Times, John Herman commented "[Kjellberg] bemoaned [YouTube's] structure and the way it had changed; he balked at its limits and took joy in causing offense and flouting rules. Over time, he grew into an unlikely, disorienting and insistently unserious political identity: He became YouTube's very own populist reactionary."[211] Over a year after the controversy, MacInnes opined that Kjellberg "is funny, intelligent, innovative and highly charismatic [...] to call him an alt-right agitator would perhaps be unfair as he has never publicly identified with the proto-fascist movement. But he shares much of their culture and amplifies it across the world. People should pay PewDiePie more attention."[149]

Following the 2019 Christchurch shootings, Kevin Roose of The New York Times wrote that "the [perpetrator's] goal, if there was one" behind saying "subscribe to PewDiePie" during his livestream of the attack, "may have been to pull a popular internet figure into a fractious blame game and inflame political tensions everywhere."[212]

Influence on video games

Kjellberg has been noted to support video games from indie developers, often playing through them in his videos.[59] His commentaries have had a positive effect on sales of indie games, with The Washington Post writing that "gamemakers have observed a kind of Oprah effect."[22][206][213] For instance the developers of McPixel stated, "The largest force driving attention to McPixel at that time were 'Let's Play' videos. Mostly by Jesse Cox and PewDiePie."[214] Kjellberg has also been confirmed to have positively influenced the sales of Slender: The Eight Pages and Goat Simulator.[27][37] Although games being featured on Kjellberg's channel have reportedly contributed to their commercial success, he has stated, "I just want to play the games, not influence sales."[215]

In 2019, Kjellberg's Minecraft videos led a surge of interest towards the game, which saw an increase in players. It also registered the largest-trending score on YouTube since January 2017 and surpassed Fortnite as the most-searched game on YouTube, with the searches for Minecraft on Google almost doubling since previous months.[191][192] Video game media outlets, such as Polygon and The Verge, largely credited this newfound success to Kjellberg, with The Verge suggesting that the surge "proves that the 'PewDiePie Effect' is still real" (in reference to the Oprah effect-like success enjoyed by games played by Kjellberg).[192] Several other popular YouTubers followed suit by focusing on Minecraft content.[192] Polygon even noted that in the wake of Kjellberg's focus on Minecraft, Fortnite-focused YouTubers were starting to shift towards making Minecraft videos instead.[191]

Kjellberg, along with characters from Amnesia: The Dark Descent, were referred to by a McPixel level designed in his honour.[216] Additionally, in the video game Surgeon Simulator 2013, the Alien Surgery stage features an organ called "Pewdsball" in honour of Kjellberg.[217][218] Kjellberg agreed to allow the developers of Surgeon Simulator 2013 to use his likeness in GOTY IDST, a showering simulation video game.[219][220] Kjellberg was also included as an NPC in the indie game, Party Hard.[221] Kjellberg also had a voice acting role in Pinstripe, a puzzle adventure game.[222]


Kjellberg's earnings have been an often-reported topic by media publications. However, this reporting has frustrated Kjellberg, who has said that he is "tired of talking about how much [he makes]."[223] After extensive media coverage of his earnings, Kjellberg expressed his frustration and suggested that they should rather look at the money he raised for charity.[224]

In March 2014, Kjellberg made an estimated $140,000–$1.4 million from YouTube revenue, according to Social Blade.[225] In June 2014, The Wall Street Journal reported that Kjellberg earned $4 million in 2013;[226][227] Kjellberg confirmed on Reddit that the figures were roughly around what he actually earned.[37] In July 2015, the Swedish newspaper Expressen reported that Kjellberg's production company, PewDie Productions AB, reported earnings of 63.7 million SEK ($7.5 million) in 2014.[228][229] The Guardian commented that the reason the media was so captivated by Kjellberg's earnings is that the topic "offers a rare insight into the money being made at the top end of YouTube stardom", adding "it's very rare for any YouTube creator to talk about their earnings publicly, not least because YouTube itself does not encourage it".[58] In 2015, outlets described Kjellberg's income as sizeable, and even "remarkable";[230] Kjellberg appeared at the top of Forbes' October 2015 list of the richest YouTube stars with a reported $12 million earned in 2015.[231]

In December 2016, Forbes named Kjellberg as the highest-earning YouTuber with his annual income reaching $15 million.[232] This was up 20% from 2015, largely due to his YouTube Red series Scare PewDiePie and his book This Book Loves You, which sold over 112,000 copies according to Nielsen Bookscan.[233] According to Forbes, Kjellberg's income dropped to $12 million in 2017, which made him the sixth highest-paid YouTuber during that year.[234] Forbes commented that Kjellberg's income would have been higher had he avoided the pushback from advertisers resulting from the controversies surrounding his videos in 2017.[235]

