Who knew making whimsical gaming videos amounts to millions of dollars? Ask PewDiePie, who tops the Forbes World’s Top-Earning Stars List. According to a Re/code report, the Swedish college dropout made a whopping $12 million in 2014.
Perhaps, the mention of the name Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg (or Felix Kjellberg, for short) causes you to hunch your shoulders on the question of familiarity. However, add the name PewDiePie, Pewds or Pewdie into the mix, and you may do a hop, skip, and jump among his other 40 million subscribers around the world.
The 25-year-old Swede is a web-based producer and comic who has the reputation for being the mind and voice behind Let’s Play vlogs and f-bomb-heavy commentary on YouTube while he games. Millions of subscribers and advertisers account for Kjellberg earning millions of bucks last year alone.
— JustSomeCanadianGirl (@maddiehopezemke) October 7, 2015
Forbes compiled the list this year for the first time and identified 10 channel owners who earn the most bang for their bucks from their themed productions. PewDiePie owns the top spot, but the person who holds the last position isn’t doing too shabby; they earned $2.5 million gross in the fiscal period ending June 1, 2015
The wealth-ranking magazine says it arrives at the final results in earnings using gross amounts (before backing out managerial fees and other applicable taxes). The numbers are based on several data points: IMBD, Nielsen and other credible income tracking sources. Input from the stars making the list, their agents, attorneys, and industry pundits are also used to determine the winners and losers.
Lady Gaga, aka Mother Monster, has, well, monster fans. Pewds calls his loyalists “bros” when addressing a person, and “Bro Army” when referring to his legion of followers. The talented comedian began his “Playing Videogames With Your Bros” channel on a struck of luck.
He graduated high school in 2008 and enrolled at Chalmers University of Technology to pursue a degree in Industrial Economics and Technology Management. Pewdie soon tired of that gig and, at the chagrin of his parents, dropped out in 2011 to began his YouTube career.
With no support from his mom and dad, he worked at a hot dog stand to pay bills and support himself. In a recent interview, the YouTuber said he was happier selling wiener dogs and making video games than attending college. Based on his $12 million in earnings last year, it wasn’t a bad idea — all things considered.
PewDiePie’s content is described in colorful ways by various outlets. Some call his style, “energetic” and “goof,” while others call his library production “obnoxious and filled with profanity.” While Pewdie’s delivery is questionable, he strikes a balance with his wit and special effects.
The famous YouTuber’s channel falls under Polaris, a popular network among serious gamers. Polaris is part of the Maker Studios umbrella, which is one of the largest content networks on YouTube that specializes in short-form videos. Despite his relationship with MS, Pewdie Pie does not retain a production manager or editor to guide the content; he does it all himself.
In the month of July, the savvy gamer’s monthly views topped 300 million per month. On September 6, his YouTube account became the first ever to amass 10 billion total views.
His next venture? Author Pewdie Pie has teamed up with the Penguin Group and will publish This Book Loves You, a parody of self-help books. It’s scheduled for an October 20 release. According to ITV, while promoting his new book, he dished on what makes him so successful.
“I think it you ask my fans they would say they can really connect to me in a way. I’m a silly, funny guy, who’s fun to watch, I guess. I hope so at least.”
[Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images]