Unlike many modern gaming celebrities, PewDiePie has not grown his fame through streaming. His only high-profile streaming venture came from a brief flirtation with DLive, which he touted at the time as a service that “puts creators first.”
“Live streaming is something I’m focusing a lot in 2020 and beyond, so to be able to partner with YouTube and be at the forefront of new product features is special and exciting for the future,” he said in a press release from YouTube.
PewDiePie never played much with Twitch either, the dominant livestreaming platformed owned by Amazon. (Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, owns The Washington Post.) If he enters the streaming game in earnest, he would likely immediately become among the most popular streamers in the world, thanks to his massive YouTube audience. By comparison, Tfue on Twitch has 8.1 million followers, and Ninja had 14.6 million before signing his own exclusivity deal with Microsoft’s Mixer, where he has more than 3 million followers.
He’s retained his title as YouTube’s most successful individual creator since 2013. In August last year, he became the first individual creator to reach 100 million subscribers. He famously had a friendly satirical competition with Indian TV network T-Series, which now has 137 million YouTube subscribers and is the service’s most popular channel. Tied to the competition, the “Subscribe to PewDiePie” movement became a global meme, though it eventually ended after it was evoked by a mass murderer in New Zealand.
PewDiePie has been at the center of several online controversies, most notably when he dropped the n-word on a livestream on YouTube, as he was playing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. He apologized profusely for the incident and said at the time, "It seems like I’ve learned nothing from all these past controversies.”
The Wall Street Journal highlighted several of his clips in a now-infamous 2017 article as evidence of PewDiePie’s toxicity. PewDiePie and his fans said the clips were taken out of context, but the article resulted in several businesses severing their relationships with him. This was the beginning of an “adpocalypse” of advertisers pulling out of YouTube, and the service struggled to implement new rules to appease advertisers.
The Post reached out to YouTube asking how the company and PewDiePie came to terms despite their differences and controversies in the past. A YouTube spokesperson responded, "While we can’t share specifics, our goal is to provide the best gaming content out there. We’re excited to provide even more great content in a variety of formats all in one place.”