PewDiePie, the most-subscribed YouTuber in history, has pledged that today, Friday the 9th of December 2016, will be the day that he deletes his YouTube channel. Felix stated earlier this month that when he reached 50 million subscribers he would take his channel out to the old barn out back and gently put it to sleep with a rocket launcher and now, having reached that milestone, he appears to be staying true to his word.
Will he actually delete his channel? Only time will tell, but even if he doesn’t, it won’t matter – ‘PewDiePie’, as a concept, has been dead for ages – Felix moved on from it a while back. Deleting the channel won’t be a dramatic move, just the last step in a shutdown that Felix has been carrying out for months, if not years. The channel that we all knew as ‘PewDiePie’ – the one that was widely parodied and, in some cases, mocked, hasn’t truly existed for quite some time. Today, we look back at its life and times.
The PewDiePie channel originally began to blow up because of Felix’s terrified reactions to horror games. It was such a successful video format that it set his channel on a course for megastardom and created several YouTube genres in one go. Not only did gaming truly break into the mainstream of online video entertainment, but so did getting very excited about games and jumping around – a format that was then taken up by beloved faves like Markiplier and even more notably, JackSepticEye.
It is arguable that without PewDiePie, gaming might not have reached the kind of dominant position that it currently holds on YouTube – or at least it would have, but more slowly. Don’t get us wrong, we’re well aware that there were popular YouTube gamers long before PewDiePie, but Pewds was the one who made it mainstream. PewDiePie is the YouTube gamer your mum has heard of – he might even be one of the few YouTubers your grandma has heard of. The dude became huge … and he found he didn’t like it.
Felix began a long and public process of self-discovery. It sounds cheesy but it’s true – the guy was literally trying to work out who he was, who he wanted to be, what his channel should be and so on. He began to slowly stop posting the kind of high-energy gaming videos he was known for and started making sketches. He also started to use his position as the world’s biggest YouTuber to call out problems with the site – like his rant about YouTubers making videos over 10 minutes to make more money. During all this, he never seemed to precisely find a groove. For every video he posted trying to make a change, he also would post a dumb Marina Joyce parody (which became more repetitive and boring than offensive).
He spoke publicly of his weariness of both life as a YouTuber and the general culture surrounding online stars. This came to a head when he managed to get himself suspended from Twitter. Felix was disillusioned with the state of affairs that had gifted him enormous audience and he seemed conflicted about how best to use his influence. With the launch of Revelmode, Felix’s new network, it may be that he intends to move out of the spotlight and turn his focus to management, like other one-time biggest YouTuber in the world Ray William Johnson. Whatever he does, it is sure to be a change of pace from the ‘PewDiePie’ that we all knew back in 2011.
So don’t mourn the PewDiePie channel – don’t be shocked when it’s gone; it’s already gone. The only true entertainment, or magic, or whatever you want to call it, comes from the creator himself, not from one single channel. PewDiePie may be long gone, but we’ll still have Felix – crazy, brilliant Felix. That doesn’t mean that we don’t hope that he doesn’t leave YouTube. Not many people could take the power and influence that Felix has and not let it go to their head. Felix has raised tons of money for charity, gone out of his way to shake up the YouTube community and has been unafraid to apologise and improve himself when he makes mistakes. We don’t know what your plans are, dude, but we sincerely hope that we all still get to be a part of them.