|Birth Day:||October 24, 1989|
|Birth Place:||Gothenburg, Sweden|
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
He dropped out of the Chalmers University of Technology to pursue a career as an internet personality.
Kjellberg was born on 24 October 1989, in Gothenburg, Sweden, where he was also raised. 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. His mother, a former chief information officer (CIO), was named the 2010 CIO of the Year in Sweden. His father is also a corporate executive.
Kjellberg originally registered a YouTube account under the name "Pewdie" in December 2006 while still a teenager; he explained that "pew" represents the sound of lasers and "die" refers to death. After initially forgetting the password to this account, he registered the "PewDiePie" YouTube channel on 29 April 2010. The Pewdie channel later became active from January 2012 briefly serving as a 2nd channel, before it was abandoned years later. Following his exit from Chalmers, his parents refused to financially support him, so he funded his early videos by working as a harbor captain, selling prints of his Photoshop art, and working at a hot dog stand. Kjellberg stated that the ability to make videos was more important to him than a prestigious career. 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."
Kjellberg's oldest video available for viewing is titled "Minecraft Multiplayer Fun". Uploaded on 2 October 2010, the video is noted for containing mainly Swedish commentary from Kjellberg, rather than the English language he would later employ in his videos. The video has amassed over 14 million video views as of May 2020. His early content mainly consisted of Let's Play-styled videos. On these videos, Kjellberg has stated "I was so shy back then," and added, "It was so weird to me, sitting alone in a room talking into a microphone. That was unheard of back at the time. No one really did it." Fridays with PewDiePie is a notable set of videos uploaded by Kjellberg towards the beginning portion of his YouTube career. The series was a weekly deviation from the Let's Play videos that formed most of his content output at the time, and often featured vlogs and Kjellberg completing viewer requests.
During his childhood, Kjellberg 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. During high school, he would skip classes to play video games at an Internet café with friends. 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. While it has been reported that he left Chalmers to focus on his YouTube career, in 2017, Kjellberg clarified that he left because of his lack of interest in his course of study. He expressed that, in general, leaving university to pursue a YouTube career would be "fucking stupid".
In his early years as a YouTube creator, Kjellberg focused on video game commentaries, most notably of horror and action video games. 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. Starting on 2 September 2011, he also began posting weekly vlogs under the title of Fridays with PewDiePie. By December 2011, Kjellberg's channel had around 60,000 subscribers, and on 9 May 2012, it reached 500,000 subscribers. Around the time his channel earned 700,000 subscribers, Kjellberg spoke at Nonick Conference 2012. July 2012 saw his channel reaching 1 million subscribers, and it reached 2 million subscribers in September. In October, OpenSlate ranked Kjellberg's channel as the No. 1 YouTube channel. Kjellberg signed with Maker Studios in December, a multi-channel network (MCN) that drives the growth of the channels under it. Prior to his partnership with Maker, he was signed to Machinima, which operates as a rival to Maker. Kjellberg expressed feeling neglected by Machinima, and frustrated with their treatment, he hired a lawyer to free him from his contract with the network.
By December 2011, Kjellberg's channel had around 60,000 subscribers, and on 9 May 2012, it reached 500,000 subscribers. In March 2012, Swedish newspaper Expressen reported that PewDiePie had uploaded at least one video per day for the seven months preceding their report. Additionally, the publication noted that PewDiePie's channel accumulated 71 million total video views to that point, and 25 million video views in February 2012 alone. The channel reached 1 million subscribers in July 2012, and 2 million subscribers in September.
Early in his YouTube career, Kjellberg used jokes about rape in his videos. A satirical video mocking Kjellberg's content highlighted his usage of such jokes. 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." 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."
Throughout 2012 and 2013, Kjellberg's channel was one of the fastest growing on YouTube, in terms of subscribers gained. In 2013, the channel grew from 3.5 million to just under 19 million subscribers, and by the end of 2013, it was gaining a new subscriber every 1.037 seconds. Billboard reported that the channel gained more subscribers than any other channel in 2013. In June 2013, Tubefilter began a monthly listing of the most viewed YouTube channels. In 2013, PewDiePie was consistently toward the top of this listing, ranking #1 in June, July, August, October, and December of that year. Analyzing Tubefilter's data, The Guardian reported that PewDiePie's channel earned 1.3 billion video views in the second half of 2013. PewDiePie had two of the ten most-viewed gaming videos in 2013: the sixth-part of his Mad Father Let's Play was the third-most viewed of the year, earning 27 million views, and an entry in his Funny Gaming Montage series ranked as the eight-most viewed gaming video of 2013.