Relationships with brands and sponsors

Beginning in April 2014 and spanning into August, Kjellberg, along with his girlfriend Marzia, began a marketing campaign for the Legendary Pictures film As Above, So Below.[236][237] Kjellberg's videos for the marketing campaign included a miniseries featuring him participating in the "Catacombs Challenge". The challenge involved Kjellberg searching for three keys in the catacombs to open a container holding "the Philosopher's stone".[238] The couple's videos were able to earn nearly 20 million views.[239] Maker Studios, which both Kjellberg and Marzia are represented by, brokered the ad deal between the two and Legendary Pictures.[238] In January 2015, Mountain Dew partnered with Kjellberg to launch a fan fiction contest, in which winning fan fictions will be animated into video formats and then uploaded onto his channel.[240] In the same month, a quote from him was used by Techland on Dying Light posters.[241] The quote, which read, "I love this game. It's sooo awesome!", spread controversy as it came from a seemingly advertorial video, featuring him playing Dying Light.[242] In response to the issue, Kjellberg tweeted, "I love this game. It's soooo awesome! – IGN."[243] When another Twitter user mentioned the issue, tagging Kjellberg in their tweet, he responded, "I dont even remember saying this."[243]

While he entered partnerships early into his YouTube career, Kjellberg maintained that he worked with few brands and conducted few promotions.[37][244] Additionally, Kjellberg posted on Reddit, "I make more than I need from YouTube", adding, "with that freedom, but also to respect my fans for making that possible, I don't end up doing many endorsements."[245] On this topic, Kjellberg has expressed disappointment when a sizable portion of people misinterpret his intentions; he stated, "if I mention on Twitter that I find this or that Kickstarter project cool, people immediately start to ask what economical interests I might have in it."[37]

Eventually, Kjellberg began to work with more brands. He stated that he wants to have genuine relationship with brands, and added he was lucky to not be dependent on working with brands to support his career.[246] In January 2019, Kjellberg announced a partnership with energy drink company G Fuel.[247]

On 9 April 2019, PewDiePie announced that he would live-stream exclusively on DLive as part of a deal with the company and would live-stream weekly starting on 11 April.[248][249]

Appearances in other media

Aside from his own YouTube channel, Kjellberg has made appearances in the videos of other YouTube creators and series. In April 2013, he made a cameo in an episode of Epic Rap Battles of History, portraying Mikhail Baryshnikov.[250] In July 2013, Kjellberg starred alongside Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox of Smosh, as well as Jenna Marbles, as guest judges on the second season of Internet Icon.[251] Kjellberg also appeared in YouTube's annual year-end Rewind series each year from 2013 to 2016.[252][253][254][255]

On 3 June 2014, Sveriges Radio announced that Kjellberg was chosen to host his own episode of the Swedish radio show Sommar i P1.[256] Due to his international popularity, the episode was recorded in both Swedish and English. The Swedish version was broadcast on 9 August 2014 in Sveriges Radio P1, and when the broadcast started the English version was published online.[257] The English version was made available on a dedicated server with extra capacity to avoid crashing the Sveriges Radio server.[258] The link to the Swedish version of the broadcast was shared over 3,500 times, and the link to the English version was shared about 49,000 times.[259]

In December 2014, Kjellberg guest starred in two episodes of the 18th season of South Park, one of his favourite series. The two episodes served as a two-part season finale. The first part, titled "#REHASH" aired on 3 December, while the second part, titled "#HappyHolograms", aired on 10 December.[260][261] In the episodes, he parodied himself and other Let's Play commentators, who added commentary over Call of Duty gameplay in an overly expressive way. In "#REHASH", the character Kyle wonders why his brother and his brother's friends favour watching others comment on events over experiencing events themselves.[260]

In July 2015, Kjellberg was announced as a voice actor in the Vimeo fantasy series, Oscar's Hotel for Fantastical Creatures.[262] In October of the same year, Kjellberg appeared as a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.[263]

In February 2016, Kjellberg guest starred on Conan, playing Far Cry Primal as part of the show's Clueless Gamer segment.[264]


