ByJay Ricciardi, writer at
Former Senior Editor of Now Loading.
Jay Ricciardi

Well, it has happened.

Pewdiepie, real name Felix Kjellberg, has now reached 50 million YouTube subscribers. That's more than the entire population of South Korea.

While this is an incredible feat in general, this subscriber number comes with a pretty serious earmark - Kjellberg vowed in a video last week to delete his YouTube account upon reaching 50 million as a form of protest against YouTube.

Now that he's hit that number, he took to Twitter to announce that as of 5pm GMT, December 9th, his channel will cease to exist.

What Will The Absence of YouTube's All-Star Mean?

Pewdiepie has been YouTube's greatest success story and is a walking testimonial for the platform. He's created thousands of videos and has amassed nearly 14 billion video views since starting his channel in 2010.

With 50 million subscribers, the gaming channel also dwarfs every other channel on the platform.

The next highest-subscribed channel is Chilean YouTuber HolaSoyGerman at 30 million, then followed by Justin Bieber's official channel at 25 million, then followed by YouTube's own YouTube Spotlight channel at 24 mil.

Besides being a massive flagship creator, Pewdiepie has been a living YouTube testimonial - losing him could do significant damage to the YouTube dream. While he's certainly not the only large YouTuber, and not the only one who can be a poster child, he's been a figurehead for gaming on YouTube, which represents a massive bloc of YouTube viewership.

Is It All A Big Stunt?

Now, this could also be a publicity stunt for PewDiePie. Let's not rule that out. He has, in the past, joked about joining ISIS to get a rise out of people - regardless of the backlash.

While it is awfully popular to be cynical of people with money and influence, I can't help but wonder if this is a convenient way to exit the YouTube space on a high note. At 50 million, his subscriber number is untouchable. With revenue in the tens of millions per year, he certainly isn't hurting for cash. But why throw away a 6-year legacy? Why abandon an incredible passive revenue stream, which could be used to actively support other creative talent?

With a wild hypothesis in hand, I think that six years of screaming into a camera on YouTube might just have been too much. Kjellberg has the money, has supported creative projects, and has name recognition to do whatever he wants with the rest of his life. Maybe he's been waiting for an opportunity to leverage his internet capital to shake things up and make an exit?

While many would be sad to see him go, this could be a perfect way to distance himself from his YouTube personality, rebrand, and begin a new chapter without the PewDiePie name.

But we'll have to see what happens to his account tomorrow at 5pm GMT.

What do you think of PewDiePie threatening to leave YouTube?


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