YouTube Video Game Star PewDiePie Earns $4 Million Per Year

He dropped out of college and started selling hot dogs; now, 24-year-old Felix Kjellberg AKA PewDiePie is a leading force on YouTube with 27 million subscribers.

Swedish YouTube phenom Felix Kjellberg, better known to gamers as PewDiePie, has 27 million subscribers and pulls in around $4 million in ad sales per year. Most of this is straight profit, according to a profile of Kjellberg published in The Wall Street Journal.

Kjellberg, 24, created PewDiePie five years ago. In December of 2012, he signed a deal with online video content creator Maker Studios, which sold itself to media giant Disney just a few months ago.

He is best known for his funny videos that aren't video game reviews, but rather "Let's Play"-style programs where he plays a title and narrates his experience. In the past two weeks alone, he's posted more than two dozen videos featuring games like Among The Sleep and Next Car Game. With the exception of one video that went up today, all of these videos have attracted more than 2 million views.

Kjellberg admits that the kind of videos he's making are, in some ways, encouraging developers to create games that are not only fun to play, but to also watch others play. "It's cool to have this kind of influence, but at the same time it's kind of scary," Kjellberg said.

Before he rose to fame as a YouTube star, Kjellberg went to college in Gothenburg, Sweden, uploading videos during his spare time. He later dropped out of school and starting selling hot dogs instead.

Where did the name PewDiePie come from? Kjellberg says the original name for his YouTube account was PewDie ("pew" for the sound of a laser gun and "die" for death), but after he lost his account password he had to come up with a new name, so he added "Pie" to it.

His prominence on YouTube is somewhat unsettling, he said. "I'm so central to YouTube now, and that puts me in the spotlight and raises a lot of questions like 'Why is he so big?'" Kjellberg said. "I'd much rather prefer to have something like 5 million subscribers."

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Discussion

740 comments
bbuscemi1
bbuscemi1

I'm not the biggest fan of his, but I don't understand the hate that this guy receives, sure he may not be funny to you, sure he may be annoying, so dont watch his videos. Nobody is forcing you to watch it, so just dont; everybody gets so angry that whatever he does made him successful and now he gets millions of dollars. He didn't create the system, he isn't robbing  anybody, he just has a personality that many people enjoy watching continuously (a lot of people). 

TL:DR- Maybe you dont like him, other people do. Get over it. He isn't a bad person

bobbytebe
bobbytebe

Well, I understand why so many people didn't like him because he made so many swearing words and annoying. But guys, he is a comedian with his way, play video games. We can't blame him for that, just look how many views he got in 24 hours is more than 1 million. I subs him since he had about 600000 subs. It's fun to see the way he react not only to a rage games (or anything than make the player upset -_-), but in a "Let's Play" game. I can tell like To The Moon, The Walking Dead Season 1, Heavy Rain, The Last Of Us, and many more, he played it with sad emotion, especially at the ending or hard situation, that's why I like him. He can bring the viewers to feel the game even they didn't play it. And he find a way to connect with his BroArmy with the Friday With Pewdiepe and VLogs video, it's a small step ahead to keep touch with us. He's creative too, he got the #PewdsDoesEverythings idea (Do everythings that his followers told him to do), so many people enjoy it. Felix is active on charity program too dude, when he gave all his money gift from a nomination (I forget) to WWF to save the tiger. Then ask all his Bros to donate for Save The Children, Clean Water, and Cancer charity. All of them reach the target. To thanks the Bros, Felix gave a gift like Razer Gaming Laptop, Razer Headset, and many more. I think he deserves this.


Sorry for long comment, but many of you disrespect him. We, BroArmy, are not immature fans. Call us crazy if donate money for cancer patients is wrong. Think about it.


Sorry for my bad English too, Brofist :D

blackace
blackace

Yeah, this guy is annoying and swears like every other sentence. i don't see the joy in watching this crap, but I can understand why a bunch of immature teens would be watching this. My stepson would watch garbage like this and enjoy it. Anyone else would avoid this guy like the plague.

