ben fritz

The Pewdiepie Fiasco, One Month Later

It’s been a little over a month since the blow-up surrounding Felix ‘Pewdiepie’ Kjellberg, and the Wall Street Journal report leading to the cancellation of his premium show. Since then, a lot has happened to the YouTuber and to at least one of the reporters who worked on that story. Advertisement For Pewdiepie, it’s been a month of roiling emotions, including anger, intentionally taboo jokes and an intensified critique of the press, some of which he now tells Kotaku that he could have handled differently. For one of the reporters involved in the piece, it’s been a month of Twitter backlash from furious Pewdiepie fans, but that reaction has been met mostly with silence by him and the outlet that employs him. To quickly recap: the original WSJ article reported that Disney was severing ties with the YouTube star after the paper presented it with several examples of Pewdiepie making jokes about Jews or Nazis, including a video in which he paid freelancers to hold up a sign that read “Death To All Jews.” While Pewdiepie said some of the references had been taken out of context, he also apologized READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!


Over the last few days, LGBTQ YouTubers have spoken out about how YouTube’s “Restricted Mode,” a saf

YouTube Over the last few days, LGBTQ YouTubers have spoken out about how YouTube’s “Restricted Mode,” a safe-browsing mode used in schools and workplaces, is hiding their videos. In a blog post yesterday, YouTube apologized, explaining that the “feature isn’t working the way it should,” and will be fixed. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!


Popular New YouTuber Also Happens To Be Virtual Anime Girl

It turns out that 2017 isn’t only the year of self-driving cars and robots that rap; now, we have virtual anime girl YouTubers. Advertisement A.I. Kizuna does everything a meatspace YouTuber would. She debates hot topics like buying friends with money and does Let’s Plays of games like Inside. She talks about furniture she wants and draws silly pictures of cats. She’s even been banned—it was after she joked that, because she’s a hologram, she’s technically naked. Shortly after, her channel was reinstated. Kizuna’s pretty active, uploading YouTube videos every few days since she launched her channel three months ago. She’s already garnered about 200,000 subscribers. Her creator, predictably, is elusive. It looks like Kizuna was made in Miku Miku Dance, animation software that lets users import and control 3D models of anime characters. It’s what breathes life into Japan’s vocaloid pop sensation, Hatsune Miku. Perhaps, by the end of the year, we’ll all be interfacing through virtual anime girl software. Welcome to the future. Hope it’s everything you asked for. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!


YouTuber JonTron Tries To Clarify His Controversial Views On Race

Last week, YouTube personality Jon Jafari made a series of offensive remarks about race during a debate over on Steve Bonnell’s Twitch channel. Earlier today, he released a video on the Jon Tron Show YouTube channel to try and set the record straight. Advertisement “I said lots of stuff that could be misconstrued in all sorts of ways,” said Jafari, better known to his fans as JonTron. An alumnus of the let’s play group Game Grumps, the YouTuber has become better known for making comedy videos ever since he left the group in 2013. In an effort to clarify statements like “if they immigrate they need to integrate, but also we don’t need immigrants from incompatible places,” and “I don’t think a pure society is possible, but in terms of a demographic majority, I don’t know that a nation can exist without one,” the YouTuber tried to lay out his views in a more prepared and ordered manner, away from the “pressure” of his debate on Bonnell’s two hour stream. Advertisement “I was trying to speak to the increasing tribalization of our culture,” said READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!


Longtime Fans Of YouTuber JonTron Say They Can't Watch Him Anymore

Over the past week, the fanbase for YouTuber Jon “JonTron” Jafari has been forced to reevaluate how they feel about their favorite YouTuber. Advertisement On Monday, Jafari debated Steve Bonnell, a professional streamer who goes by Destiny, over his political views. Over the course of the two hour debate, Jafari expressed some extreme views, such as the idea white people are experiencing a “demographic displacement” in America, that Mexican immigrants are attempting to break off parts of America into Mexico, and that the United States, “[doesn’t] need immigrants from incompatible places.” Jafari has three million subscribers on YouTube, though he hasn’t made many videos lately, just seven videos in the past six months. While Jafari has made edgy jokes in the past, fans of his see his videos as apolitical. Since he started his channel in 2013, Jafari’s been making humor-oriented videos like a series where he attempted to play every single Star Wars game called “Starcade,” or a review of A Talking Cat!?!, a terrible 2013 children’s movie starring Eric Roberts. What’s a fan to do when they discover their favorite YouTuber’s politics? Advertisement READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!


