What just happened? Most people know who Felix ‘PewDiePie’ Kjellberg is, even if they aren’t fans. Now, the YouTube star has become the first solo creator to reach 100 million subscribers on the platform—a milestone that was somewhat surprisingly celebrated by YouTube itself.
PewDiePie wasn’t the first to hit the 100 million mark, that honor went to rival channel T-Series. The two accounts had been in a long-running battle to reach the milestone, leading to the ‘subscribe to PewDiePie’ meme. But the Indian record label and film production company got their first back in May.
When it comes to individual creators, PewDiePie is way ahead of the pack. He currently boasts 100.3 million subscribers. Sitting behind him in the number three position is 5-Minute Crafts, which has 60 million subscribers.
YouTube tweeted an acknowledgment of the achievement. "Married to marziapie. Revived our love of Minecraft. Reached 100 million subscribers on YouTube. What a month to celebrate and congratulate PewDiePie," the company wrote.
YouTube’s tweet comes as something of a surprise, given PewDiePie’s controversial past. Back in 2017, he was accused of anti-Semitism after he paid men on Fiverr to hold a sign that read “Death to All Jews,” and used a racial slur during one of his livestreams, the latter of which led to Firewatch developer Sean Vanaman filing a DMCA takedown in response. The ‘Subscribe to PewDiePie’ meme also brought him controversy and was used in the livestream of the Christchurch, New Zealand, shooter. He later called for the campaign to end.
Forbes writes that PewDiePie earned $15.5 million last year, a time when he had 72.5 million subscribers. He seems to have been focusing mainly on his gaming videos in recent months, with most of his work being Minecraft content. Microsoft will probably be thankful of the renewed attention he’s brought to the ten-year-old game, especially with ray tracing support on the way.