RKO_Viper
RKO_Viper

*Looks at comments below*


Haters gonna hate.

klugenbeel
klugenbeel

People watch this Euro-trash? He's more annoying than Russell Brand, and that's hard to top.

bluefox755
bluefox755

This guy is just brutal, I tried to watch one of his videos, I think it was Last of Us Let's Play, I couldn't last more than 30 seconds. He is just beyond annoying. I don't have anything against him personally, as I don't know him, but it's just baffling to me that anyone can stand to watch this guy.

whakyZ86
whakyZ86

I've only watched maybe 5 videos, but i'd be lying if i said he didn't make me guffaw on numerous occasion.  the video that springs to mind is the one where he plays Goat Simulator.  no small amount of laughs there

Vienreich
Vienreich

We have close to a billion fellow human beings in severe poverty, and here we have a dude fooling around in front of a camera making millions.  It makes me puke, that I'm living in such barbaric times. 

normanislost
normanislost

I prefer Zemalf myself his perfect Xcom run was pretty impressive and his accent is hypnotic

WolfgarTheQuiet
WolfgarTheQuiet

Ad Block is our friend, just allow websites you really like and that deserve it to advertise.

killedbyzack
killedbyzack

Not a fan, and intentionally avoid his videos just so he DOESN'T get paid on account of me adding a view to his videos.

Llama345
Llama345

He can make all the money he wants, what weird me out is people are actually really into being this guys fan. PewDiePie's army is what I think they are called. It is scary how much influence someone has over a mass of people with no brains. If it entrains you, fine. But don't be a cult; find other things to enjoy. 

UberMan5000
UberMan5000

I've got The Wolf of Wall Street on TV at the moment. It's about a stockbroker who made $50 million inside of three years by shovelling dopey stocks onto the working class while he ingests enough coke to double Colombia's GDP and gets dominatrices to shove candles up his ass.


PewDiePie's probably not nearly enough of a degenerate (though it would be hilarious if we found out he was), but pardon me if I'm not all that intrigued by someone being grotesquely overpaid for not-really-work because New Media has no idea what constitutes valuable entertainment.


Though once they finally figure it out, I don't know where it'll leave this shrieking sack of crap.

joejoe1639
joejoe1639

Though obviously many people don't view what he does as important enough to justify the amount of money he makes, the same can honestly be said of most rich people.

CEO's tend to just get chain-of-commanded into their position without earning it or even being competent enough to do the job.  Athlete's are paid million to play a game that most of the free world does for fun; hell, most normal people actually pay to join competitive leagues in their free time.  Movie stars... lol. 


He's the creative force behind something a lot of people love; enough people to make him rich.  Good for him.

inuyashagalo
inuyashagalo

Wow, a lot of people are talking bullshit here.
I sense hypocrisy. Wake up, people. 

Xirtahm
Xirtahm

You can't really get mad at HIM.  Get mad at the frantic viewers that continue to watch his videos.

Mindwipe77
Mindwipe77

I seen a few of his vids and i just don't see the appeal.  It's hard to believe he's making more than doctors just by doing this lol, why even go to college then? :P

mikkel246
mikkel246

He has my deepest respect.

He uses what I've heard between 10 to 12 hours a day on his video, and do it all himself.


And not one mention of him raising over $ 1million for charity over the years, if not more.

All other major youtuber's are assholes who do not even lift a finger even more, they have people to do it ....

so yes he has my repeskt.

highpitcairn
highpitcairn

When people work hard to make money, he Just goofing off making Awful video that make money more than our hardworking people

Dkmariolink3
Dkmariolink3

So.... He makes more than brain surgeons. Firemen. Scientist. People who save lives. What the hell has the world come to? 4 million a year is more than what ANY of us will be earning, unless we become the next Bill Gates...


I understand athletes, because they actually WORK for their money... 