Kjellberg's popularity has allowed him to stir support for fundraising drives. In February 2012, Kjellberg ran for King of the Web, an online contest. He lost the overall title, but still became the "Gaming King of the Web" for the 1–15 February 2012 voting period. During the following voting period, Kjellberg won and donated his cash winnings to the World Wildlife Fund. He has raised money for the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and began a "Water Campaign" charity, where his fans could donate money to Charity: Water, in celebration of reaching ten million subscribers. Kjellberg contributed one dollar to the charity for every 500 views the video announcing the campaign accumulated, up to a maximum of $10,000. Kjellberg had the stated goal of raising US$250,000, but at the end of the drive, the amount raised was $446,612. Kjellberg organized another charity drive for Charity: Water in February 2016. The drive raised $152,239, surpassing a $100,000 goal.
Many of PewDiePie's most-viewed videos are highlight compilations of his Let's Play videos. One of these compilations, "A Funny Montage", was uploaded in June 2013 and spent a considerable amount of time as PewDiePie's most-viewed, with publications citing it as such through 2018.
On 18 February 2013, Kjellberg's channel reached 5 million subscribers, and in April, he was covered in The New York Times after surpassing 6 million subscribers. In May, at the inaugural Starcount Social Stars Awards in Singapore, Kjellberg won the award for "Swedish Social Star". Competing against Jenna Marbles, Smosh and Toby Turner, he also won the award for "Most Popular Social Show". In July 2013, he overtook Jenna Marbles to become the second most-subscribed YouTube user, and reached 10 million subscribers on 9 July. In August, Kjellberg signed with Maker's gaming sub-network, Polaris. Polaris functioned as a relaunching of The Game Station, Maker's gaming network.
Kjellberg's subscriber count surpassed that of the leading channel, Smosh, on 15 August 2013. Kjellberg received a certificate from Guinness World Records for becoming the most subscribed YouTuber. On 1 November, his channel became the first to reach 15 million subscribers; the following day, the channel was surpassed by YouTube's Spotlight account in subscribers. In the same month, Kjellberg proclaimed his dislike of YouTube's new comment system and disabled the comment section on all of his videos. On 22 December 2013, his channel overtook the YouTube Spotlight channel to once again become the most-subscribed on YouTube. Throughout 2012 and 2013, Kjellberg's channel was one of the fastest growing on YouTube, in terms of subscribers gained. In 2013, the channel grew from 3.5 million to just under 19 million subscribers, and by the end of 2013, it was gaining a new subscriber every 1.037 seconds. Billboard reported that the channel gained more subscribers than any other channel in 2013. Additionally, in the second half of 2013, it earned just under 1.3 billion video views.
On 18 February 2013, Kjellberg's channel reached 5 million subscribers, and in April, he was covered in The New York Times after surpassing 6 million subscribers. In July 2013, he overtook Jenna Marbles to become the second most-subscribed YouTube user, and reached 10 million subscribers on 9 July. Kjellberg's subscriber count surpassed that of the leading channel, Smosh, on 15 August 2013. On 1 November, his channel became the first to reach 15 million subscribers; the following day, the channel was surpassed by YouTube's Spotlight account in subscribers.
At the 2013 Social Star Awards, Kjellberg greeted his fans personally despite security warning him against doing so. Kjellberg also mentioned this event to Rolling Stone, stating, "I didn't even understand they were screaming for me at first." Kjellberg has commented on fans from Malaysia and Singapore; during a trip to Kuala Lumpur in 2016, fans entered his hotel to search for him, which he expressed annoyance with. In a 2019 vlog, Kjellberg expressed that fans in Malaysia and Singapore can be "very hectic and scream-ish and crazy, and they lose their minds when they see you." He later apologized to fans from the two countries, stating that seeing the effect he had "on fans back then [during his 2013 trip to Singapore] was cool" and that he would "be lying" if he claimed to hate this initial experience with fans, although added that he has grown to not enjoy being treated as more than a person. Business Insider Singapore reported that some fans took offense to Kjellberg's comments, but that "most netizens accepted the YouTuber's apology and admitted that fans had gone overboard in invading his privacy."
