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Why are so many YouTubers announcing their retirement in 2024?

Alyssa Nava

Creating YouTube content is an aspirational job for a lot of people in Generation Z. Most of our childhoods consisted of watching YouTube for hours at a time since many of us were using the internet at an early age. When I was younger, I used to watch YouTubers like “Markplier”, “LaurenZside”, “Kubz Scouts”, and “DenisDaily” which are only a few of the many popular channels now and back then.

Gen Z grew up alongside these YouTubers, many of whom were in their late teens or early twenties when they first started making videos. But now, they have families and a more significant job status instead of doing YouTube solely for recreation. This applies to their audience, too, because many of us were in elementary school or middle school when we first started watching their videos, but now we are in high school and some have graduated already.

 Even if we don’t watch them anymore, there is still a nostalgic feeling of happiness that comes along with seeing one of their newest videos on your homepage for the first time in months, or maybe even years. Often when a YouTuber we used to watch shows up on our homepage, it’s an announcement video specifically about their new family or job promotion, but, unfortunately, it’s not always good news.

On Jan. 9, MatPat, the creator of the YouTube channel “The Game Theorists”, posted a video titled “Goodbye Internet”. In the first 10 seconds, MatPat announces that in exactly two months, he will be making his last video and handing his channel off to somebody else. 

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“The Game Theorists” has been up and running for 13 years. As the name implies, this channel makes theories about popular video games and goes above and beyond to collect as much information as they can to support them. This channel has 19 million subscribers, almost 700 videos, and has accumulated around four billion views in its lifetime. 

Between then and now, MatPat and his team created three additional channels: “The Film Theorists”, “The Food Theorists”, and “The Style Theorists”, where they essentially create and upload theories based on their channel topics. MatPat was originally the main face for all four of these channels, but since he’s retiring, he’s given each of the channels a new host to carry on his legacy.

“[My wife and I] knew that we couldn’t do this forever. We knew that, honestly, we didn’t want to do this forever. For as much as I love you, and I love overthinking things, and I love theorizing, I don’t love late nights. I don’t love that [my wife] and I have been work-first for over a decade,” MatPat explains as part of the reason why he is stepping down in his retirement video.

Now, those reasons aren’t limited to MatPat. Other YouTubers such as “Tom Scott”, “MeatCanyon”, and “CaptainSparkles” have all announced their own hiatuses this year. It’s important to note that none of these YouTubers shared that they are leaving YouTube entirely, but instead changing the direction of their channels to much less-consistent but more enjoyable content.

A common theme in all of these YouTubers’ announcement videos is burnout. They all explain that making YouTube videos is starting to feel closer to work than being fun like it was originally.

“I’m at this place where I just think I can do better. Honestly, I think that everything that I’m making now is in service to something negative. And by that, I mean uploading things every two weeks is all good and fun, but I feel like I’m doing it to try and get as many subscribers as I can, and to try to make as much money as I can to keep this business floating up… And it just sucks, honestly,” said “MeatCanyon” in a video he posted on Dec. 30, 2023. “If I’m going to be completely transparent, I have not been very happy making any of these videos for a long time.” 

Back when YouTube was first created, it was a platform where anyone could share the videos they created in their free time with the public. YouTube wasn’t yet viewed as a consistent form of income for its creators, and that’s part of the reason why many YouTubers are taking a break this year. Now that YouTube is seen primarily as a way to make money and pay the bills, there are several new layers of pressure and responsibility added to filming, editing, and publishing videos. 

What was once a hobby turned into a job that couldn’t be escaped by going home. It follows us around through our phones, computers, and any other device we own in our household. When we’re in so deep, we can succumb to the pressures and start to lose sight of the world around us. That’s why now, in 2024, these large-scale YouTubers are taking a step back to move their focus back onto themselves and their own family, which is a very hard yet brave thing to do when millions of people are relying on you for their entertainment.

2024 has been very eye-opening to these content creators so far. I don’t think this news should be sad for us, the kids in Gen Z who grew up with these people as support. We should instead view this as an opportunity to support our idols who are now favoring their own health over creating content, and also to support the new generation of YouTubers that will come next.

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About the Contributor
Alyssa Nava
Alyssa Nava, Staff Writer
Alyssa Nava is a Sophomore. This is her first year on staff for the Stargazer.

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