Born Mark Edward Fischbach in Honolulu, Hawaii, the popular YouTuber goes by the name Markiplier online, and since 2012 has become one of the most prominent gaming influencers around the world. With his most direct competition coming in the form of Swedish YouTuber PewDiePie - born Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg in Gothenburg, Sweden - Markiplier has managed to corner his own significant corner in the market of Let's Play video series, with a decided focus on horror and indie video game titles.
In what began as a passion project to kill steam and stress while studying for a degree in medical engineering at the University of Cincinnati, Markiplier steadily became an online phenomenon and property that could be easily monetized. After eight months in, Fischbach was making "tens of dollars," and by 2014 his gameplay videos were being seen by multi-millions of individual users. To date, Markiplier is host to approximately seven billion total video views and seventeen million subscribers, and has just been named a key influencer by one prominent publication in particular.
As part of its series of top influencers within the gaming industry, Forbes has celebrated Markiplier with the cultural pull to potentially attract the attention of the powers that be at Hollywood. Citing only PewDiePie and former ballerina turned Smosh co-host Mari Takahashi as his immediate competition, Fischbach is definitely coming out on top of the world of professional content creators on YouTube in a big way.
When Fischbach started his YouTube channel in 2012, the former University of Cincinnati student was in debt, struggling with a recent romantic breakup, unemployed, and diagnosed with a tumor in his adrenal gland. A self-professed introvert, Markiplier began as a way to control one small facet of Fischbach's seemingly chaotic immediate reality. Enter 2017, and Markiplier is a worldwide phenomenon capable of supporting himself as a key mover and shaker in the gaming industry - and with appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, it's easy to see why.
In recent years, Let's Play videos have become a dominant form of popular entertainment in the culture at large, and the technology and major studios that put all the hard work into delivering the biggest video game titles every year continues to grow and expand at a rapid rate. And with key industry influencers like Markiplier leading the charge in regards to assuring the medium's continuing social relevance, it's easy to see why Fishbach would come out on top of a list of key influencers published by a publication as widely read as Forbes.