Time magazine releases its list of the 100 most influential people in the world, and includes the likes of YouTube star PewDiePie and Oculus founder Palmer Luckey.
Although the realm of video games has traditionally been seen as outside of popular culture as a whole, it’s hard to argue that gaming is not becoming more and more mainstream with each passing year. After all, YouTube sensation PewDiePie is one of the most popular new media personalities, gaining a huge following out of his Let’s Play videos. As it turns out, PewDiePie’s massive popularity has caught the attention of Time magazine, and the publication has named the Let’s Player as one of its top 100 influential people.
It’s understandable to see exactly why PewDiePie (real name Felix Kjellberg) could make the list. After all, he made a huge $7.45 million from his videos in 2014 alone, amassing a huge fortune out of his brand and taking the top spot as far as YouTube subscribers is concerned. It’s not the first time that Kjellberg has been picked by Time for his influence, either, with the YouTuber being recognized as one of the internet’s most influential people previously.
In Time’s official description of PewDiePie in its top 100 list, the gaming celebrity is described as the “pied piper of YouTube” by none other than South Park’s Trey Parker. Describing the world of the Let’s Play as “the birth of a new art form,” Parker describes Kjellberg as “its most powerful artist,” stating that the YouTuber “has turned passive gaming into active, enjoyable entertainment.” The South Park co-creator certainly knows a thing or two about PewDiePie, too, after including the video creator as a guest star in the hit animated show.
PewDiePie is not the only member of the video game circuit who made the Time list, either. Palmer Luckey, the co-founder of virtual reality company Oculus, also turned up in the top 100, and received a glowing endorsement from acclaimed director Ridley Scott. “The technology Palmer has shepherded has made it possible to experience storytelling in ways we previously could only imagine,” explained Scott, before continuing to state that “because of Palmer’s entrepreneurial and innovative nature, the needle for VR has moved from impractical to endlessly possible.”
Luckey certainly seems like the more traditional choice for the list, with the Oculus Rift headset now on the market after attracting the attention of a $2 billion buyout from Facebook. Indeed, the technology that Oculus was able to begin working on seems to have created a wave of new virtual reality technology, with Valve and HTC’s Vive now available and Sony’s PlayStation VR set for release this year.
PewDiePie’s influence may seem less tangible, but the YouTube star’s place in the streaming medium cannot be ignored, and nor can the controversy that he stirs up. Whether it be his criticism of Nintendo’s revenue-sharing scheme or simply the removal of comments from his videos, it seems as though the whole world is watching this YouTuber.