Last week, YouTube’s biggest star swore that once he hit 50 million subscribers, he was going to delete his popular comedy channel. Today, Felix Kjellberg hit that fated number… and the channel is still up.
For now, he claims.
will delete tomorrow 5pm gmt— pewdiepie (@pewdiepie) December 8, 2016
Lots of people watched Kjellberg’s announcement with disbelief: Could someone really just throw away such a big audience after six years of building it up? Many believed that the entire thing was just a stunt to drive up subscribers, or a troll meant to trick everyone. Some pointed toward Kjellberg secondary channel, Jack septiceye2, as a potential deletion target: In that case, Kjellberg could delete “his” channel without much consequence, leaving his main channel and its massive viewership intact. Despite all the scepticism, many watched closely, setting up livestreams to monitor the numbers or opting to watch subscriber counts in real time, just to see what would happen. All the while Kjellberg stoked the flames on social media:
YouTube NG+— pewdiepie (@pewdiepie) December 8, 2016
The reality of the situation is still unclear. Is Kjellberg actually going to keep to his word, or is he just extending a ruse a little while longer? An optimistic theory would be that he is now taking the time to give the channel a proper sendoff with a formal video, rather than just deleting it unceremoniously. That would be the nice thing to do for fans, anyway.
For reference, here are Pewdiepie’s most popular videos before deletion:
Note that most of them were created years ago, which tracks with Kjellberg’s assertion that lately, his footage just wasn’t attracting the same (massive) numbers that he had become accustomed to — which is partially the motivation for getting rid of his channel, Kjellberg’s claimed.
if im pulling 2mil views per video with 50mil subs id rather restart and get rid of inactive accounts and piss people off in the process thx— pewdiepie (@pewdiepie) December 2, 2016
If Kjellberg does keep to his word, that doesn’t necessarily mean that years of work have gone down the drain, however. Kjellberg’s screams have been re-uploaded by fans, often in the form of reaction videos. Some downloaded entire videos for the sake of archive, in preparation. Pewdiepie will live on, one way or another.
Most people are congratulating Kjellberg right now for hitting such a big milestone, even if there’s still some scepticism on whether or not the deletion stuff is all an act:
Kjellberg is also slated to appear on a new season of Scare Pewdiepie next year, which is his YouTube Red premium show, and he is also collaborating with one of the creators of Goat Simulator to create new games. If he does delete his channel as promised, it sounds like Kjellberg will have plenty to keep him busy.