Kjellberg's popularity has allowed him to stir support for fundraising drives.[265] In February 2012, Kjellberg ran for King of the Web, an online contest. He lost the overall title; however, he still became the "Gaming King of the Web" for the 1–15 February 2012 voting period.[266] During the following voting period, Kjellberg won and donated his cash winnings to the World Wildlife Fund.[267] He has raised money for the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.[59][267] Kjellberg also began a "Water Campaign" charity, where his fans could donate money to Charity: Water, in celebration of reaching ten million subscribers.[268] Kjellberg contributed one dollar to the charity for every 500 views the video announcing the campaign accumulated, up to a maximum of $10,000.[269] Kjellberg had the stated goal of raising US$250,000, at the end of the drive, the amount raised was $446,612.[267][270][271] Kjellberg organized another charity drive for Charity: Water in February 2016.[272] The drive raised $152,239, surpassing a $100,000 goal.[273]

In celebration of reaching 25 million subscribers in June 2014, Kjellberg announced another charity drive for Save the Children. It raised over $630,000, surpassing a $250,000 goal.[274] In an interview with the Swedish magazine Icon, he has expressed desire to continue these drives as time goes on, and also credited John and Hank Green as two individuals who gave him the idea of making unique videos for charity.[37] These videos are purchased by game manufacturers and advertisers, for prices ranging up to $50,000.[37]

In December 2016, he hosted Cringemas, a livestream held across two days (9 and 10 December, both at around 6 pm–10 pm GMT), with other Revelmode creators.[115] During the livestream, they helped raise money for RED, a charity committed to helping eliminate HIV/AIDS in Africa.[275] After the first day, the fundraiser raised over $200,000, after YouTube doubled their goal of $100,000, and at the end of the livestream, they had raised a total of over $1.3 million with help from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.[276]

On 3 December 2018, Kjellberg announced that he had started a fundraiser on GoFundMe for Child Rights and You (CRY) in order to help Indian children, partially in response to racist comments left on his videos directed toward Indians.[277][278] Kjellberg also hosted a livestream on 4 December, donating all of its proceeds to CRY. He raised over $200,000.[277] On 21 July 2019, Kjellberg started a fundraiser on GoFundMe with American actor Jack Black for National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), in the wake of the suicide of the internet personality Etika in June 2019. Kjellberg and Jack Black streamed themselves playing Minecraft together to raise money for their fundraiser. Kjellberg donated $10,000 to his fundraiser and managed to raise over $30,000 for NAMI.[279]

In celebration of receiving his 100 million subscribers Play Button in September 2019, Kjellberg uploaded a video titled "Unboxing 100 MIL YouTube AWARD!!", in which he announced that he was donating $50,000 to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an international Jewish non-governmental organisation.[280] Part of Kjellberg's fanbase criticized his decision, citing controversial actions and stances. Previously, the ADL also commended Disney for severing ties with Kjellberg following the controversy surrounding Kjellberg's content in early 2017.[280] Some fans pushed conspiracy theories, alleging that Kjellberg was being blackmailed to donate to the organization.[281] The ADL said they had not been in contact with Kjellberg "beyond his public posts."[281] Additionally, several media outlets, including Kotaku and Vice praised Kjellberg's donation and were critical of the portion of Kjellberg's fanbase who negatively received the donation announcement.[282][283]

Two days after his initial announcement, Kjellberg announced in another video that he had decided to withdraw his donation. He expressed that he was advised to donate to the ADL, and did not hand-pick an organization that he was passionate about, as he has usually done with past donations. He continued, stating:

When I uploaded the video talking about the charity, it was very brief and people could tell something was off. The whole Internet just didn't believe it, like 'why is he donating to this charity [the ADL], look at his face. Full conspiracy mode.' And it was very interesting to watch that unfold. To be fair, I saw it as an opportunity to put an end to these alt-right claims that [have] been thrown against me. It wasn't to try to clear my name or save grace. If it was, I would have done it years ago. But after the Christchurch tragedy, I felt the responsibility to do something about it, because it's no longer just about me, it affected other people in a way. And I'm not okay with that. I've struggled to figure out how to do that, but this was not the right way to go about it. I knew it wasn't perfect, but I also didn't know a lot of things that surfaced throughout this whole thing about the charity that hasn't fit at all, so I understand why people have concerns about it.[284]

Kjellberg cited not hand-picking a charity organization due to his wedding and honeymoon causing his schedule to be busier than usual.[285][286] Additionally, he confirmed that he would still make a $50,000 donation to an organization at some point in the future, but after undergoing his usual process to select one.[285][286][287]

