The game bucks the dominant trend of “free-to-play” mobile games that make their money by selling virtual items and currency. PewDiePie’s game costs £3.99 upfront with no in-app purchases.
It is part of Kjellberg’s expansion beyond YouTube, which includes his first book – This Book Loves You – to be released by Penguin Random House in October.
In both cases, the bet is that PewDiePie’s online audience, who have watched his YouTube videos more than 10bn times, will be keen to buy other products bearing his name. Even before these deals, he earned $7.4m in 2014 from his videos and related sponsorships.
PewDiePie’s new game has been released in the same week as another app from a prominent YouTube gamer-turned-author: Olajide “KSI” Olatunji.
The app promises exclusive videos triggered by pointing the smartphone’s camera at images in the book; a football mini-game; and the first chapter of the book for fans who have yet to buy it.
Olatunji has two channels on YouTube: his main channel has 10.6 million subscribers and just under 2bn video views, while his second has 3.8 million subscribers and 500m views.
YouTubers are hot property in the publishing industry, keen to repeat the sales success of books from online stars like Zoella and Alfie Deyes. Another YouTube gamer, Joseph “Stampy” Garrett, is releasing his first book through Egmont in October.
PewDiePie’s move into mobile gaming has parallels too. YouTuber Jordan “CaptainSparklez” Maron co-founded his own mobile games studio earlier in 2015, releasing a free-to-play game called Fortress Fury in May.
This article was written by Stuart Dredge, for theguardian.com on Thursday 24th September 2015 09.08 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010