At the age of 21, Olajide Olatunji is living a life that most young men only dream about – playing video games all day and getting paid substantial amounts of money for it.
Olatunji is better known by over 9 million YouTube subscribers as KSIOlajidebt. Many refer to him as KSI for short.
The United Kingdom teen’s name is yet another one to add to the list of school dropouts-turned-millionaires, and it’s all a result of his obsession with video games.
His YouTube channel is full of videos of him playing FIFA and a few other popular games, but FIFA is certainly the foundation of his viral success.
“FIFA is my baby,” Olatunji told The Telegraph. “I have to pinch myself sometimes … I am living a lifestyle most guys my age would love to lead, playing computer games and earning good money.”
He uploads roughly 30 videos every month; sometimes, he has managed to post more than 40. Each video typically earns about 2 million views.
So how is a young man raking in so much money by simply playing video games?
He has tapped into a relatively new market that wouldn’t be in existence without YouTube.
Users from all over the world have garnered much success posting these videos of themselves playing video games.
Some videos are impressive merely because the gamer is skilled and seems unbeatable. Other gamers focus on showing different tips and tricks that other gamers can utilize. Others play lengthy adventure games and time how long it takes them to complete it.
KSI simply plays FIFA, and it just so happens that he’s pretty good at it.
“I would say in a year I spend maybe half of that playing FIFA,” he told The Telegraph. “I love it that much. I think I must have spent 200 hours on the new game already.”
With millions of people clicking and watching his videos, he earns cash rewards through YouTube’s partnership program, which splits revenue from pre-roll advertisements.
Some YouTube celebrities struggled to bring in more than $5 every day, but WorthOfWeb.com predicts that KSI could be bringing in around $170 every day and more than $5,000 every month.
That wealth doesn’t include paid appearances and his many sponsorship deals.
In addition to earning wealth, the YouTube star has earned an incredible amount of influence and celebrity.
He is ranked among the most-viewed UK YouTube Channels of August 2014, just under One Direction’s official Vevo.
According to a survey by Variety, he is the fourth-most influential figure among American teenagers — ranking him above pop star Katy Perry, Hollywood heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio and Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence.
In all honesty, Olatunji explains he didn’t expect things to become as big as they have and it wasn’t even what he wanted.
“I didn’t really want to become huge, I never saw myself as being a big celebrity,” he explained to The Telegraph. “I just wanted to do videos because I enjoyed doing it, and I saw people were making a bit of money.”
The path to stardom wasn’t easy either. It has been wrapped in controversy.
Olatunji was only 18 when he started grasping fame through the videos, and his immature antics didn’t rub his fan base the right way.
He made videos about something he deemed the “rape face” and was banned from attending Eurogamer Expo events in 2012 for inappropriate behavior toward women there.
He was also dropped by one of his biggest sponsors, Microsoft, due to all the sexist allegations that plagued his reputation.