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Born Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg[1]
(1989-10-24) 24 October 1989 (age 25)[2]
Gothenburg, Sweden
Residence Brighton, England, United Kingdom[3]
Nationality Swedish
Other names PewDiePie
Alma mater Chalmers University of Technology[4][5]
(left prior to graduation)
Occupation YouTube personality, video game commentator, and YouTube comedian
Years active 2010–present
Employer Polaris (Maker Studios)
Known for Let's Play video game commentaries
Religion None (Agnostic atheist)[6]
Partner(s) Marzia Bisognin
Awards List of awards and nominations

Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg (Swedish: [ˈfeːlɪks ˈɕɛlˈbærj];[8] /ˈɛlbərɡ/ CHEL-bərg,[9] born 24 October 1989), better known by his online alias PewDiePie (/ˈpjuːdip/ PYOO-dee-pahy), is a Swedish producer of Let's Play videos on YouTube.

Since 15 August 2013, PewDiePie's channel has been the most subscribed channel on YouTube, being surpassed briefly in November and December 2013 by YouTube's Spotlight channel. Holding the position since 22 December 2013, the channel has reached over 34.8 million subscribers, as of February 2015.[10] On 19 July 2014, the channel surpassed RihannaVEVO to become the most viewed channel of all time.[11] Currently, the PewDiePie channel has received over 8 billion video views.[10]

PewDiePie has been able to positively influence the sales of indie games and raise money for charities via his "Bro Army" fanbase. Aside from his online activities, Kjellberg has also made appearances in other forms of media, including radio and television.

Early life

PewDiePie was born and raised in Gothenburg, Sweden.[7] Both his father, Ulf, and mother, Johanna, are Chief Executives of their respective companies in Sweden.[12] Johanna, a former KappAhl CIO, was named the 2010 CIO of the Year in Sweden.[13]

In 2008, he graduated from Göteborgs Högre Samskola.[14] 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 to focus on his YouTube career.[5][15] On this decision, PewDiePie has stated, "Thinking about it now, it was utterly absurd. To get into Chalmers for industrial economics you need straight A's, but somehow I was happier selling hot dogs and making my own gaming-videos."[12]

YouTube career

Channel format

The PewDiePie logo (The Blue Brofist)
Hosted by PewDiePie
Genre Comedy
Language English, Swedish
Debut 2 October 2010; 4 years ago (2010-10-02)

The main focus of PewDiePie's videos is his commentary and reactions to various games as he plays through them.[16][17] He is known for playing horror and action video games,[16][18][19] most notably Amnesia: The Dark Descent and its related mods.[20] Although videos of horror games used to be the norm for PewDiePie, in 2014, the gamer began to more actively play games that interested him, regardless if they were of the horror genre or not.[21] Unlike conventional walkthroughs, his 'Let's Play' videos are devoted to "sharing gaming moments on YouTube with my bros."[22] PewDiePie also began posting weekly vlogs starting from 2 September 2011.[23] He typically performs a 'Brofist' at the end of each of his videos.[24]

Nature of content

The nature of PewDiePie's video content has been described by various outlets as goofy, energetic, obnoxious and filled with profanity.[25][26][27][28] However, many of the same outlets concede that PewDiePie's content is genuine and unfiltered.[27][28] Additionally, PewDiePie's commentary has been described by Chris Reed of The Wall St. Cheat Sheet as, "off-the-cuff running commentary that’s characterized by goofy jokes, profanity, and loud outbursts."[28] Another reporter noted PewDiePie'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."[27] Reed adds that these aspects of PewDiePie's videos are what critics find most abrasive, but what fans love the most.[28] Despite these commentary characteristics, PewDiePie has been noted to, on occasion, be so absorbed in gameplay, causing silent or emotional commentary.[27][28] In particular, PewDiePie's playthrough of The Last of Us was documented for leaving the usually vocal gamer, speechless at the ending.[28][29]


Early years (2010–2013)

PewDiePie created his YouTube channel on 29 April 2010. Around the time his channel earned 700,000 subscribers, PewDiePie spoke at Nonick Conference 2012, about his channel, and its growth.[30][31] On 11 July 2012 the channel reached 1 million subscribers,[7] and later 2 million subscribers in September 2012.[16] In October 2012, OpenSlate ranked the PewDiePie channel as the #1 YouTube channel by terms of their own "SlateScore" rankings.[32]

