Social Let's Play YouTube videos earn PewDiePie over $7 million a year

Scorpus

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

Over the past few years, Let's Play videos - where avid fans watch other people play video games on the internet - have exploded to new levels of popularity, with both YouTube and live streaming platform Twitch capitalizing on the craze.

But it's not just YouTube and Twitch that are making money from Let's Play videos: the content creators themselves are also raking in the cash. PewDiePie, for example, managed to make around 63.7 million Swedish Krona (around US$7.5 million) from his Let's Play videos in the past year, up from around US$4 million in the year prior.

PewDiePie, a 24-year-old Swedish man by the name of Felix Kjellberg, currently holds the record for the most YouTube subscribers at 37.7 million. Kjellberg has held the record since late 2013, and considering he has a 15 million subscriber lead on the second place holder (Chilean channel HolaSoyGerman), he will likely hold this record for years to come.

Kjellberg works with and donates a lot of his YouTube earnings to charity, saying in a Reddit AMA last year that he has "spent far more money on charities than anything I've ever spent for myself. Which I am proud to say at least." Fans of PewDiePie have also contributed to charity in a meaningful way, raising a combined $1 million in June 2014.

It's not just Let's Play videos that PewDiePie is working on though: Kjellberg has a book in the works called This Book Loves You, which is set to be released in October, alongside a video game called PewDiePie: Legend of the Brofist that will launch "this summer" on iOS and Android.

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Steve

TechSpot Editor
Staff member
Rewind 4 years. Hey I have a new business idea … I am going to record myself playing video games, complete with childish commentary. I know it sounds crazy but trust me I am going to make millions :)
 
G

Guest

I agree in that he is one of the most annoying youtubers I have ever had the misfortune to see.

I think he appeals to 12-13 year old kids, though he seems to be trapped with his 'winning formula' and it all seems a bit faked now, probably scared to change as he wants to keep the popularity.

This was why Frankie didn't want to do youtube full time, as he said it started out as something fun to do and just happened to be popular. He didn't want to get stuck in a place where he felt he had to make another video just to please the audience and keep ratings.
 

Kevin82485

TS Booster
I really don't understand the enjoyment of watching and listening to someone else play a game. When I was kid, watching my friends play on my console or their's in a non multiplayer game where we had to share playing time was pure torture. I would much rather just play the game myself rather than watch them.

Kids these days...
 

LNCPapa

TS Special Forces
I can see watching people play - I've been watching Twitch since it was Justin.tv and I would often have a stream going while I was playing something (sometimes the same game, sometimes something else). Also, it can occasionally answer some questions I may have but not want to give my full attention to - especially if I'm at work or something. I just can't watch this guy - but I guess I'm not his target audience. Can't blame the guy for making a good living doing something perfectly legal that isn't hurting anyone.
 
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Nobina

TS Evangelist
I really don't understand the enjoyment of watching and listening to someone else play a game. When I was kid, watching my friends play on my console or their's in a non multiplayer game where we had to share playing time was pure torture. I would much rather just play the game myself rather than watch them.

Kids these days...
People are watching soccer and basketball games all the time.
 
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Skidmarksdeluxe

TS Evangelist
I've watched a few of his videos and I would never be one of his subscribers, I'm not impressed but somehow I don't think he cares.
 

SirGCal

TS Maniac
I really don't understand the enjoyment of watching and listening to someone else play a game. When I was kid, watching my friends play on my console or their's in a non multiplayer game where we had to share playing time was pure torture. I would much rather just play the game myself rather than watch them.

Kids these days...
People are watching soccer and basketball games all the time.
That is a team sport, not a single player video game. Quite a difference...
 

CanadEan84

TS Rookie
That is a team sport, not a single player video game. Quite a difference...[/QUOTE]
[QUOTE="Nobina, post: 1485640, member: 331134"

That is a team sport, not a single player video game. Quite a difference...
You speak as if there are no team based video games. The only difference is that one is physical in real life. Multiplayer games can still be very team based.
 

m4a4

TS Evangelist
I really don't understand the enjoyment of watching and listening to someone else play a game. When I was kid, watching my friends play on my console or their's in a non multiplayer game where we had to share playing time was pure torture. I would much rather just play the game myself rather than watch them.

Kids these days...
Sometimes the reactions and the commentary are quite amusing. You just have to find the right ones...
 
G

Guest

Golf then. Or various forms of marksmanship. Or chess. None of which are played by a team. None are any more significantly a sport when it comes to the dictionary requirement for physical activity.

Give it up, old people. Video games an are acceptable form of entertainment nowadays, both for players and for viewers. I don't care for PewDiePie's product, but he fills a niche in the entertainment market no less valuable than soccer or basketball. And from the sound of it, he's doing far more to help society than FIFA.
 

tamarahazel

TS Rookie
He's an entertainer and makes millions of people happy everyday. Is there no other reason why he should be successful?

Sounds to me like there are alot of jealous people that have to work 9-5 for the rest of their life.
 
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WangDangDoodle

TS Addict
This guy is the most annoying infant on the planet. I should have known he was Swedish. It's a Norwegian thing. I'd much rather watch Markiplier's videos.
 

Bubbajim

TechSpot Staff
Staff member
Never liked his style/persona, but there are definitely some really good streamers/casters in the gaming world. It's not really any different to watching "real" sports, and if you find the right people putting the videos up, they can be hilarious. Jerma985 comes to mind.
 
G

Guest

I can't stand his videos, he gives me a headache. But obviously other people enjoy it, and he's making good money, so keep it up (I would, even if I gave myself a headache).
 
G

Guest

This dude cusses up a storm. All my nieces and nephews have grown to be just as annoying.
 

Dookii

TS Rookie
He's an entertainer and makes millions of people happy everyday. Is there no other reason why he should be successful?

Sounds to me like there are alot of jealous people that have to work 9-5 for the rest of their life.
I totaly agree on that.
 

BSim500

TS Evangelist
He's an entertainer and makes millions of people happy everyday. Is there no other reason why he should be successful?

Sounds to me like there are alot of jealous people that have to work 9-5 for the rest of their life.
Jealously? No, he genuinely is that annoying. And is also responsible for encouraging the equally stupid trend of people with equally amateurish "let's play" video channels, sticking silly webcam overlays of their own faces over the game they're trying to show you, and then "acting up for the camera" more than they would do without it. What started out as genuine has long degenerated into a highly exaggerated act targeted at 11-14 year olds. Like making hysterical noises during a horror game during a scene that isn't scary at all, as if he's playing a video game for the first time in his life.

Plenty of other good reviewers on Youtube (TotalBiscuit, etc), who make enough money to do it full time too without the attention seeking / dumbing down. There are also plenty of other good full walkthrough runs on a variety of games. These days though, whenever I search for any Youtube walkthoughs / "let's play", it includes the words "commentary free" to avoid the PewDiePie style shrieking & wailing.

"Less is more" is absolutely spot on advice when it comes to Youtube gaming commentary.
 
G

Guest

You are comparing it to the wrong subject matter, he is not a reviewer, merely an entertainer. Yes he is puerile, however Pokemon and a million other children's cartoons have done the same, Barnie, the Wiggles and others come to mind. Pewdie just hosts his kids show on YouTube.