Aside from his own YouTube channel, Kjellberg has made appearances in the videos of other YouTube creators. In April 2013, he made a cameo in an episode of Epic Rap Battles of History, portraying Mikhail Baryshnikov. In July 2013, he starred alongside Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox of Smosh, as well as Jenna Marbles, as guest judges on the second season of Internet Icon. Kjellberg also appeared in YouTube's annual year-end Rewind series each year from 2013 to 2016; he once again appeared in YouTube Rewind in 2019.
In 2014, Kjellberg's commentaries, originally best known for featuring horror video games, began to feature games that interested him, regardless of genre. Kotaku wrote: "Instead of limiting himself to horror games, Pewdiepie is now actively playing more things that interest him."
In March, he updated his video production output, announcing he would be scaling down the frequency of uploads. 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. Later in the month, Kjellberg uploaded a video, announcing he would permanently disable comments on his YouTube videos. He cited most comments being spam and self-advertising, and was not what he wanted to see. After disabling comments, Kjellberg continued interacting with his audience through Twitter and Reddit. On 13 October, he decided to allow comments on his videos once more, albeit only after approval. However, he expressed that he toggled his comment settings this way so that he could redirect viewers to instead comment on the forums of his Broarmy.net website. He stated in a later video that disabling comments made him happier. In the same year, Kjellberg began streaming videos of his co-hosted series, BroKen, onto MLG.tv. He co-hosted the series with Kenneth Morrison, better known as CinnamonToastKen, who is also a video game commentator.
In October 2014, Kjellberg hinted at the possibility that he would not renew his contract with Maker Studios upon its expiration in December 2014. He had expressed his frustrations with the studio's parent company, Disney. Kjellberg mulled the option of launching his own network, however, in light of news outlets reporting his disinterest with Maker, he 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." Kjellberg would ultimately continue creating videos under Maker. His relationship with Maker caused the establishment of 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.
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. According to Social Blade, on 29 December 2014, Kjellberg's channel amassed over 7 billion views, to become the most-viewed channel on the website. During July 2015, his videos were documented to receive over 300 million views per month. On 6 September, his YouTube account became the first to eclipse 10 billion video views.
In 2014, PewDiePie's YouTube channel was the most-viewed in January, and then for seven consecutive months from March to September. In August 2014, Tubefilter reported that PewDiePie's channel surpassed the Rihanna VEVO channel on 19 July as the most-viewed on YouTube at around 5.2 billion video views. Data from Social Blade, however, shows that PewDiePie's channel still had less video views than the emimusic channel. According to their data, the PewDiePie channel surpassed emimusic on 29 December 2014, at over 7.2 billion views, to become the most-viewed channel on the website. According to Tubefilter and The Guardian, Kjellberg's channel amassed nearly 14 million new subscribers and around 4.1 billion video views in 2014; both figures were higher than any other user. The latter figure was a reported 81% increase from PewDiePie's video views in 2013; PewDiePie's channel was the most viewed in that year, as well.
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 was standing in line behind you at the bank?" Walker, among other reporters, have questioned and analysed reasons for his popularity. 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." 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." Writing about and analyzing Kjellberg's career, Kevin Roose of The New York Times wrote that during the period in which Kjellberg had the most-subscribed channel but prior to his alleged anti-Semitism controversy, "[Kjellberg] was not just the YouTuber with the biggest channel. To many Inner YouTubers, he represented the values of the platform — lo-fi, authentic, defiantly weird." 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 noted that his content was rarely written about.
Kjellberg's influence has ranked highly on various lists. Subtitled as the "King of YouTube" on The Verge's 2014 "Verge 50" list—the outlet's "definitive list of the most interesting people building the future." On his listing's blurb, The Verge wrote that "Kjellberg's real talent is finding the human within games. He's just a normal person, finding the authentic in games for an audience that are desperate for a little more humanity." 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." 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". 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." Forbes wrote that "[Kjellberg's] overall brand suffered earlier this year  when he included anti-Semitic content in nine of his videos," when citing their reason for not ranking him as the top gaming influence. Forbes still included Kjellberg in the gaming category of their June 2017 "Top Influencers" list. In September 2019, The Sunday Times ranked him first on their list of the UK's 100 most influential people online.
In March 2014, Kjellberg made an estimated $140,000–$1.4 million from YouTube revenue, according to Social Blade. In June 2014, The Wall Street Journal reported that Kjellberg earned $4 million in 2013; Kjellberg confirmed on Reddit that the figures were somewhat close to what he actually earned. 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. In 2015, outlets described Kjellberg's income as sizeable, and even "remarkable"; Kjellberg appeared at the top of Forbes' October 2015 list of the richest YouTube stars with a reported $12 million earned in 2015.
