If your parents ever told you that you’d never make a living playing video games all day, get ready to prove them wrong: YouTube gaming star PewDiePie made a staggering $7.4 million in 2014.
Since starting the channel back in 2008, Felix Kjellberg (as he’s known IRL) has earned more than 37 million subscribers thanks to his goofy, somewhat profane videos of him playing through popular video games. In 2013, PewDiePie became the top channel on YouTube, and in 2014 alone he had more than 14 million subscribers and 4.1 billion views. When you have that kind of an audience, the money starts pouring in (and in).
PewDiePie’s 2014 earnings were broken by Expressen, a newspaper in his home country of Sweden, and thanks to his wide-ranging and passionate audience, it wasn’t long until the figures became worldwide news.
But while most of us were just busy trying to imagine the kind of apartment we would be living in if we were millionaires at 25, there were many people on the Internet who were outraged at discovering just how much PewDiePie made off of his play-throughs and vlogs. (That, by the way, is why people say it’s not polite to discuss your salary.)
Once he caught wind of the media frenzy surrounding his earnings, PewDiePie responded to the outrage with a video entitled “Let’s Talk About Money.”
“Money is a topic that I’ve purposely tried to avoid over the five years that I’ve been making videos because I just feel like it’s not important to anyone and I just want to make entertaining videos,” he said at the start of the six-and-a-half-minute clip. After explaining his journey from making YouTube videos in college to his day job selling hot dogs to his current status as one of the website’s biggest influencers, PewDiePie admitted that he never set out to make a living with his gaming videos.
“What people I guess don’t think about until it’s in their face is that I have 9 million views,” he explained, “and that translates to something. I have ads on my videos. I make money out of those. So whenever it comes out how much I make in a certain year, people are shocked.”
PewDiePie also addressed the fact that reports of his 2014 salary made some people online extremely angry and took the moment to respond to some of his “favorite” comments, which attacked everything from his camera – he uses a very fancy camcorder, for the record – to the intrinsic unfairness of him making more money than soldiers.
“Honestly, I don’t know why I became big either,” PewDiePie said in response to one viewer’s theory that moving from Sweden to Italy to England allowed him to use some kind of loophole to gain followers.
But when it comes down to it, the gamer/vlogger thinks the whole thing has been made into a much bigger deal than it needs to be: “It seems like the whole world cares more about how much I make than I do myself I don’t think there’s any good reason why anyone should care, and on top of that, I guess there’s no good reason why I should care either.”
And with that, we can all get back to screaming at video games or just watching PewDiePie do it for us.