If anything is going to roll up 2014, the internet and video games together in one single fact, this has got to be it.
Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg, one of the most well-known "Let's Play" gamers on the planet, now has over 25 million subscribers (he's doubled his tally in just a year). Compare that to Justin Bieber, with 8 million, or Rihanna, with 12.
OK, so while a tally of YouTube subscribers has always been as vaporous a metric for success/popularity as Twitter followers (most YouTubers begging for you to click subscribe even if it means you never watch another of their videos ever again), there's little doubting the commercial reality of PewDiePie's status: a media analysis company estimates, based on his video views, that he makes between $130,000 and over $1 million a month from ad revenue.
I'll give you a moment to let that sink in.
In case you need to see the big picture, he's currently ranked sixth on YouTube's subscriber charts, behind only the general cumulative pages for music, sports, gaming, news and "popular".
This is all part of a great feature on The Atlantic on the rise of "Let's Players", which is as fascinating as it is equally...well, maybe not gross, but it's tough to read stuff like "He's otherwise unemployed, and hopes eventually to support himself by playing video games" and feel anything other than a mild sense of despair.
This Guy Makes Millions Playing Video Games on YouTube [The Atlantic]