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. 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". The couple's videos were able to earn nearly 20 million views. Maker Studios, which both Kjellberg and Marzia were represented by, brokered the ad deal between the two and Legendary Pictures. 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.
On 3 June 2014, Sveriges Radio announced that Kjellberg was chosen to host his own episode of the Swedish radio show Sommar i P1. 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. 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.
In December 2014, Kjellberg guest starred in two episodes of the 18th season of South Park. 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. In the episodes, he parodied himself and other Let's Play commentators, providing commentary over Call of Duty gameplay in an overly expressive way.
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. 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. These videos are purchased by game manufacturers and advertisers, for prices ranging up to $50,000.
During September 2015, Kjellberg teased about having a role in a web television series, stating that he was in Los Angeles for the show's shooting. Although not many details were revealed at the time, it was later announced that the series would be an original YouTube Red series titled Scare PewDiePie. The series premiered the following February.
By 2015, his videos averaged over 300 million views per month. PewDiePie's channel eclipsed the 10 billion video view milestone on 6 September 2015, becoming the first channel to do so in the process. At that time, "A Funny Montage" (then-titled "Funny Montage #1") was PewDiePie's most-viewed video, with approximately 68.8 million views; a partial reason it accumulated many views was due to its status as PewDiePie's channel trailer.
ESPN noted in 2015 that Kjellberg typically performed a "Brofist" gesture at the end of his videos, and often referred to his fan base as the "Bro Army", addressing his audience as "bros". Likewise, media outlets also adopted the name when referring to Kjellberg's fan base. Later in his YouTube career, Kjellberg stopped using the term "Bro Army", and began to refer to his audience as "Squad Fam", "9 year olds", and later "19 year olds", in his videos. The fan base has been subject to 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."
In July 2015, Kjellberg was announced as a voice actor in the Vimeo fantasy series, Oscar's Hotel for Fantastical Creatures. In October of the same year, he appeared as a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where Colbert referred to him as "Emperor of the Internet". In February 2016, he appeared on Conan, playing Far Cry Primal as part of the show's Clueless Gamer segment. In 2019, he was a guest on the Cold Ones YouTube podcast.
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. On 29 September 2016, he released another game developed by Outerminds, PewDiePie's Tuber Simulator. It was released as a free app on iOS and Android devices, and reached the number one spot on the App Store within a few days of its release. 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. Kjellberg helped Ibrisagic with the core concept of the game and provided him with feedback and creative direction. In 2019, Kjellberg released two more video games: PewDiePie's Pixelings and Poopdie.
Penguin Group's Razorbill imprint released Kjellberg's This Book Loves You, a parody of self-help books, on 20 October 2015. The book is a collection of anti-proverbs paired with visuals. It was number-one on The New York Times Best Seller list for two weeks in the Young Adult Paperback category. Kjellberg and his wife Marzia launched Tsuki, a unisex clothing brand which they announced in a YouTube video.
During late 2016 and early 2017, Kjellberg uploaded a string of videos in response to YouTube changing their algorithms to focus more on a video's watch time statistics. Some of these videos addressed the changes' platform-wide negatives effects on content creators' viewership. In one of these videos, he stated he would be deleting his channel once it reached 50 million subscribers, a milestone that was soon approaching. As a satirical knock on the changing algorithms, Kjellberg made a video asking viewers to help the video reach 1 million likes, which it promptly did. He followed that video with one asking his viewers to have the video reach 1 million dislikes. With over 4.5 million dislikes (as of 22 April 2020), the video ranks as PewDiePie's most-disliked, as well as one of the most-disliked on the entire YouTube platform. Another video featuring Kjellberg asking his viewers to have it reach 1 million comments also garnered traction; at one point, the video was noted for having over 5 million comments. However, many of the comments have since been removed, and as of 14 April 2020, the video now has approximately 1.5 million comments. By early 2017, he had uploaded almost 3,500 videos to his channel, around 400 of which have been made private.
In January 2016, Kjellberg 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. After the deal, the head of Maker Studios, Courtney Holt, stated, "we're thrilled to be doubling down with Felix." Along with Kjellberg, eight other YouTubers signed to the network upon its creation: CinnamonToastKen, Marzia, Dodger, Emma Blackery, Jacksepticeye, Jelly, Kwebbelkop, and Markiplier. Three YouTubers – Cryaotic, KickThePJ and Slogoman – would later join the sub-network after its launch.