Im not hating on Pewdiepie, shits just messed up man (says in a Kanji voice)

therealzorvan
therealzorvan

Morons like this guy and "athletes" while scientist working on lifesaving cures make chump change. This is why the world is a ball of dung and there's absolutely no reason to give a crap anymore.

Rohan233
Rohan233

in my opinion, the dude is not funny at all and exaggerates his humor and child like character to the max. But props to him in convincing everyone else to enjoy watching him do his lets play, and earning himself 4 mill a year. But in perspective, people trying to make the world a better place which requires an actual brain(teachers, scientists etc.), should be making 20 million in correlation to this dude. 

mred1289
mred1289

i seriously dont undertsand how somone who sits in a chair all day earns millions dude we all play games ,why are you so special,im pretty sure we all do funny stuff and do better gameplay then him but we just prefer to keep the experince of the game within the confines of the room we are playing it in,its just stupid we all play games but this particular gets milions for doing it 

JohnTheLyrical
JohnTheLyrical

@BIGFELLAH26  some people have they ways of living dude...the laws of nature...Felix is just one of those phenomenons..shit i aint mad at him..truth be told he's alright.

bluefox755
bluefox755

@Vienreich I don't like the guy either, but do you have a solution? Perhaps we should take his money? And everyone else's that you or someone else deems is making "too much".

WolfgarTheQuiet
WolfgarTheQuiet

@killedbyzack Ad Block, fu*k em. Most of these dudes are sellouts and get paid to speak good of many games that are not so good.

WolfgarTheQuiet
WolfgarTheQuiet

@Llama345  Ad Block, fu*k em. Most of these dudes are sellouts and get paid to speak good of many games that are not so good. Also dont people play games these days haha, i mean even i will watch some stuff but usually very old games on systems i never had or such.

BIGFELLAH26
BIGFELLAH26

@UberMan5000 Didn't like Wolf of Wall Street. I laughed but it made me feel like crap for laughing. An example is midget throwing, that isn't funny at all but I laughed and I don't know why.

Llama345
Llama345

@UberMan5000 People value PewDiePie, therefore he is valuable. Supply and demand. You can't fault a company for making money off of chumps who watch this stuff. I personally don't find it entertaining but lots of people do. 

UberMan5000
UberMan5000

@joejoe1639 Even more people hate it, but whatever. This is a little annoying for the rest of us that can't make a living by screaming like little girls.

drockus
drockus

@inuyashagalo Right, "hypocrisy" because we all make $4 mil a year as well, while contributing next to nothing? Uh, I just wish I could "wake up". I'm such a sheeple.

normanislost
normanislost

@Xirtahm  I don't people are mad I think their just jealous that he's making money playing games....I'm starting to hate him now

highpitcairn
highpitcairn

@Mindwipe77  People Like to Respect someone who doing the right thing, because without respect You feel lifeless. people who likes this guy is probably gets addicted.

highpitcairn
highpitcairn

@mikkel246 I personally like him because he handsome and helpful, but his awful job just make me want to punch him

bishop60
bishop60

@Dkmariolink3 hell im angry that athletes get paid as much as they do. We're the ones making these fools rich. throwing a ball and running through a field and being able to get millions per year is ridiculous. just like you said, we have people who actually help the community, and get shit for it. The media has truly ruined society.

Crucifier_Z
Crucifier_Z

@Dkmariolink3 It's nothing new though, just look at all those movie stars or pop stars who get paid for an equal amount of effort.

Goukakyuu91
Goukakyuu91

It works the same way as with people who play in TV shows, really. He's become an entertainer, and that's a profession like any other. If you think you can get enough money to support yourself by doing something similar, go for it. 

ck10304
ck10304

@mred1289 Don't blame him for making millions at it, blame yourself for not

UberMan5000
UberMan5000

@Llama345 PewDiePie: More valuable than schoolteachers, apparently, and in higher demand.