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Can PewDiePie Grow Up Without Alienating His YouTube Fans?

Kjellberg's fans are mad because he’s no longer quite the same guy they fell in love with.

The biggest star on the internet is sad. “This is going to be a hard video to make,” Felix Kjellberg, better known as PewDiePie, said to the camera in a recent video. “This is going to be a hard video to make because I am already kind of upset. I, uh, I’m not going to cry. But I think you can tell that uh, um, that this is important to me.”

Over the last five years the self conscious Swede has accumulated 42 million YouTube followers, making him by far the most popular creator on the platform. He has plenty of experience with anonymous rage directed his way, but this is different. “It’s not like ‘haters’ are bringing me down,” Kjellberg explains. “The reason why I’m upset is I feel like it’s coming from my fans. If people write a dumb hate comment, I couldn’t care less, but when it’s from you bros that’s when I get upset.”

Kjellberg’s fans are mad because he’s no longer quite the same guy they fell in love with. Like many early YouTubers, Kjellberg began as an amateur enthusiast, offering silly, foul mouthed commentary alongside footage of his video gaming exploits. Sitting home alone in front of his computer, talking about upcoming titles he wanted to play but couldn’t afford, PewDiePie was a character fans — “bros,” as he likes to call them — could relate to.

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This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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