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Controversial PewDiePie Hits 100M+ YouTube subscribers -- what this means for video game culture

Rachel Tesler

Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg become the first individual creator to reach 100 million subscribers on YouTube late Saturday, with fans celebrating the occasion by gifting him a bonus 100,000 subscribers, eeking him up to 100.1 million.

The infamous YouTube king was only second to hit 100 million subscribers overall, with an Indian music channel - T-Series - currently holding the top spot with 109 million people at its attention. The Youtuber has set the record as the only solo creator to achieve a 9-figure following.

The digital win comes less than a week since his marriage to longtime girlfriend and fellow beauty YouTuber Marzia Bisognin. Kjellberg posted a wedding video on his channel broadcasting the nuptials, which was the number two trending video on the site as of this publication.

While the blogger rose to fame by voyeuristically filming his videogame exploits, the platform that made him famous marked the accomplishment with a tribute post.

PewDiePie and YouTube have had a strained relationship as of late, made contentious by his perceived hateful and uncouth behavior in the past. The popular creator said the n-word on a stream and once paid men on Fiverr, a task sevice site, to hold a sign with an anti-Semitic phrase, placing him at odds with Google. YouTube canceled his YouTube Red show and removed him from Google Preferred advertising in 2017.

YouTube did not respond to Fox Business at the time of this article's publication.

Despite his controversial actions, fans are flocking to his content in droves and hailing him as a perpetuator of gaming culture. The industry has experienced a recent shift, plagued in part by game developers’ call for unionization and a recent class action lawsuit settled by Riot Games. Employees sued over behavior at the company, claiming gender discrimintation and sexual harassment by others at work. For now, PewDiePie is exclusively producing "Minecraft" videos with no indication if he will return to his so-called edgier material.

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Forbes reported the gamer’s earnings as $15.5 million in 2018, when he had but 72.5 million subscribers. With his sub count growing, his net worth is expected to climb exponentially with no limit – for now.

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