One of YouTube’s best-known stars is close to taking a hiatus. PewDiePie (aka Felix Kjellberg) has used a video critiquing YouTube’s new harassment policy to announce that he’s “taking a break” from the site in early 2020. While he said a more detailed explanation would come later, he hinted that it might be due to burnout. “I’m feeling very tired,” he said. He’d alluded to this in August, suggesting that he’d like to think about something besides YouTube “for the first time in 10 years.”
There’s little doubt that PewDiePie has faced a lot of scrutiny due to his actions in recent years. He’s had more than one racist outburst, and the “subscribe to PewDiePie” meme grew so out of hand that he urged people to stop in the wake of mass shooters using the trope. Add his chart-topping subscriber count and there’s a lot of pressure on him, whether it’s from critics or simply people who expect him to continuously deliver videos.
The declaration also draws attention to a common problem for online video personalities: burnout. Creators frequently feel compelled to put out a non-stop wave of content lest they lose viewers, and that can discourage them from taking time off. PewDiePie clearly has enough viewers that he can afford a break, but many smaller-scale YouTubers might not have that luxury.