True to the Name
Photo Credit: Kienan Lafferty

All You Need to Know About the Twitch Legend “Ninja”

Ninja– nin·ja: a person skilled in ninjutsu; a person who excels in a particular skill or activity.

“the courses vary—you don’t have to be a computer ninja to apply”

Ninja. Such is the example of power on Twitch. If you haven’t heard by now, Ninja is the biggest live streamer on the platform for 2018 alone. Just like in the dictionary, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins vouches for his alias—unmatched gaming skills that made him who he is today.

He sits on a throne that is labeled as “King of Twitch”. Many have tried to surpass him but none have succeeded. He has done so many accomplishments on Twitch that no one else have done such as accumulating more than 500,000 viewers as a solo streamer, collaborate with a high-profile celebrity, and host his own convention.

Ninja put Twitch on the map of mainstream social media and video streaming. Through his breakout in 2018 did major sponsors want to cash in and merge with different live streamers on the platform as the website has become the biggest source of revenue.

Gaming has become “cool” even to non-gamers, especially after Ninja’s influence on a single battle royale game called Fortnite. It was a mutual benefit for him, for Epic Games (the developer of Fortnite), and for Twitch.

In this article, we’ll be focusing on the #1 Twitch streamer of 2018, his career before Fortnite, his biggest accomplishments, and how he has become one of gaming’s biggest influencers in modern society today.

Who is Ninja?

Ninja’s real name is Tyler Blevins, who was born on June 5, 1991.

Before the whole live streaming phenomenon existed, he was a professional player way back in 2009 to 2015 MLG competitive scenes for the Halo series starting from Halo 3 to Halo 2 Anniversary and finally to Halo 5: Guardians. He played in different teams such as Final Boss, Evil Geniuses, Luminosity Four of a Kind, Cloud9, Team Liquid, and Renegades. In 2011, he began streaming Halo games, especially custom modes, in Justin.tv which would later on become Twitch. He was known on both professional and live streaming scene as a no-holds-barred aggressive and high-risk player. It’s a gamer with skills like that makes a very thrilling competition to watch.

He would later bring that same style onto his first battle royale game, H1Z1, to PUBG, and finally, to Fornite.

Ninja is currently the #1 live streamer on Twitch, and the highest paid gamer right, with a whopping income of $500,000 a month thanks to sponsorships.

What was it like watching Ninja before his mainstream success?

Watching Ninja pre-Fortnite was like watching a cocky player who can vouch for his own skills. Whenever he wins, it’s always intense and when he loses, it’s commonly very devastating. There’s always a lot of emotions going on with Ninja when it comes to these games, especially during his Halo 5 and H1Z1 days. Before he donned the now-famous ninja bandana, he was wearing a cow hat, much like the famous one-trick League of Legends streamer, Cowsep.

One can say he was nastier, grittier, and just downright absurd at times. It’s like giving a psycho a game to play and you had Ninja…except this psycho knows how to play games extremely well.

His highest viewer count occurred on December 2017 and it was just 20,000 on a daily basis. Yes, that’s a very good number for any streamer, but none expected him to become a huge catalyst for both Twitch and its members, along with Fortnite in the first quarter of the following year. Even he himself never saw it coming.

He was definitely not wearing that good boy role model face at all before the whole battle royale became a breakout. A lot of times, he was definitely toxic. We’re talking Tyler1-level of toxic. Don’t believe me? Check this video right here:

But of course, he’s not like that anymore. Some may say he’s just hiding behind a mask of family-friendliness but I’d like to think it was more about him being more mature in how he presents himself on camera and that the pressure of major sponsorships and mainstream media eyes are on to him.

How is his Twitch channel doing?

Honestly, it’s the most active channel on Twitch right now. As of July 2018, Ninja has already accumulated 9 million followers and it’s growing rapidly everyday along with the total view count of 245 million.

His Twitch channel grew not just by 100% in March of 2018, but by an unbelievable 250%! How did it boom so big? Thank Drake and the mainstream media for that.

On March 2018, it was a duo match that would change his life forever: a sudden butt in by successful Canadian rapper Drake who wanted to join in a session with current #1 Fortnite player, Ninja. From here on out, Drake’s influence and fandom sought to join in on the fun and let’s just say, even if it’s too cliché now,…the rest is history.

600,000 viewers just for that session alone. No other solo streamer has ever done that at all. Major esports events like the League of Legends Championship or DoTA 2’ The Internationals can only do that kind of numbers. But for just one man? That’s a huge milestone.

What about his YouTube?

It’s seldom to find Twitch streamers whose YouTube channel is as successful as their Twitch broadcasts. Usually it’s the other way around: either the Twitch is large but the YouTube is lesser and vice versa.

As of July 2018, he already has more than 14 million subscribers and it’s growing extremely fast. His total viewer count is more than 942 million. Revenue on both his Twitch and YouTube channels are really high, excluding his monthly income.

But honestly, there’s really not much going on in his YouTube channel; just highlights from his stream. But even then, that does not stop his channel for also being one of the fastest growing channels on YouTube.

Is he really good at Fortnite?

Strangers to the 27-year old live streamer may say, “Why do people like him so much?” or “He’s just playing Fortnite, what’s so good about that?” or even “I just think he’s pretty overrated.”  It is quite understandable seeing people react like this because it is natural to society – when there is something or someone or even someplace that is considered number one, a handful of people will always diss it without fully experiencing or understanding why such certainty is at the top spot.

So, is Ninja really good that he gets covered in the news or that Canadian rapper Drake suddenly eyeballed him and hastily joined Tyler in one of his streams? Based on how much adoring fans he has, easily said, yes, he really is good. Not just good… REALLY good.

Just go to any live stream session he opens up; most likely he’ll be playing Fortnite (in which majority of his 4,902,236 followers look forward to). You should try to spend at least 20 minutes with him, from the beginning of the match to the oh-so nerve-racking 1v1 in the end. What makes his audience keep going back and stay for a long run? The answer—diversity.

By diversity, I mean every single match he makes is quite different from the one he played previously. It’s like he knows how to impress the audience very well by being spontaneous in his own actions—on one game, you would see him going close quarters, enclosing his own enemy inside a squared makeshift fort, to which he would crouch outside, anticipating his enemy to pickaxe his way out, and then executing him a la headshot. Another game you’d see him build a tower for himself, expecting the enemy to rush towards him with a flight of DIY stairs, in which Ninja would literally go ninja by quickly building a jump pad on the deck of the roof to escape the rushing enemy and suddenly sneak behind him with a shotgun to the back.

It’s like there’s always a story and he’s the superhero everyone needs but never deserves—always saving his comrades like Myth, Dr. Lupo, TimTheTatman, and Drake.

Why do people love him so much especially the younger audiences?

No doubt that majority of his fan base range from 9 to 18-year-olds, and so he had to adjust to that into becoming a more family-friendly personality. But even if you’re older than the major demographic, there’s no denying that he’s entertaining to watch. He’s the persona of all different Twitch streamers rolled into one: sometimes the loud cocky bastard and sometimes, the humble yet skillful master.

Not to mention all the countless monetary donations he has made from Ninja Vegas 2018, the invitationals, the charity events and the E3 Pro-Am Tournament. Parents of the fans certainly admire that too.

Whether you like him or not, there’s no stopping Ninja right now and he’s going to continue to do so.

Where can I connect with Ninja?

Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/ninja

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAW-NpUFkMyCNrvRSSGIvDQ

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ninja

Does he have an official schedule?

According to his Twitch channel, Morning Stream – 9:30 AM CST • Night Stream – 7 PM CST
(times are subject to change).