Popular YouTuber JonTron Has Some Batshit Crazy Thoughts on Immigration He'd Like to Share

Image: Screengrab via JonTronShow Jon Jafari is a popular YouTube gamer and comedian better known as JonTron. He’s the founder of Normalboots—a network of channels including Did You Know Gaming and Peanutbuttergamer—and was the original cohost of the “Let’s Play” channel Game Grumps. Between those projects, Jafari wields influence over an estimated 12 million subscribers, not counting minor cameos and crossovers elsewhere within the YouTube community. Advertisement More recently, Jafari has claimed that Mexican immigrants are setting up “ethnic enclaves” in the US “to break parts of America off back into Mexico.” [embedded content] Jafari began his descent into madness on Sunday, when he tweeted a defense of Iowa Representative Steve King’s controversial claim that “[we] can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies,” a remark that has since been condemned by just about everyone except for white nationalist and possible fish-human David Duke. From there, Jafari’s tweets led him to agree to defend his positions during a conversation with professional streamer Steve Bonnell, better known as Destiny, on Twitch. Yes, yes, we’re getting to the interesting stuff shortly. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!


YouTube Gaming Highlights New VR Videos

In the world of video game streaming, Twitch may seem impossible to beat. But if any entity can do it, it’s probably the Google-powered, beef-filled, internet video behemoth known as YouTube. Alongside other initiatives like YouTube Red and YouTube Community, for over a year YouTube Gaming has been the platform’s attempt to leverage its sizable amount of gaming content. You can easily search for specific games or personalities and watch live or pre-recorded videos. Meanwhile, virtual reality continues to grow into an important part of the gaming landscape, so YouTube Gaming is trying to get a piece of that. The service recently highlighted its selection of gaming VR videos. [embedded content] YouTube’s been planning VR gaming content for a while. It was something we talked about when I met with the company last year. Many streamers are also pondering how exactly they want to use the technology. YouTube Gaming has been working with creators to develop a variety of videos that can be enjoyed in glorious virtual cyberspace. VR Minecraft Let’s Plays, 360-degree trailers inside the world of Clash of Clans, live-action VR Call of Duty shorts, World of Tanks documentaries, READ FULL STORY AT GEEK!

content id

Nintendo Flags YouTuber For Using Switch Sound

YouTubers who feature Nintendo games and products have long had issues YouTube’s controversial Content ID system, and Nintendo’s aggressive usage of that system is already impacting how YouTubers cover games on the Switch. Recently, a YouTuber had their video flagged by YouTube’s Content ID system over a sound effect from a Switch launch game. Advertisement YouTube’s Content ID system is an automated system that allows copyright holders to place claims on videos who use their content. In theory, Content ID prevents piracy and allows copyright holders make money off their work. In practice, YouTubers who make videos under fair use end up having to fight an automated system to protect their content. Josh Thomas has been covering Nintendo for a decade at his YouTube Channel, The Bit Block. He’s recently had a video about 1 2 Switch flagged over sounds from the games: a music track from the game and a man saying “Ready… Fire!” from the Quick Draw minigame. The former is not surprising: YouTubers know that music tracks often get dinged, and videos can be flagged for even a few seconds of a trailer. In this case, having READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!


YouTuber Wishes Peers Would 'Look At The Damn Lens' 

If you hadn’t watched many YouTubers before last week’s news, then you might come away from their videos with one question: why do they all look slightly to the left? Jarrod Alonge has an answer. Advertisement Jarrod Alonge has long been one of my favorite YouTubers since his video poking fun at pop punk bands from three years ago. He’s been steadily making videos since then, and the one he dropped on Monday is a real treat if you, like me, end up wishing more YouTubers would look at the damn lens. Make sure to stick around to the end—I won’t spoil the joke for you, but it’s something special. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

editors picks

Player Finds Incredible Way To Push Pokémon Yellow To Game Boy's Limit

This might be the wildest thing I have seen in 2017 so far, holy cow. Watch in wonder as someone uses Pokémon Yellow to push the boundaries of what a Game Boy is capable of. Earlier this month, MrWint uploaded an incredible tool-assisted speedrun where he uses “arbitrary code execution” (ACE) to launch the visuals of multiple games within Pokémon Yellow via a Game Boy emulator. ACE, as some of you know, is well-known method where players manipulate a game’s memory through simple actions to alter the in-game rules on the fly. That’s what is happening at the start of this footage, when the player appears to be throwing items away. Advertisement Theoretically, ACE allows you to run pretty much anything once you’ve got it going, though the most well-known use might be forcing a game to immediately skip to the end. Technically speaking, you can actually use ACE to do so much more, and that’s exactly what MrWint tries to accomplish through this run. The first thing you see here is ACE being used to “launch” Pokémon Gold, a game released after Pokémon Yellow. MrWint is just getting READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!


