Pewdiepie and the Sanitization of Online Video Personalities

Xerin takes a look at how Pewdiepie has become more corporate and the YouTube personalities have become more sanitized.

Let me start off with the humiliating facts - I kind of have been watching Pewdiepie since the Amensia days and it's ever so obvious that he's gone from what I found to be an entertaining let's player into what is nothing more than a massive corporate shill that somehow sold out to South Park. How do you, ever, sell out to South Park? I don't know, South Park has been doing a lot in gaming lately, but having two episodes about you is pretty much I think getting so mainstream that you're the world's most mainstream thing ever. 

Anyway, a long time ago Pewds would record himself playing various scary games and screaming like a banshee at every jump scare. The magic of Pewds videos was that he actually took the time to cut the footage and put everything together in a way that it was a short 10 minute or so video that covered a lot of the gameplay and all of the interesting bits, without the awkward silence a lot of LP'ers had at the time. 

Now, his videos are nothing more than "hilarious" Goat Simulator commentary and him playing games that were nowhere near the reason for his popularity, while this massive group of fans sit there and eat all of it. To his credit and we must honor this idea - he is popular and people watch him and no amount of marketing is going to buy the kind of attention Pewdiepie gets. He does have talent and he is a respectable Let's Player, just not with what he's become. 

Which is incredibly low effort jokes, low effort games, and Goat Simulator jokes that were ran through when the game was first announced. That's it. He's just this talking head now that isn't even anything similar to the way he was before. Rarely does he play scary games anymore because his focus is on the broader market that doesn't enjoy jump scares and any game he does get into like that he quickly moves away from and back into whatever indie pile of crap he can find and not even the good piles of crap like Happy Wheels which he ran so far into the ground as a joke that I'm sure the cosmos has banned him from ever playing it again. 

It's weird how there is always this mass of Humans that make up some kind of number or statistic. Its sort of surreal to move through life never knowing of a Pewdiepie fan, but at the same time, seeing this mass following that he has now that are enjoying every minute of Corn Flakes Simulator with him as he begins regurgitating more and more rehashed jokes and antics and playing the "crossdressing" or "I'm willing to put lipstick on myself guyz" thing a bit too far, to almost the point it sort of is trolling people who do those things because it's their lifestyle or even sort of degrades that segment of society because to Pewdiepie he's humiliating himself by doing it, because his pride is so great, which never makes for good humor. 

The issue though is he's not cool or funny anymore, at least to me. Obviously, Markiplier or even the Game Grumps hold more substantial "humor" or "entertainment" that couldn't be mined out of their large backlogs of entertainment. To quote the 90s, they remain more fresh, yet still they are even becoming more and more corporate, focusing on becoming some kind of entertainment machine like your weekly sitcom episode. Then again, I do miss the 90s Sitcoms... 

Pewds has some really redeeming factors about him - he doesn't provide any social commentary, there is no underlying theme or justice to anything he does, it's literally and remains nothing but him, his various donation drives, and him playing games while screaming. That's honesty, you know, it's just this raw entertainment machine. His game that he's working on isn't even kickstarted, it's literally hey guys come up with some ideas and we'll throw a game together... together. 

So he's not some demonic entity waiting to devour our souls, but he's instead some kind of, just thing that isn't what he was. He's not entertaining. Hell, most YouTubers aren't entertaining. They're like, boiling themselves down, paying attention to metrics, working with companies to market and promote themselves. The raw just unfiltered window into the lives of those we find funny are dwindling. 

Even Twitch is becoming more and more corporate, it's the natural order of operations right. As something gets bigger, it gets more corporate, more sterilized, less of the random zany randomness and more of the same, people doing it in this way that "works" and then with marketing and clever promotion (and putting specific channels in the limelight), they just, I don't know. 

Maybe I'm getting bitter about online media because it's losing its personal touch. Maybe. What do you think? Are YouTubers becoming shills (like Shane being on TV and featured on various media channels) or am I just looney? 

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Outward Game Page.

Last Updated:

About The Author

Get in the bush with David "Xerin" Piner as he leverages his spectacular insanity to ask the serious questions such as is Master Yi and Illidan the same person? What's for dinner? What are ways to elevate your gaming experience? David's column, Respawn, is updated near daily with some of the coolest things you'll read online, while David tackles ways to improve the game experience across the board with various hype guides to cool games.

Around the Web