In April 2013, PewDiePie's channel reached 6 million subscribers, earning coverage on The New York Times.[17] PewDiePie later won the award for Most Popular Social Show,[33][34] competing against Jenna Marbles, Smosh and Toby Turner,[33] as well as the Swedish Social Star Award, at the inaugural Starcount Social Stars Awards hosted in Singapore in May 2013.[35] He had also introduced the nominees for Most Popular Game during the live broadcast of the awards show.[36] In June 2013, the channel reached 8 million, and subsequently 9 million subscribers.[24][37]

Becoming the most subscribed user (2013)

In July 2013, he overtook Jenna Marbles as the second most subscribed YouTube channel, and surpassed the leading channel, Smosh, on 15 August 2013.[38][39][40] One day after becoming the first channel to reach 15 million subscribers, PewDiePie was overtaken by YouTube's Spotlight account at the top of the site's subscriber rankings.[41][42] In the same month, PewDiePie stated his disliking for YouTube's new comment system.[43] Later, in December 2013, PewDiePie overtook the YouTube Spotlight channel to, once again, become the most subscribed channel on YouTube.[44][45]

Throughout 2012 and 2013, PewDiePie's channel had been one of the fastest growing on YouTube, in terms of subscribers gained.[46] In 2013, the PewDiePie channel went from 3.5 million to just under 19 million subscribers,[47] and by the end of 2013 it was gaining a new subscriber every 1.037 seconds.[48] Additionally, in the second half of 2013, the PewDiePie channel reached just under 1.3 billion video views.[49] Billboard reported that the PewDiePie channel earned more subscribers than any other channel in 2013.[50]

Continued growth (2014–present)

In March 2014, PewDiePie updated his video production, announcing he would be scaling down the frequency of uploads.[51]

In late August 2014, PewDiePie uploaded a video, announcing he would permanently disable comments on his YouTube videos.[52] On his decision, PewDiePie 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."[53] After disabling comments, PewDiePie continued interacting with his audience through Twitter and Reddit.[54] In mid-September, PewDiePie uploaded a follow-up video, sticking by his decision, and announcing the launch of, an online forum, in which he will actively connect with, designed to replace the YouTube comment section.[55]

In September, it was documented that PewDiePie would begin streaming videos of his co-hosted series, BroKen, onto[56] Kjellberg co-hosts the series with Kenneth Morrison, better known as CinnamonToastKen, another online game commentary personality.[57]

PewDiePie would once again allow comments on videos starting on 13 October, although only after going through approval.[58][59] However, PewDiePie has tweeted, "I have them set as approved so I can redirect people to comment on my website instead."[60][61] In a later video, PewDiePie claimed that disabling comments helped him become happier.[62]

In 2014 alone, the PewDiePie account earned nearly 14 million new subscribers and over 4.1 billion video views; both figures were higher than any other user.[63][64]

Public image and influence

PewDiePie often refers to his fans as the 'Bro Army', made up of his 'Bros'.[37][65] At the Social Star Awards, PewDiePie greeted his fans personally despite security warning him against doing so.[66]

Early in his YouTube career, Kjellberg used rape jokes in his videos. Criticisms of the use of these jokes stirred controversy, and on 25 October 2012, Kjellberg posted a Tumblr message, stating "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 apologize if it ever did."[12][67] Additionally, 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."[25]

According to a survey commissioned by Variety, PewDiePie, along with other YouTube personalities, have been reported to be more influential and popular than mainstream celebrities, such as Jennifer Lawrence, among U.S. teenagers aged 13 through 18.[68] His channel also appeals strongly to younger viewers, a group Google refers to as Generation C for their habits of "creation, curation, connection and community".[22][69] Other articles have documented that 95% of gamers engage in watching online videos related to gaming, providing further insight on PewDiePie's rise in popularity on the internet.[70] On if he has a responsibility to his audience, PewDiePie has claimed, in a way, he does, stating, "many people see me as a friend they can chill with for 15 minutes a day," and 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."[14] Correlating with this note, his audience has been reported to provide positive remarks about the gamer, some saying that he has made them happier and feel better about themselves.[21] Conversely, during an informal Twitter poll conducted by one Kotaku reporter, respondents described the gamer as, "annoying," and an, "obnoxious waste of time."[21] PewDiePie has also been received negatively by the media, on some occasions, often reported as, "inexplicable phenomenon."[21] Andrew Wallenstein of Variety heavily criticized PewDiePie, following becoming the most subscribed channel, describing his videos as "aggressive stupidity" and "psycho babble."[26]