Throughout 2016, Kjellberg's video style change became more apparent. While producing fewer Let's Play videos about horror games, his style of humour changed; he commented that he had shifted to drier humour, which was often not understood by younger viewers. 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. 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."
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. He expressed many people working with YouTube "have no idea of the struggles that came with being a content creator." 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 [...] 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". As Kjellberg's channel approached 50 million subscribers, he stated he would delete his channel once it reached the milestone. On 8 December, his channel reached 50 million subscribers, becoming the first YouTube channel to do so. On 18 December 2016, he received a custom Play Button from YouTube as a reward for reaching this milestone. Ultimately, Kjellberg did not delete his PewDiePie channel, and instead deleted a smaller second channel he had then-recently created. In addition, he expressed discontent over YouTube's changing algorithm negatively affecting viewership for content creators. In 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.
In 2016, PewDiePie experienced decreased viewership, which was similarly experienced by other content creators across the platform, due to change's in YouTube's algorithm. On 8 December, his channel reached 50 million subscribers, becoming the first YouTube channel to do so.
Along with T-Series, the PewDiePie channel is one of only two on YouTube to receive all five tiers of YouTube Creator Awards: Silver, Gold, Diamond, Custom, and Red Diamond Creator. These awards are earned upon surpassing the 100,000; 1 million; 10 million; 50 million; and 100 million subscriber milestones, respectively. Kjellberg nicknamed his Custom Creator Award the Ruby Play Button, which he received in 2016. In 2019, Kjellberg's PewDiePie channel became the second overall, and the first run by an individual creator to receive the Red Diamond Creator Award.
In regards to his early Let's Play 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 loves to play these games and that he has fun doing it. As his content went through changes in style in 2016, Patricia Hernandez of Kotaku wrote, "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."
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. He has also been cited by various publications as largely influential for digital content creation and Internet culture, particularly relating to video gaming subcultures. Eurogamer noted that Kjellberg was cast by media reports as a "figurehead" of YouTubers, and for being nearly synonymous with gaming YouTubers in general. In 2016, Douglas Holt of Harvard Business Review wrote of Kjellberg as "YouTube's greatest success", and regarded him, about gaming subcultures, "the star of this digital art world—just as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Patti Smith had done in urban art worlds back in the analog days". Lev Grossman of Time wrote that Kjellberg dominated "an entire medium single-handed," and pioneered "a new form of fame not controlled or manufactured by a studio or a network."
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". This demographic has been more commonly referred to as Generation Z by researchers and popular media. According to a 2014 survey commissioned by Variety, Kjellberg, along with several 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. Studies of the gaming community on YouTube have shown that 95% of video game players engage in watching online videos related to gaming, which has been linked to being an important reason for Kjellberg's popularity. In 2016, Maker Studios' international chief content officer was cited in The Guardian as comparing "the average parent's bafflement at their teenage children's passion for stars like PewDiePie, KSI, and Zoella to past generations' inability to comprehend punk rock or gangsta rap." 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. He continued to be popular with this demographic by the end of the 2010s, with research by Morning Consult detailing that Kjellberg's name recognition and favorable opinions of him are of a comparable or higher level to mainstream athletes and entertainers such as LeBron James and Justin Bieber. The New York Times published results of an online reader poll the publication held, showing that only 17% of their digital readers correctly identified Kjellberg after seeing an image of him; the outlet wrote that the poll's results "probably reflect the fact that Times readers are older than a representative sample of Americans, citing that "in 2015, the median digital Times subscriber was 54 years old."
In December 2016, Forbes named Kjellberg as the highest-earning YouTuber with his annual income reaching $15 million. 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. Kjellberg relies on external revenue sources rather than YouTube's ad model, which he has stated is common for most YouTube content creators; Kjellberg commented that YouTube's ad revenue model is inefficient, unstable, and insecure. According to Forbes, Kjellberg's income dropped to $12 million in 2017, which made him the sixth highest-paid YouTuber during that year. 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.
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. During the livestream, they helped raise money for RED, a charity committed to helping eliminate HIV/AIDS in Africa. 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.
During the early portion of his YouTube career, Kjellberg did not hire any editor or outside assistance to help with his video output, stating he wanted "YouTube to be YouTube." While his early videos would simply feature raw footage, he later began to dedicate time to edit his videos. Swedish magazine Icon noted his use of the Adobe Premiere Pro editing software. On separate occasions, he later sought an editor and a production assistant to help with his content creation. Although now having an editor for his videos, in a 2017 video, he maintained that "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." In July, Kjellberg commented that a couple months prior, he had an office and a limited number of employees assisting him with his content creation.
