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The Stunning Transformation Of Markiplier

Markiplier is one of the most iconic gaming content creators on the internet. His YouTube channel, launched in 2012, has over 30 million subscribers that he's gained through an astonishing mix of content. Ranging from horrifying Let's Plays and plenty of comedy, Markiplier's channel has something for everyone.

While he's known as one of the most successful gaming creators today, his YouTube career has gone through quite a transformation over the years. Markiplier's dealt with plenty of tragic things on and off the camera, and through it all he's managed to cultivate a passionate fanbase and stay true to himself.  

YouTube continues to take pages from Twitch's playbook these days, occasionally signing some of Twitch's biggest streamers to exclusive contracts, but the platform was already filled with major content creators like Markiplier. Of course, Markiplier didn't become the huge star he is overnight. Markiplier's journey with YouTube has been long and full of successes and misses. However, all of the experiences led him to where he is today. Here's a look back at some of the creator's biggest milestones.

Markiplier's childhood and the start of his YouTube channel

While Markiplier didn't start his YouTube channel until he was 22 years old, his childhood had a pretty big influence on his YouTube channel today. Like many other YouTube gamers, he discovered video games as a child.

Before the fame, Markiplier and his brother, Tom, would bond over games on the SNES and PC. While discovering his love for games, he also became friends with Tyler Scheid, who would go on to appear on Markiplier's channel many times. Gaming and nostalgia would end up being a huge part of Markiplier's future content, but his route to becoming a YouTube star wasn't a straight line.

Markiplier's surprising net worth wasn't handed to him – he started from the bottom of YouTube and worked his way to the top with quality content that fans loved. His beginnings are incredibly humble. In fact, his first subscriber ever was actually a close friend of his, as he revealed in a Wired interview.

Markiplier explained to Wired how he really got going on YouTube. He started his channel while he was in college, eventually dropping out of school to continue pursuing his passion. This was despite the fact that he was merely two semesters away from graduating with a biomedical engineering degree.

He dedicated his time to really going full force with his YouTube channel, which he felt was something he couldn't do while also trying to focus on finals and other school-related events. He also just didn't like the work he was already doing as an engineer, and YouTube was much more appealing to him. As it turns out, he made the right decision.

Markiplier's first stab at comedy

Markiplier's videos are pretty much always funny. Whether he's filming a Let's Play of some horror game or getting up to crazy shenanigans with his friends, comedy is a huge part of his channel. In fact, it's what he started out wanting to do before he really got involved in Let's Plays.

An older video of his introduces viewers to "Wilford Warfstache," Markiplier's first comedy character. The clip in question also has horror elements, as Mr. Warfstache interviews Slenderman of all people. This character is actually where Markiplier's signature pink mustache came from. Markiplier earliest followers loved it and made it popular, leading to plenty of reappearances.

Markiplier mentioned to Wired that he loved Wilford Warfstache because the character represents everything he wanted — and still wants — to be in a plethora of ways. The video also gives viewers a good look at where his YouTube career started: in his mom's house.

Eventually, Markiplier started creating more gaming content, and his first Let's Play of "Amnesia: Dark Descent" kicked off a string of similar videos, which viewers ate up. But hardcore fans will always have Wilford Warfstache.

The switch to MarkiplierGAME

Many YouTubers choose to have different channels for various types of content, but Markiplier keeps all of his content on one channel. This includes his comedy stuff and his horror gameplay, as well as IRL blogs. However, newer fans may not realize that his main YouTube channel isn't his original home.

Back when Markiplier was first making videos, his channel was banned after he was accused of "abusing the AdSense system" (via Wired.) However, this was just an unfortunate glitch, because Markiplier's account hadn't even been monetized.

While the situation wasn't ideal, Markiplier admitted that it was a special time for him. When it all went down, he had over 2,000 subscribers, and so he posted a video asking those fans to subscribe to his new channel. Over 600 of them did, and he recalled that this was a moment where he knew he had "something special" and needed to foster his growing following.

Despite the fact that this event is something he cherishes now, Markiplier does like to occasionally poke fun at YouTube about it for a good laugh.

Markiplier and Cyndago

In 2013, horror/comedy channel Cyndago posted a video titled "Danger in Fiction," a comedy sketch that featured Markiplier as a narrator. Cyndago consisted of two creators, Daniel, Matt, and Ryan, who made videos that featured plenty of dark humor.

In the years after that, even after Markiplier's popularity went through the roof in late 2014, he still worked with Cyndago on a number of occasions. In fact, he said in a heartfelt Facebook post that he was inspired by the "drive" and "enthusiasm" of the men in Cyndago, pushing him to expand his own content even further. He appeared in multiple Cyndago videos, including one in which the group ate Flashbang Hot Sauce – a hot sauce made with some of the hottest peppers on the planet.

Cyndago ceased making content after Daniel's death in 2015, which subsequently prompted Markiplier to take his first extended break from YouTube.

Five Nights at Freddy's and Markiplier's rise to fame

Markiplier's channel was already picking up steam and slowly amassing a following, but arguably nothing skyrocketed the YouTube star to fame more than his "Five Nights at Freddy's" playthrough. His first video in the series came out in 2014, and the video has received over 99 million views since then. The initial burst of fans flocking to the video was just the boost he needed.