YouTube's Edgy Jokes Are Part Of A Bigger Debate In The Comedy World

Source: Rich Fury/Invision/AP The conversation surrounding what is or isn’t “over the line” in comedy isn’t new. More recently, the conversation has shifted from young comedians fighting for freedom of speech to older comedians decrying political correctness. The latest controversial jokes from Felix “Pewdiepie” Kjellberg sit at the crossroads of that ongoing debate: is there a line you can’t cross in comedy? Advertisement Comedy can be pushed forward by testing the waters with edgy material, but such acts can meet pushback. Lenny Bruce was arrested for violating obscenity laws in the state of California for saying the word, “cocksucker,” during a set in 1961, and would continue to have legal troubles until 1964. He eventually died while appealing his conviction. While modern comedians are less likely to be arrested for their jokes, they still have to contend with public opinion. In 2005 Sarah Silverman appeared to be seriously confessing that she had been raped as a child by legendary talk show host Joe Franklin during her rendition of the Aristocrats joke for a documentary about the long running gag. Franklin threatened to sue, saying, “I didn’t like the nature of that READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

editors picks

GTA Online YouTubers Are Sick of Bigger Channels Stealing Their Ideas

Illustration: Angelica Alzona There’s tension brewing in the GTA Online YouTube community, where competing creators often use the similar ideas. The smaller channels involved don’t think it’s a coincidence: they accuse the bigger channels of stealing their creativity, profiting off their hard work, and in some extreme cases, shutting down channels that dispute anything. Advertisement RZED is a GTA V Youtuber known for starting trends: most famously, he put 100 NPCs in front of a moving plane, just to see what would happen. Despite having only 11K subscribers, that video went viral and now has nearly 2.9 million views. A week after his video got popular, RZED observed a larger channel with over a million subscribers seemingly copy his idea, down to using the exact same title. RZED was upset. He claims he spoke to the creator, who denied the idea was stolen, but felt bad about the situation. Judging by conversations I’ve had with other popular GTA V YouTubers, it is not an isolated incident, and the problem goes beyond copying the overall spirit of a video. RZED described situations where two different channels would have the same thumbnails. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

h3h3 productions

YouTubers Are Getting Dragged For Not Supporting PewDiePie 100%

Following the Pewdiepie controversy from last week, a good deal of YouTube rallied around the Swedish star in an attempt to defend him against ‘unfair’ attacks by the mainstream media. A few high-profile YouTubers weren’t quite as enthusiastic in their defense, which has led to some backlash. Advertisement Last weekend, video game YouTuber Jacksepticeye uploaded a level-headed video about the recent Pewdiepie controversy where he defended Felix Kjellberg as a person but critiqued the delivery of some of his jokes: “What Felix did was very stupid, I think it was a very moronic thing to do, whether it was in context or not,” Jacksepticeye said, arguing that it’s very easy to lose control of how people interpret ironic jokes. Referencing the most notorious of the jokes, in which Pewdiepie paid some people to hold up a sign that read “death to all Jews,” Jacksepticye said he understands that Pewdiepie was trying to make a point about what’s possible on freelancing website Fiverr—but said the video did not make the intention clear. The point was further muddied by the shock value of the joke, he said. Of course, just because he READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

digital homicide

Court Throws Out Digital Homicide's Case Against Critic Jim Sterling

Jim Sterling Yesterday, a court dismissed game developer Digital Homicide’s $10 million case against YouTube critic Jim Sterling. Fortunately for those of us who write about video games, Sterling’s scathing critique of Digital Homicide’s game Slaughtering Grounds won’t create precedent for developers slamming critics with million-dollar lawsuits. Advertisement “I’d say this should at least serve as a warning to developers that such extreme measures might sound good as threats, but are generally just a bad idea,” Sterling said in an e-mail. “Critics, too, should take note—yes this case was frivolous, but it still had to be taken seriously once it was served.” Years ago, Sterling published a YouTube video describing Digital Homicide’s Slaughtering Grounds as a “New ‘Worst Game Of 2014′ Contender.” Sterling, who regularly plays games he considers hilariously bad, skewered Slaughtering Grounds, deeming it an “absolute failure.” His critique implied Digital Homicide was selling an original game composed of unoriginal materials, or “asset flipping.” In response, Digital Homicide accused Sterling of playing the game incorrectly, perhaps to entertain or attract viewers. They soon filed a DMCA takedown to wipe Sterling’s video from YouTube. “We find the usage of the READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!