Kjellberg has been noted by both himself and media outlets as prolific on the platform, having uploaded videos with a high frequency. By early 2017, he had uploaded almost 3,500 videos to his channel, around 400 of which have been made private. As a result, Kjellberg has made videos and statements expressing his feelings of burnout from frequently creating content for the platform, and its effect on his mental health. 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."
In January 2017, Kjellberg uploaded a video which appeared to show him using a racial slur. The video garnered criticism and widespread attention on Twitter. In another video, Kjellberg featured two paid individuals on Fiverr, asked to hold a sign that read "Death to all Jews". He alleged his intent was not against Jews, but to "showcase how crazy the website was". The video received negative attention and caused a media backlash, with various publications writing critically of Kjellberg's defense of his controversial content as jokes taken out of context, and opining that his content helps normalise ideologies such as fascism, neo-Nazism and white supremacy. The Wall Street Journal alleged that this was not the first time Kjellberg had used anti-Semitic language and imagery in his videos. Kjellberg and the two individuals later apologised, but the event led Maker Studios to cut their ties with Kjellberg and Google to drop him from the Google Preferred advertising program and cancel the upcoming second season of the Scare PewDiePie YouTube Red series. Ultimately, he apologised for his jokes, but strongly rebuked media coverage of the event, with particular criticism aimed at The Wall Street Journal.
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. 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. 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."
PewDiePie's channel appeals strongly to a group of viewers which Google refers to as "Generation C" for their habits of "creation, curation, connection and community". This demographic has been more commonly referred to as Generation Z by researchers and popular media. In the 2010s, the channel attracted younger viewers, such as teenagers and those in the 18–24 age range; various surveys conducted throughout the decade highlighted that PewDiePie's online influence within these age demographics was comparable to that of mainstream celebrities'. 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.
When reviewing Kjellberg's early video game commentary content, Swedish columnist Lars Lindström 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." Kjellberg has also been received negatively by the media, often being reported as an "inexplicable phenomenon." Andrew Wallenstein of Variety heavily criticized Kjellberg, following his channel becoming the most-subscribed on YouTube, describing his videos as "aggressive stupidity" and "psychobabble." Conversely, Walker has commented positively on Kjellberg's intelligence, stating Kjellberg is "clearly" smart based on when he speaks directly to his audience. Other outlets, such as The Verge and Time, have written similar sentiments, describing Kjellberg as "self conscious" and "articulate", respectively. In September 2017, 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."
In January 2018, Kjellberg uploaded a video of him singing to Party In Backyards' remix of "Hej Hej Monika", a 2004 Swedish pop song by Nic & the Family. This video was one of the ten most popular of the year in Sweden.
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. The three series listed were You Laugh You Lose, which features Kjellberg watching humorous video clips while trying to not laugh; Last Week I Asked You (LWIAY), having begun as a parody and homage to Jack Douglass' Yesterday I Asked You, where he challenges his audience to create content and reviews the output; and Meme Review, in which he reviews popular Internet memes. Furthermore, Kjellberg began a book club-styled series, with his own enjoyment with the series also being noted. Kjellberg also began Pew News, a satirical series where he presents and discusses recent news stories while in-character, often as fictional characters named after CNN hosts, such as Gloria Borger, Poppy Harlow, or Mary Katharine Ham and sometimes, an amalgamation of these names. Pew News parodies both mainstream news channels, such as CNN, and YouTube news channels, such as DramaAlert. Topics covered by Kjellberg on Pew News included culture war topics he previously avoided.
In a video uploaded in early December, Kjellberg promoted 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. Shortly thereafter, The Verge's Julia Alexander said that the video in question used imagery of the Charlottesville car attack, and that the channel made frequent use of racial and homophobic slurs. In December 2018, Vox reported that "E;R" also contained white supremacist messaging. After online criticism he described his posting as an "oopsie", and asserted that he had posted it "recommending someone for their anime review", rather any intention to promote anti-Semitism. Kjellberg said he was largely unaware of E;R's content apart from the Death Note video essay, and revoked his recommendation of the website. The video was edited to remove the reference.
In late 2018 and early 2019, Kjellberg reacted to various compilations of TikTok videos. On 27 December 2018, Kjellberg uploaded "YouTube Rewind 2018 but it's actually good", in response to the generally negatively-received YouTube Rewind 2018: Everyone Controls Rewind, which was originally uploaded by YouTube's Spotlight channel.
