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

759 comments
vonzippa
vonzippa

Nobody "earns" 4 million a year.  Some people are (over)paid that much, but they certainly don't "earn" it.

BlazingSpeed
BlazingSpeed

Right, I didn't even know who this guy was before those stupid Gamefaqs ads (you know those unrelated to video games...) but the 4 million dollar tag combined with youtube got me.


Ad sales huh? I was thinking that PewDiePie was sponsored or something I was making some youtube ad money off of posting video game tricks and stuff but nothing like that.

Oh well, it's good to know that much money can still be made even with most video gaming companies like Nintendo practically banning money making playthrough videos.

I wonder if making videos like that fan made live action Pokemon trailer that got 3 million views in three days could compare to this guy.


I have my own Ideas (many in progress now...) about making money so stop hating people "stay out of this guys stuff and get your own stuff".



Leykis
Leykis

Beyond sickening what this ahole makes. To think there are people out there who actually work for a living and do more good for society than this pile of sh*t and they struggle to make ends meet while this jackass gets paid millions for being.....a jackass. Sick world we live in.

charlievo
charlievo

there are companies you pay and they will post on your channel an subscribes.  He paid for them, got to pay to play.  Pewdiepie did it and now he's successful, congrats to him.  Also his girlfriend play a big part of his success also.

grin89
grin89

how do you make money off youtube?

ecs33
ecs33

Look at all these haters...My God...talk about first world problems. Most here probably make plenty enough to stay happy, healthy and have the luxury to do a lot of fun things and all you do is complain that someone else is more fortunate, saying that we live in "barbaric" times..bahah. Maybe try being an average person in the middle ages and you will see how nice your life is.


If you want to be super rich, get a good idea, execute, and hope lady luck is on your side. That's ultimately what it comes down to. You will never be super rich as an employee.

tajirinere
tajirinere

man...i wish i could me some of dem Amadeus dollars. wish i had content to publish

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

galagya
galagya

@ecs33 Well, first off I have to disagree with this statement:
"Most here probably make plenty enough to stay happy, healthy and have the luxury to do a lot of fun things[...]"

Most people are not upper class, or even upper-middle class, let alone live in luxury. Personally, I am below the legal poverty level. That is just me of course, but I would guess others posting here aren't as well off as you'd think. There are WAY more people on the lower end of the spectrum in this case... it's nothing like how it used to be, where the average household(family or not) was doing just fine most of the time, or more than fine. There is an enormous(& imo disgusting and insulting) gap between the haves and the have-nots.& about their complaints on the subject, well I think that it is definitely more related to what I just said than anything to do with "first world problems". They are not as worse off as some, of course not. But they still struggle. I myself have been homeless. So don't assume their opinions don't matter just because they can feed themselves, y'know? Just what I think, anyway. You can ultimately assume what you want if you so choose. That is certainly your right.

The issue truly lies in how these super rich people get their money. They do not earn it, & it stands to reason that those who work more, bring more to the table, should share in the riches as well. & the person this article is about is a phenomenally appropriate example of this.

Here's something to compare it to really quick, off the top of my head: everyone helps build a shelter. There are 5 men.

& I will be the first to quickly admit that there are probably plenty of flaws, curiosities, and contradictions with the above comparison. But it is a mere example I made up on the spot to try & help explain things better. Hopefully it helps a bit, but if not, feel free to ignore it. Don't take it too seriously, & PLEASE, don't assume it is the basis of my argument in any way, shape, or form.

I could elaborate but I feel like this is getting way too long already; isn't it? I'll drop it now, but if you have any questions/comments/concerns regarding my response, fire away, I guess. I rarely log in or even browse around this site so no promises on my return here, but still, I'll try & remember. In any case, hope you all have a good one, & tc.

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.

ecs33
ecs33

@Vienreich  No...barbaric times are when everyone is mandated the same mediocre salaries. First world probems, bro.

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

ecs33
ecs33

@Mindwipe77  34 million + ads = lots of $ for Youtube.

If you can rake in the hits, you can rake in the money. It's just like music. There are crappy bands that make a lot of money because they have a lot of fans, and there are great bands that make a lot less.

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.

joosh292
joosh292

Why is it that you live in poverty. Both my dad and I have gone to good colleges and graduated with 4 year degrees in accounting and both have jobs that pull in 450k a year. Atleast thats what I pull in and he probably makes more. But why cant you. All our college debt is paid off. So dont say anything about debt because getting a good job will pay it off. He makes money off of something thats not hard, but instead of hating on him how about you get a job that pays high. Most people who complain about this dont even apply to jobs with high incomes with no confidence of getting the job.

joosh292
joosh292

Why is it that you live in poverty. Both my dad and I have gone to good colleges and graduated with 4 year degrees in accounting and both have jobs that pull in 450k a year. Atleast thats what I pull in and he probably makes more. But why cant you. All our college debt is paid off. So dont say anything about debt because getting a good job will pay it off. He makes money off of something thats not hard, but instead of hating on him how about you get a job that pays high. Most people who complain about this dont even apply to jobs with high incomes with no confidence of getting the job..

UberMan5000
UberMan5000

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

galagya
galagya

@joosh292 You cannot get a high income job without having a degree. Colleges charge money. A lot of money. It's a no-win situation when you grow up in poverty. I live in poverty because I do not have the degree to pull in 450k a year. Ignoring debt altogether, I do not have the means to go to college at all. I got my GED early, and I am unable to live my life working my two jobs and also borrow money and go to school(not that I have time anyway). You make 450k a year? That is very good on you. I am happy for you! & I am happy for your father. I was not "hating" - just saying it how it is. It is a fact that you are well off, and that being so well off is not likely, at all. It is not the norm, by any means, to "pull in 450k a year". I am glad you live such a great life. I don't know you, I mean, why would I personally hate or even dislike you? But do not say you deserve it more, or you just tried harder. That is absolutely insane. I have actually tried to go to college, and I got accepted, got a loan... and guess what? I was forced to work overtime randomly, not able to make classes(coz I have nobody to bail me out personally or pay my bills, y'know, so of course I have to pick the job(currently surviving) over college(living well in the future)). It sucks, and there really is no way out. It is like that for most people.

Maybe if colleges were less about money, too... maybe if jobs and colleges would work together. Maybe if things were less bias in various areas. Maybe, maybe, maybe, who knows what could change things. But this is how the world really is. I understand that you don't see it that way, but that is because you have obviously not experienced it. You live a good life. I really hope it stays that way for you forever, & I wish you the best of luck. But you simply do not understand, & it's because you have not seen it, lived it, felt it. I hope you never have to.

tc, stranger.