PewDiePie has been described as having "insane popularity" by Rob Walker of Yahoo!.[27] Walker, among other reporters, and some casual gamers, have questioned the gamer's popularity, with others criticizing it.[26][27][28] Walker made notes of PewDiePie'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."[27] Chris Reed of The Wall St. Cheat Sheet commented on the divisive opinion on PewDiePie, stating, "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."[28] Although The Daily Mail has described PewDiePie as, "one of the YouTube generation's most popular and influential figures," the gamer dislikes being called "famous", and has been reported to live a, "shy and retiring life."[12]

In June 2014, The Wall Street Journal reported that PewDiePie earned $4 million in 2013,[71][72] PewDiePie confirmed on Reddit that the figures were roughly around what he actually earned.[14] On the topic of his earnings, PewDiePie stated that he is "extremely tired of talking about how much I make. In the very few interviews I’ve made, it doesn’t matter how long we’ve talked to each other, the headline is still just about my paycheck."[73] Additionally, PewDiePie has stated, "I'm not out to max my income. I think my viewers would call me on that right away if I did. I've seen other YouTubers start selling and it's a mistake."[12]

Relationship with YouTube networks and programs

PewDiePie's channel is under Polaris, a gaming network, part of Maker Studios, a multi-channel network that drives the growth of the channels under it.[22][74][75][76] Despite being signed under a network, PewDiePie refuses to hire an editor to help him with his video output, stating "I want YouTube to be YouTube."[51]

PewDiePie previously expressed his disdain with Machinima, a rival YouTube network that he had been signed with prior to Maker Studios.[77] Feeling frustrated with how Machinima treated him, PewDiePie hired a lawyer to free him from his contract with the network.[78]

In October 2014, PewDiePie began hinting at the possibility that he may not renew his contract with Maker Studios, once it ends in December 2014.[79] Reports that covered this information also added that PewDiePie expressed his frustrations with the studio's parent company, Disney; PewDiePie was quoted saying, "The fact that Disney bought Maker Studios doesn’t really change anything for me. If I ask for help, they reply, but that’s all the contact we have. We’ll see what happens."[78] Rather than re-sign with Maker, PewDiePie has mulled the option of launching his own network, although he has declined to provide in-depth details on the subject.[14][80] However, in light of news outlets reporting the gamer's disinterest with Maker, PewDiePie 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."[81]

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.[82] PewDiePie joined various gamers in criticizing the program.[83][84] PewDiePie called the program a, "slap in the face to the YouTube channels that does focus on Nintendo game exclusively, adding, "The people who have helped and showed passion for Nintendo's community are the ones left in the dirt the most."[84] Despite criticisms from PewDiePie 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 program.[83] Additionally, PewDiePie, stated, "I'll still play Nintendo games that I want to play on my channel as usual. I'm lucky to be in a situation where losing ad revenue on a few videos wont matter. However, many people on YouTube are not in that situation."[85] Ultimately, the focal point of criticism is toward the approval of a video which Nintendo has to administer, and may be motivated by biased intentions.[85]

Charitable drives

PewDiePie has used his influence to be involved in charity fundraising drives.[86] In an interview with the Swedish magazine Icon, he has expressed his 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.[14] These videos are purchased by game manufacturers and advertisers, for prices ranging up to $50,000.[14]

In February 2012, PewDiePie ran for King of the Web, an online contest. He lost the overall title, however still became the "Gaming King of the Web" for the 1–15 February 2012 voting period.[87] During the following voting period, PewDiePie won and donated his cash winnings to the World Wildlife Fund.[88][89] He has raised money for the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.[16][88]

PewDiePie also began a "Water Campaign" charity, where his fans could donate money to Charity: Water, in celebration of reaching 10 million subscribers.[90] PewDiePie also contributed one dollar to the charity for every 500 views the video announcing the campaign accumulates, up to a maximum of $10,000.[91] PewDiePie had the goal of raising US$250,000, however at the end of the drive, the amount raised was $446,462.[88][92][93]

