Why is Ninja so Iconic in the Esports Scene?

by Sammy Chan
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Ninja, who is he?

Richard Tyler Blevins, more popularly known as Ninja, is the record-breaking Twitch streamer that dominates the Fortnite scene. The 27-year-old is currently the most popular Twitch streamer, garnering over 11 million followers on Twitch and 18 million subscribers on YouTube. He had garnered so much fame that he attracted the attention of ESPN’s Elaine Teng, who wrote an elaborate article about him last Tuesday.
Initially, he was a professional Halo gamer with streaming it on the side. It wasn’t long before he learned to adapt to the streaming market and started streaming trendier games. Although his streams are almost entirely of the ever-popular Fortnite, he can be seen streaming other multiplayer games as well. Occasionally, you will see him playing newer multiplayer games, for example, the CoD: Blackout beta.

What makes him so popular?

Contrary to popular belief, his success did not come overnight. He has been streaming for years and shifted through a few games before finding breakout success in Fortnite. The large audience for the game isn’t the sole reason for his success. To make himself stand out of the 2.2 million twitch streamers, he developed the skills and personality required to be a great showman. Aside from raking in wins, he displays a friendly and charismatic demeanor to his audience. All of these qualities can be seen in this clip, where he can be seen playing with rapper Drake.
Aside from that, he brings his friendliness off-stream as well. Ninja often tries to be caring and kind to his fans. He has mentioned that it can be exhausting, but he enjoys meeting them and finds it fun. Tyler Blevins is no stranger to charity and has hosted a stream which raised $100,000 for the American Foundation for suicide prevention.  He also played with EDM legend Marshmello at the FORTNITE Pro-AM. Achieving 1st place, they won $1,000,000 for a charity of their choice.
We also have to mention his skills. His ability to pull off incredible and stylish wins is the fruit of his labor. He is insanely dedicated to master the game, usually streaming six hours a day. Being professional in Halo, the shooter-game scene isn’t something Ninja is unfamiliar with. Fortnite, however, requires more than just shooting, but also strategic planning and instantaneous reflexes due to its ‘building’ mechanic. There are also factors such as bullet drop trajectory, trap-placement, fall damage, and so much more. There is just so much one has to master to be good at Fortnite, and Ninja’s gameplays proves he is in the top 0.5% at it.

Here on out

Ninja is well aware that games are somewhat seasonal and come and go. He’s making it a point to do as much research and he does streaming. Planning out future events, forecasting upcoming popular games, and setting future streams with other celebrities are all things he’s constantly planning out to maintain his success. Coming from Halo and Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, he is no stranger to adapting. “I’m confident that no matter what game comes out, I’ll be able to play at a top competitive level,” he said. “And if it’s going to be more popular than ