Richard Tyler Blevins, aka Ninja, is the most-popular name in the Fortnite gaming world. As of today, he has over 479 million views on Twitch, with 14.7 million followers. This, considering the fact that he was the first among a subsequent stream of gamers who defected over to Microsoft’s Mixer platform over the past year, is all the more impressive.
With Mixer’s last day confirmed to be July 22nd, Ninja will not be worried too about the future of his streaming career. He has made over a million dollars a month consistently over the past year, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Twitch takes him back, with open arms!
In this article, we look at where it all began; how a cheerful American became one of the biggest names in modern gaming.
In the beginning, gaming was a hobby for Ninja, which came third to college (Silver Lakes College, 2009 and 2010) and his day job at a Noodles and Company restaurant. He was the youngest of three brothers, and as a child, his favorite games were Halo and Final Fantasy 11, which he played until college.
It was due to Halo that he earned his first gaming paycheck, by winning a local tournament. It was around this time that his YouTube channel began to garner attention, and by the end of 2010, he was making more than 100 dollars a day from his Twitch account.
It was enough for him to quite college, which he did at the start of 2010. Success began as he started winning competitions everywhere. In 2011, he was seen in Dallas playing Halo: Reach, but his first major breakthrough came at the Halo 4 MGL Fall Championships, where his team won, and he began to gain worldwide attention.
The next five years were spent winning major competitions and winning contracts with teams such as Cloud9, Team Liquid and Renegades. Within two years, he had become a global star with a huge fan following, and was seen playing with many celebrities from time to time, including Drake and Travis Scott.
His Twitch channel too saw a rise in popularity, which was down to his witty personality and increased engagement with audience. This was also around the time that he discovered Fortnite (and perhaps vice versa).
Ninja’s Twitch channel gained tremendous popularity in 2018, which coincided with Fortnite's rise in fame. We argue that the two are inter-related. In 2018, Epic Games earned over 3 billion in revenue, while Ninja made a cool 10 million dollars. In June 2018, he partnered with Red Bull eSports for the Rise till dawn Fortnite event, and he regularly streamed more than ten hours of Fortnite gameplay.
In January 2020, Ninja became the first “icon” of Fortnite, and got a personalised blue skin that gamers could use. Over the past couple of years, he has moved out to other games as well, such as the Apex Legends and the H1Z1 Battle Royale, but it is Fortnite which truly made him a global star.
Is Ninja going back to Twitch?
As Mixer is closing down, Ninja and other streamers like Shroud are free to join another platform. As of now, no official confirmation has been given as to where Ninja will head to next. However, this is a question that the entire Fortnite community needs answered, and it should be done soon, as we enter the last month of the Mixer platform!