In June 2014, PewDiePie, announced that a fourth charity drive for "Save the Children" raised over $630,000, surpassing a $250,000 goal.[94]

Marketing campaigns

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.[95][96] 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."[97] Kjellberg and Bisgonin's videos were able to earn nearly 20 million views.[98] Maker Studios, which PewDiePie and Marzia are represented by, brokered the ad deal between the two and Legendary Pictures.[97]

In January 2015, Mountain Dew partnered with PewDiePie to launch a fan fiction contest, in which winning fan fictions will be animated into video formats and then uploaded onto Kjellberg's channel.[99]

Despite these partnerships, PewDiePie maintains that he conducts very few promotions and works with few brands.[14][100] On this topic, PewDiePie has claimed that it is disappointing when a large chunk of people misinterpret a component of his character; the gamer states, "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. Things like that can bring me down. But it’s not personal; some people just prefer to believe the worst about others at any given time."[14]

Appearances in other media

Aside from his own YouTube channel, PewDiePie has made appearances in the videos of other YouTube creators and series. In April 2013, the gamer made a cameo in an episode of Epic Rap Battles of History, portraying Mikhail Baryshnikov.[101] In July 2013, PewDiePie starred alongside Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox of Smosh, as well as Jenna Marbles, as guest judges on the second season of Internet Icon.[102] PewDiePie also appeared in the 2013 and 2014 editions of YouTube's annual year-end Rewind series.[103][104]

On 3 June 2014 Sveriges Radio announced that Kjellberg was chosen to host his own episode of the Swedish radio show Sommar i P1.[105] Due to the international popularity the episode was recorded in both Swedish and English. The Swedish version was broadcast 9 August 2014 in Sveriges Radio P1, and when the broadcast started the English version was published online.[106] The English version was made available on a dedicated server with extra capacity to avoid crashing the Sveriges Radio server.[107] 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.[108]

In December 2014, PewDiePie guest starred in two episodes of the 18th season of South Park, one of his favorite 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.[109][110] 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 favor watching others comment on events over experiencing events themselves.[109] Despite his appearances being short, he was at the center of the scenario. He was appearing in live action, a very rare occurrence for the series, being featured in the corner of the screen like in his own YouTube videos.[111]

Influence on video games

PewDiePie's commentaries have had a positive effect on sales of indie games.[70][112] 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."[113] PewDiePie, along with characters from Amnesia: The Dark Descent, which PewDiePie renamed and made characters within his own commentaries were referenced to by a McPixel level designed in his honor.[114] Additionally, in the video game Surgeon Simulator 2013, in the Alien Surgery stage one of the organs is called "Pewdsball" in honor of PewDiePie.[115][116] PewDiePie has also been confirmed to positively influence the sales of Slender: The Eight Pages and Goat Simulator.[21][14]

Although games featured on PewDiePie's channel have reportedly increased sales, the gamer has stated, "I just want to play the games, not influence sales."[117]

Personal life

PewDiePie is originally from Sweden,[1] although he later moved to live with his girlfriend, Marzia Bisognin (whose online alias is CutiePieMarzia), in her native country, Italy.[7] Bisognin is also a YouTube personality, specializing in videos of the fashion and beauty variety.[12][118] The two were introduced to each other through a friend of Bisognin's in 2011, and after establishing an online friendship, the gamer flew to Italy to meet her.[12]

The two shuffled between Sweden and Italy, before settling in Brighton, in the United Kingdom.[12] PewDiePie moved to the United Kingdom in July 2013 for better Internet connectivity.[119] Aside from his YouTube career, Kjellberg has been known to have ambitions of creating his own video game.[12]


Year Award Show Category Result Recipient(s) Ref
2013 Starcount Social Star Awards Most Popular Social Show Won PewDiePie [33][34]
Sweden Social Star Award Won [35]
Shorty Awards #Gaming Won PewDiePie (tie) [120]
2014 Teen Choice Awards Web Star: Gaming Won PewDiePie [121]
4th Streamy Awards Best Gaming Channel, Show, or Series Nominated PewDiePie [122]

See also



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Further reading


External links