If you’re a firearms enthusiast and spend a lot of time on YouTube, there’s a good chance you know about FPSRussia. For many years they were not only one of the biggest gun channels on YouTube but also one of the biggest channels in 2016. However, the channel simply stopped uploading new videos which was strange considering they had millions of subscribers, leading many people to ask the question of what happened to them.
To answer that question we’ll first have to take a look at the history of the channel itself. FPSRussia started off in 2010 with a character named Dimitri, a Russian who has a very large arsenal of weapons at his disposal. In the videos he’s talks about the gun and then proceeds to fire at targets to entertain the audience. It this was really the first big gun channel to break out on YouTube in the early days and it does make sense there’s millions of people fascinated by weapons across the world.
The funniest part is the guy who runs the channel isn’t even Russian even though he’s fooled a lot of people, his real name is Kyle Myers. It fits really well since his performance was so nonchalant for the massive weapons that he fired. Another reason why the channel was so successful is because it was started right at the height of the popularity of the Call of Duty Modern Warfare, which was so big at the time that so many kids started becoming interested in guns.
Despite the channels popularity things would change rather suddenly in 2013 when team member Keith Ratliff was mysteriously shot dead. Keith was in charge of obtaining most of the crazy weapons displayed in the videos. This was a massive blow to the channel and shortly after his death Kyle’s house was raided by law enforcement. Leading to the FPSRussia being put on the government’s radar. Despite the channel continuing to grow with uploads receiving millions of views the number of videos uploaded dropped quite a bit after his death. Even with hiatuses, FPSRussia was by no means a dead channel since there were plenty of people still hungry for new content. The channel’s last video was uploaded in April 2016, demonstrating flamethrowers. There is no official goodbye video or anything.
The fact is it mainly comes down to legal problems. Following this last upload, Kyle was raided yet again by the government, with them discovering a 25 grams of legal hash oil they accused him of receiving through the mail. Kyle was arrested for felony possession of a restricted substance with intent to distribute and they took away all 50 of his firearms as well. Because of these gun possession charges Kyle is no longer allowed to own a gun in America. Kyle is part of the weekly podcast Painkiller Already run by WoodysGamertag. The show is by no means massive but it does get consistent numbers and has a loyal audience, allowing them to make a decent money off show. Honestly, Kyle shouldn’t have to feel too bad about leaving behind gun videos once and for all because a year after he quit, YouTube started to crack down hard on any weapon related channels. Many gun accounts had to deal with blacklisting, demonetization, video removals and account deletion. So maybe it was a good thing he switched over to podcasting.
It’s clear nowadays in a post FPSRussia world, YouTube has no interest in gun videos anymore and I think there are two major reasons for this. First of all I think all these gun videos made many advertisers uneasy about spending their advertisement dollars onto the platform. Google doesn’t want to risk upsetting advertisers and it’s led to unfair mass flaggings across the gun community. The second reason for the crackdown, I’ve heard a lot of people online claiming is that because most of the people working at YouTube are against groups like the NRA. This has led to an atmosphere that makes it clear gun enthusiasts aren’t really welcom on the site anymore. While a lot of people complain about it, there’s not much else that can be done. When you combine all these pieces together, his friend dying, him getting busted with drug possession and YouTube no longer wanting gun related videos, it makes it very unlikely we’ll ever see a comeback from FPSRussia.