A few things happened when Felix Kjellberg’s PewDiePie YouTube channel hit 50 million subscribers.
First, Kjellberg didn’t delete his channel. The Swedish-born, UK-residing, 27 year-old behind the most viewed and most subscribed YouTube channel in the world vowed (seemingly seriously, btw) to delete his popular Let’s Play gaming and personal vlogging destination when it hit the 50-million-subscriber mark. The act was positioned as an effect of the cause that something happened to the YouTube algorithm in recent months that’s dramatically impacting the view counts of some of its biggest (and smallest) channels. But, when the big day came on December 8, 2016 and Kjellberg said he would soon hit that “Delete” button, he did it for his second spoof channel JackSepticEye2 and claimed the whole thing was intended as a joke that got way bigger than he ever imagined.
Second, YouTube sent Kjellberg a very large, heavy gift to commemorate the occasion.
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Good one, bro … and congrats on the 50M! 👊@pewdiepie don’t forget to check your mail! → https://t.co/plEYEOVXEE pic.twitter.com/JOyaOmBuc7
— YouTube (@YouTube) December 9, 2016
The world’s largest video-sharing site sent a tweet to tease Kjellberg and the world about the incoming hardware back on December 9, 2016, but the object to exemplify PewDiePie’s massive subscriber count didn’t arrive until last week. It’s in the vein of the Silver, Gold, and Diamond Play Buttons YouTube sends to creators whose channels have respectively amassed at least 100,000, one million, and ten million subscribers. Except this one is custom made for PewDiePie’s channel.
The “Ruby Play Button” is composed of a heavy, solid, red, translucent substance that’s molded in the shape of a massive “Bro First” (which, for the uninitiated, is a kind of “friendly farewell or congratulation on a just-made accomplishment” that PewDiePie doles out to his “Bro Army”, which, again for the uninitiated, is what PewDiePie calls his fan base). That Bro First also rests on top of a base in the shape of PewDiePie’s “P” channel logo.
Or, in the words of Kjellberg, “It has my YouTube logo. And there’s a Bro Fist coming out of it. It looks fuckin’ awsome.”
Kjellberg made a video of him unboxing the Ruby Play Button, which came in a very nice custom wooden box, too. Check it out:
There’s a moment of sincerity towards the end of the upload where Kjellberg, despite his recent YouTube critiques, expresses his gratitude for the site that’s given him so much.
“I know I shit a lot on YouTube. And I don’t want it to seem like just because they did this for me, like all the problems have gone away. Just taking all that aside for a minute, YouTube really has given me everything. It’s given me so many opportunities. It’s made my life from being in a very terrible place to an amazing life that I couldn’t ever have even dreamed of having. It’s thanks to you Bros, but without YouTube none of this would’ve happened. I don’t want to take that for granted. I don’t want to seem ungrateful in that way. YouTube really has given me so much. And it has been an incredible journey that I will never ever forget. I am incredibly proud of reaching 50 million subscribers. I’m proud of so many people. It’s not just me. This is not just me. I don’t want it to seem like that way. I owe a big thanks to YouTube. Thank you.”
Kjellbeg closes out the video by posting the Ruby Play Button to ebay with a starting bid of $1. Now there are a LOT of listings where you can seemingly buy the original PewDiePie 50 Million Subscriber Trophy. But don’t worry, like Kjellberg’s vow to delete his channel, the listing looks like a joke, too.