Other ventures

On 24 September 2015, Kjellberg released his own video game PewDiePie: Legend of the Brofist on iOS and Android. The game was developed by Canadian game developer Outerminds in collaboration with Kjellberg himself.[288][289] On 29 September 2016, he released another game developed by Outerminds, titled PewDiePie's Tuber Simulator.[290] It was released as a free app on iOS and Android devices. The game focuses on getting enough subscribers to dethrone Kjellberg as the king of YouTube. The game reached the number one spot on the App Store within a few days of its release, while also experiencing its servers crashing due to its popularity.[207][290]

Penguin Group's Razorbill imprint released Kjellberg's This Book Loves You, a parody of self-help books, on 20 October 2015.[112] The book includes a collection of aphorisms, jokes, and wisdom, paired with visuals.[291] The book was number one on The New York Times Best Seller list for two weeks in the Young Adult Paperback category.[292][293]

On 31 October 2017, former Goat Simulator developer and lead designer Armin Ibrisagic announced his partnership with Kjellberg for his video game Animal Super Squad.[294] Kjellberg helped Ibrisagic with the core concept of the game and provided him with feedback and creative direction.[294]

On 1 March 2018, Kjellberg and Marzia announced their unisex clothing brand Tsuki in a YouTube video.[295]

Personal life

Marzia Kjellberg, Felix's wife, in 2014

Marzia Kjellberg, Felix's wife, in 2014

Kjellberg married his long-time girlfriend Marzia Bisognin on 19 August 2019.[19][20] The two were introduced to each other through a friend of Bisognin’s in 2011, and after establishing an online friendship Kjellberg flew to Italy to meet her.[37] The pair shuffled between Sweden and Italy, before settling in Brighton and Hove, England.[37][296] Kjellberg explained that they moved to the UK in July 2013 for preference to live close to the sea and for better Internet connectivity.[37][297] He says he enjoys living in Brighton and Hove, as he is able to live in general anonymity.[29] The couple own two pet pugs named Edgar and Maya.[14]


YearsSeries or showRoleEpisodesRefs
2012Sveriges Television (Interview)Himself2[4]
2013Epic Rap Battles of HistoryMikhail Baryshnikov1[250]
Internet IconHimself1[251]
2013, 2015Smosh BabiesBaby Pewds2[5]
2013–2016YouTube RewindHimself4[6]
2014Good Mythical MorningHimself1[302]
asdfmovieLonely Guy / Magician1[303]
Skavlan (Interview)Himself1[304]
South ParkHimself2[260]
2015Oscar's Hotel for Fantastical CreaturesBrock6[262]
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (Interview)Himself1[263]
2016Scare PewDiePieHimself10 (All)[306]
Conan (Interview)Himself1[307]
Today (Interview)Himself1[308]


2015PewDiePie: Legend of the BrofistPlatform gameiOS, Android, Microsoft Windows, macOS[288]
2016PewDiePie's Tuber SimulatorSimulation gameiOS, Android[290]
2017PinstripePlatform gameMicrosoft Windows, macOS, Linux, Nintendo SwitchVoice role[309][310][311]
2018Animal Super SquadPhysics puzzle gameMicrosoft Windows, iOS, macOS, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One[294][312]
2019Zerø DeathsPlatform gameMicrosoft Windows, macOS[313][314]


List of singles, with selected chart positions
TitleYearPeak chart positionsRef(s)
[[LINK|lang_en|Billboard_charts|US Com.]]
"Bitch Lasagna"
(with Party in Backyard)
"Rewind Time"
(with Party in Backyard)
(with Roomie and Boyinaband)


2013Starcount Social Star AwardsMost Popular Social ShowWon[72][73]
Sweden Social Star AwardWon[71]
5th Shorty Awards#GamingWon[318]
20142014 Teen Choice AwardsWeb Star: GamingWon[319]
4th Streamy AwardsBest Gaming Channel, Show, or SeriesNominated[320]
2014 Golden Joystick AwardsGaming PersonalityWon[321]
20152015 Teen Choice AwardsChoice Web Star: MaleNominated[322]
5th Streamy AwardsBest First-Person Channel, Show, or SeriesNominated[323]
Best Gaming Channel, Show, or SeriesWon[323]
2015 Golden Joystick AwardsGaming PersonalityWon[324]
20168th Shorty AwardsYouTuber of the YearNominated[325]
201743rd People's Choice AwardsFavorite YouTube StarNominated[326]
20192019 Teen Choice AwardsChoice GamerWon[327]


Kjellberg, Felix (2015). This Book Loves You. Razorbill (Penguin Group). ISBN 978-1101999042.

See also

  • List of most-liked YouTube videos

  • List of most-disliked YouTube videos

  • List of most-subscribed YouTube channels

  • List of most-viewed YouTube channels

  • List of YouTube personalities


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