His viewers ate up the "FNAF" videos, and they were so popular that he quickly became known as the "king" of "FNAF." In fact, as noted by Sportskeeda, Markiplier's name became so synonymous with "FNAF" that some fans have even taken to calling him the "real creator" of the franchise after series creator Scott Cawthon was called out on Twitter for supporting anti-LGBTQ+ politicians in 2021.

His subscribers and views have only continued to climb since then, particularly when it comes to his experimental comedy shorts. His highest-viewed clips are "MEOW" and "WOOF," which have amassed over 340 million views and 140 million views, respectively. Both were release after the initial "Five Nights at Freddy's" hype, proving that Markiplier is here to stay.

Markiplier's Jimmy Kimmel appearance

In 2015, Markiplier had become such a household name already that he was asked to appear on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" to defend YouTube gamers. Kimmel was facing backlash because he said that it was a waste of time to watch people play video games on YouTube, and the ensuing viewer comments resulted in Markiplier and MissesMae coming onto the program and "educating" Kimmel.

Markipliers and MissesMae had Kimmel watch MissesMae's parents ride a VR "Minecraft" coaster and play "Rocket League." Kimmel provided plenty of comedic commetary throughout the whole thing, and Markiplier and MissesMae didn't hold back from telling him how awful he was at "Rocket League" — but hey, we have to give Kimmel some credit, since he did hit the ball at least one time on camera.

The "Jimmy Kimmel Live" appearance put Markiplier on the radar for people who didn't really pay attention to the video game or YouTuber scene.

Choose Your Own Adventures with Markiplier

Markiplier wanted to keep surprising fans with new types of content, eventually turning his efforts to creating interactive "Choose Your Own Adventure" videos. These essentially acted as types of visual novels for viewers, in which the people at home could guide his increasingly elaborate adventures.

In 2017, Markiplier put out his first interactive movie: "A Date with Markiplier." As expected, the video details a date with Markiplier in which he unfortunately forgets his wallet at what looks to be a very expensive restaurant. The viewer is then provided options about whether to pay or not, resulting in different funny outcomes.

In 2019, Markiplier revisited the idea with "A Heist with Markiplier," a much longer and more produced game/video hybrid that allowed viewers to break into a museum with Markiplier. This project won a Streamy Award in 2020 for Best Scripted Series, and was also nominated for Show of the Year.

Both videos were huge successes, paving the way for even wilder and bigger projects to come.

Markiplier and Jacksepticeye start Cloak

In between his regular video uploads, Markiplier joined with fellow YouTuber and friend Jacksepticeye to found fashion company Cloak. The brand took off almost immediately, primarily thanks to the popularity of the two content creators. Also adding to the hype was the fact that there were plenty of collaborations between the brand and other games, like "Minecraft" and "Five Nights at Freddy's."

Another major motivating factor in the fashion venture is the support it gives The Trevor Project, which Cloak's website notes as "the world's largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention for LGBTQ young people." 10% of the proceeds from the brand go towards The Trevor Project.

Later on, Pokimane joined in the mix, and the three influencers can be seen rocking Cloak fashion over on the brand's Instagram page fairly regularly. In a Forbes interview, Markiplier mentioned that he loved the idea of Cloak because it represented the chance to do something unique, while also representing the type of clothes he'd want to wear in real life.

The birth and death of Unus Annus

In 2019, Markiplier and CrankGameplays' Ethan joined together for a year-long channel and project called Unus Annus. The duo, along with Markiplier's long-time girlfriend Amy "Peebles" Nelson, made video after video for one year. At the end of that year, the channel was deleted during a livestream.

While it was still around the channel contained a number of different videos in which the duo would try outrageous things, sometimes roping in other big YouTubers to join the fun. According to SzaSzabi, who compiled Unus Annus' 10 biggest videos in a time-lapse clip, the most popular Unus Annus bore eye-catching titles like "We Force James Charles to Run a Military Obstacle Course," "Preserving Ourselves in Wax," and "Purging Our Sins with a Neti Pot."

After the channel was deleted, Markiplier addressed his reasoning behind the whole endeavor in a video on his channel. He mentioned that when people would ask why they were going through the effort of making Unus Annus, only to delete it all, he would answer that it would make sense in the end. And at the end, there were over 1.5 million people watching the final livestream. Markiplier pointed out that something can't be fully appreciated until it's over, and the point of the channel was to evoke the emotions of loss and of appreciation that could only truly be felt if the channel ended. 

For anyone who still wants to see or revisit Unus Annus' videos, everything has been archived here.

Markiplier's podcasts

While Markiplier still posts regularly on YouTube, he has also moved over to Twitch for some of his content, including his ventures into the podcasting world with friends Bob and Wade. For the series "3 Peens in a Podcast," which are all easily found in a playlist on Markiplier's YouTube channel, the trio would play and talk video games. The format was a lot of fun for viewers, but the show eventually went through a rebranding, which opened it up to an even wider audience. 

"Distractible" launched in 2021 following the end of "3 Peens in a Podcast." The podcast streams live on Twitch and is also available in audio form on Spotify and other podcasting apps. With the launch of the audio version of "Distractible," Markiplir found himself successfully entering yet another area of content creation, proving that he's always looking to challenge himself (as long as he's having fun). 

Markiplier has accomplished quite a lot since he started his YouTube channel in 2012. He and his community continue to thrive — and now fans have even more ways to tune in.