If you haven’t noticed yet, Gaming on YouTube isn’t the mega giant it used to be. Before the ” ad-pocalypse” gaming content used to be the category on YouTube. But that spot at the top has been overtaken by celebrity and corporate videos. Many YouTubers have forgone the YouTube live program, and jumped ship to Amazon’s Twitch streaming service. But don’t go thinking that gaming videos and let’s plays are dead on Youtube. While Twitch streaming is definitely on the rise, YouTube still reigns as king. And according to Forbes, throne of influence belongs to the King of the Squirrels, Mark Fischbach, aka Markiplier.
The Ascension of Markiplier
In an interview with Forbes Magazine, Mark explained what lead to him beginning his career on YouTube.
“I’d had a bad breakup, I was fired, I had a tumor in my adrenal gland,” he said. “It was a series of unfortunate events. As I was recovering, I was so desperate to have something that was under my control.”
When the channel Markiplier first started, Mark treated it like a full time job. It was slow goings at first, and he would be making only “tens of dollars”. However, right around the same time, horror and independently produced video games began to trend on YouTube. These games were right in his wheelhouse, and he started to pick up some momentum. While playing games such as SCP: Containment Breach, Cry of Fear, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, and Slender: the Eight Pages, Markiplier cut his teeth on horror games. He also made time to do other indie games like The Very Organised Thief, and Murder at Masquerade Manor.
As the views started to rise on his channel, Mark became less of an early adopter on YouTube and more of a trendsetter. He would be the one who could determine what would be a big hit. This is best shown in his videos about Five Nights at Freddy’s. A series in which he was instrumental in the popularity of. The popularity of them skyrocketed with 21 videos racking up at least 15 million views, seven of them have at least 25 million views, and even the top two over 50 million views.
King of the Squirrels? Or King of the Internet?
Like all YouTubers not named Ellen Degeneres or Jimmy Kimmel, Markiplier started from humble beginnings. Now that he is one of the faces of gaming on YouTube, that’s obviously changed. Rather than making pennies on the hour, Mark is one of the most financially successful YouTubers. As of now, he is represented by the Hollywood agency William Morris Endeavor, a sign of how even classic Hollywood recognizes his money making potential.
Not including his near 18 million subscribers on YouTube, Mark is extremely influential and social media. Mark’s internet dominance continues to grow all over social media. Right now he has over 3 million likes on his Facebook page, over 6 million followers on Twitter, and about 6 million followers on Instagram. In addition to his social media presence , many game developers look to him as well as other YouTubers for feedback and are recognized as an integral part of game marketing.
Ambitions Beyond YouTube
If you followed Mark from the beginning, he’s always wanted to do comedy. Not just comedy gaming videos, but working toward actual sketch comedy as well. From a technical aspect, Mark had a very long way to go with everything. He wasn’t even sure how to work his camera. However, Mark isn’t one to take any days off. When not working on his YouTube channel, he constantly works to improve his abilities elsewhere including sketch comedy, improv, and acting. In fact, Mark has just wrapped up a comedy tour with his friends and co-workers. It’s becoming increasingly clear Markiplier has aspirations bigger than just YouTube.
That being said, YouTube is still his full time job. And Mark has faced common criticism in the past that plague many YouTube gamers. Mark has been accused of using clickbait titles, over-hyping the actual content in videos, screaming like a child, etc. Now, these criticisms are very valid, and that’s why I unsubscribed for a long time. But he has worked on this, and returned mostly to form. While he does ham it up a bit to this day. These criticisms will not stop Markiplier from continuing to do what he loves however. And that is making videos for his followers.
Oddly enough, Mark’s response wasn’t positive about his award from Forbes. He believed that such an award wasn’t befitting of the kind of community that he has built with his legions of fans.
Look, I’m honored. I really am. But I think you all know how much I abhor the term”influencer” and the accolades that accompany it.
While his response is admirable, and refreshingly humble, he may have the wrong idea about all of this. The destinction isn’t about him being some big celebrity or anything. It’s about how his channel has legitimately touched people’s lives. How the money he raises for charity means the world to people. Mark’s actions hold weight with others, be it viewers, streamers, or even some developers. And Mark is in a position to be influential towards others for the better. While Mark may shy away from it, he has earned his place on Forbes’ list.