On 5 October 2018, Kjellberg uploaded a diss track against Indian record label T-Series titled "TSERIES DISS TRACK" (later renamed "Bitch Lasagna") in response to their YouTube channel being projected to surpass his in subscribers. The video went on to replace "A Funny Montage" as PewDiePie's most-viewed video; as of 25 April 2020, the video has accumulated over 245 million views. It included some lines mocking the Indian background of T-Series, such as the line “Your language sounds like it come [sic] from a mumblerap community” which have been described as racist in media publications, as well as in a court ruling from the High Court of Delhi. Kjellberg also made allegations against T-Series using subscribing bots, but failed to prove so, as YouTube claims to have a strong policy against fake-engagement. On the prospect of being surpassed by T-Series in terms of subscriber count, he stated he was not concerned about T-Series, but feared the consequences a corporate channel surpassing him would have for YouTube as a video-sharing platform. Online campaigns to "subscribe to PewDiePie" greatly assisted Kjellberg's subscriber growth; his channel gained 6.62 million subscribers in December 2018 alone, compared to the 7 million subscribers gained in all of 2017.
Online campaigns to "subscribe to PewDiePie" greatly assisted Kjellberg's subscriber growth; his channel gained 6.62 million subscribers in December 2018 alone, compared to the 7 million subscribers gained in all of 2017. Renewed interest in PewDiePie's videos due to his subscriber competition with T-Series resulted in his channel earning over 500 million video views in December 2018, which was then the channel's single-highest monthly view count. After briefly gaining the title several times in early 2019, on 27 March, T-Series surpassed Kjellberg in subscribers to become the most-subscribed channel on YouTube. The day after "Congratulations" was uploaded, Kjellberg temporarily regained his lead over T-Series as the most subscribed channel.
In 2018, while noting that his content was rarely analyzed or written about, 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." Touching on Kjellberg's alleged anti-Semitic controversy, MacInnes also added that he "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."
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. Kjellberg also hosted a livestream on 4 December, donating all of its proceeds to CRY. He raised over $200,000.
After briefly gaining the title several times in early 2019, on 27 March, T-Series surpassed Kjellberg in subscribers to become the most-subscribed channel on YouTube. On 31 March, Kjellberg posted another diss track music video, titled "Congratulations", ironically congratulating T-Series for obtaining the title. Many of the song's lyrics were performed in a sarcastic tone, at the expense of T-Series. In the music video, Kjellberg mocked T-Series and its actions, alleging T-Series was founded to sell pirated songs and mocking them for sending him a cease and desist letter after "Bitch Lasagna", alleging that his actions and words in that first diss track were defamatory. He also mentioned the CEO of T-Series' tax evasion scandal, collusions with the Mumbai mafia, and #MeToo allegations. The day after the video's upload, Kjellberg temporarily regained his lead over T-Series as the most subscribed channel.
On 9 April 2019, Kjellberg announced that he would live-stream exclusively on streaming service DLive as part of a deal with the company. On 21 June, Kjellberg launched Gaming Week, during which he would focus on uploading Let's Play videos every day for the first time in several years. Among the games played were Minecraft, which he surprised himself by enjoying. Kjellberg largely centered 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 he 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 enjoyment. 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 growing from 25,000 to 45,000 during that month. Despite this success, Kjellberg insisted that he played the game for his enjoyment and did not want to become solely a "Minecraft YouTuber", stating "If Minecraft gets boring, I can just move on to other things."
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. YouTube tweeted a congratulatory post to note the occurrence, and awarded him a Red Diamond Play Button. In October, Kjellberg stated in a video that his YouTube content, as well as content related to him on other websites such as Reddit, had been blocked in China. He explained that this was due to his comments about the 2019–20 Hong Kong protests and an image of China's paramount leader Xi Jinping being compared to Winnie-the-Pooh shown in a previous video. In December, Kjellberg was acknowledged as the most-viewed creator of the year, with more than 4 billion views in 2019.
In December 2019, Kjellberg announced that he would take a break from YouTube the following year, and deleted his Twitter account because of his dissatisfaction with the site. Kjellberg began his hiatus on 15 January 2020, and returned on 21 February. In May, he signed an exclusive deal to stream on YouTube, as the platform was enrolling high-profile streamers to rival competitors like Twitch and Mixer. At the time of signing with YouTube, Kjellberg had amassed over 800,000 followers on DLive, but due to his deal with former, and not having streamed on latter in four months, Tubefilter noted that it was unclear if Kjellberg was still affiliated with DLive.
