After watching contestants keep their fingers attached to a phone screen for significantly more than 70 hours, YouTube creator Jimmy “MrBeast” Donaldson known as an early end to an enormous competition originally designed with one winner and a $25,000 prize in mind. The result? Four winners, each walking away with $20,000 at hand.
Donaldson’s “Finger on the App” was a one-time game designed in partnership with internet collective MSCHF. The rules were simple: be the last person to simply take your finger off a phone screen, and win $25,000. The game kicked off at 3PM ET on June 30th, and ran until Donaldson called an end to the madness on Twitter at 1:15PM ET today.
“Dear the four remaining contestants with your finger still on the app, I’m ending it here,” Donaldson tweeted. “Three days is insane! You ALL win and will ALL receive $20,000. CONGRATULATIONS!”
Despite Donaldson’s calls for players to “go to sleep,” a couple contestants kept going. One player argued on a livestream that Donaldson’s tweet is actually a trick; if three of the final four players removed their fingers, the last person standing could still stand to win $25,000. Another person in the final four had his game disconnected.
A couple of the players said they tweeted at Donaldson asking about next steps because they were left confused. Donaldson then tweeted he was able to get two “of the $20,000 winners in a phone call.” A follow up tweet from Donaldson confirmed “all four winners have been contacted and will get their money.”
“Glad a robot didn’t win,” Donaldson tweeted.
Donaldson also said that a lot of individuals were pretending to have won, but that his team “confirmed the actual winners thru the backend and they have all been contacted.” At least one individual on a live stream who claimed to will be in the final group said they had maybe not received a call from Donaldson. The Verge has reached out to MSCHF and Donaldson for more information.
Over the last day, Donaldson started offering a number of the remaining players 1000s of dollars to simply take their finger off the app. Two players took their fingers off the app on July second for $5,000 each, according to Donaldson’s tweets, and still another two players took their fingers off today for $10,000 each.
Donaldson has made a name for himself on YouTube for similar type of videos. Over the last 36 months, Donaldson has filmed videos about making large donations or presenting challenges that land friends and strangers new houses and cars. His channel skyrocketed under the new format. Donaldson gave his mom $100,000, bought a house for his companion, opened pop-up shops where visitors could buy high priced electronics for cheap, and bought car shoppers a car of their choice after overtaking a dealership, practically offering every car.
Prior to the game’s launch, Donaldson spoke to The Verge about expectations both his team and MSCHF had for the game. The app was prepared to hold “millions of concurrent players,” with an increase of than 1 million players within the first hour. Having those many players enter a game title at once includes some concerns.
Donaldson was particularly interested in “making sure someone couldn’t just duct tape their hand to the phone,” he told The Verge at the time. This required players to periodically move their fingers in specific ways, he said. Donaldson also acknowledged that much of it’s out of his get a grip on, but it’s that chaotic element he was most excited by.
“I think the beauty of the game is that we don’t really have control,” Donaldson said. “It’s really up to the people playing and seeing who lasts the longest, and I think our main thing was just keeping the game fair.”
By the end, it became clear that Donaldson wanted to get a grip on the game a little to make sure contestants finally got some sleep.