In July 2019, in large part due to Kjellberg's Minecraft gameplay videos, the PewDiePie channel received over 570 million video views; The Verge noted it was Kjellberg's most successful month in years–in terms of video views. Data from Social Blade shows a 573 million video view figure–the then-most views the PewDiePie channel had ever received in a single month. Kjellberg was the most-viewed creator of 2019, with his channel receiving over 4 billion views during the year.
In April 2019, "Congratulations" and "Bitch Lasagna" were banned in India when the Delhi High Court granted an injunction in favor of T-Series. The complaint against PewDiePie allegedly stated that his songs were "defamatory, disparaging, insulting, and offensive," and noted that comments on the videos were "abusive, vulgar, and also racist in nature." Although both parties came to a settlement later in the year, PewDiePie's videos remain blocked in India.
On 16 October 2019, PewDiePie uploaded an episode of his Meme Review series, in which he reacted to memes about the 2019–20 Hong Kong protests. The video also featured his commentary on the China–NBA issue and the Blitzchung controversy, as well as memes comparing Chinese Communist Party general secretary Xi Jinping to Winnie-the-Pooh. As a result, PewDiePie's channel and content were reportedly censored in China. The BBC wrote that instead of a complete ban, only "some content related to the YouTuber has indeed been made inaccessible online," and that "there is no evidence to suggest this was done on the orders of the government." The BBC suggested that Baidu seemingly removed PewDiePie-related messages on a forum out of caution, but that "a [Baidu] search for his name still returns more than eight million results." Vox wrote that "access to reposted PewDiePie videos and music" appeared to be available to some regional users.
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. 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." In a 2019 interview with the New York Times, Kjellberg commented on his influence stating, "it's weird for me to be in this position because I don't really want to be in this position." He went on to express feelings of nostalgia for his early YouTube career, when he had fewer subscribers, and admitted to periodically thinking about giving up the platform altogether.
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. 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" (about the Oprah effect-like success enjoyed by games Kjellberg has played). Several other popular YouTubers followed suit by focusing on Minecraft content. Polygon also noted that in the wake of Kjellberg's focus on Minecraft, YouTubers focused on Fortnite began to shift towards making Minecraft videos instead.
Eventually, Kjellberg began to work with more brands, stating that he wanted to have genuine relationship with brands, and added he was lucky to not be dependent on working with them to support his career. In January 2019, Kjellberg announced a partnership with energy drink company G Fuel.
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. Kjellberg has previously spoken on the topic of mental health, including his struggles with his own, and as part of the UK's Mental Health Awareness Week in 2017, he highlighted various resources to help one's mental health in a video.
In celebration of receiving his 100 million subscribers Play Button in September 2019, Kjellberg announced in a video that he was donating $50,000 to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an international Jewish non-governmental organisation. Part of Kjellberg's fanbase criticized his decision, citing controversial actions and stances of the ADL. Kotaku and Vice praised Kjellberg's donation and were critical of the portion of Kjellberg's fanbase who opposed the donation. 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 had done with previous donations. 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 a suitable one.
On 31 October 2019, Kjellberg donated $69,420 to Team Trees, a fundraising drive taking action against deforestation by pledging to plant one tree for every dollar donated. The donation number is a comedic in-joke combining numbers from internet culture: 69 and 420.
Kjellberg married his long-time Italian girlfriend Marzia Bisognin on 19 August 2019. The two were introduced to each other through a friend of Bisognin's in 2011, and after establishing an online relationship, Kjellberg flew to Italy to meet her. The pair shuffled between Sweden and Italy, before settling in Brighton and Hove, England. Kjellberg explained that they moved to the UK in July 2013 for preference to live close to the sea and for better Internet connectivity. He says he enjoys living in Brighton and Hove, as he is able to live in general anonymity. The two also have a home in Japan.
Regarding his political beliefs, Kjellberg has stated he is "more apolitical than anything," and that he was "somewhere in between" left-wing and right-wing. His religious views are ambiguous, as he stated "I don't know what I would consider myself religiously," in a 2019 video. Previously, he stated he is an agnostic atheist.
Currently, PewDiePie is 32 years, 6 months and 29 days old. PewDiePie will celebrate 33rd birthday on a Monday 24th of October 2022.
Find out about PewDiePie birthday activities in timeline view here.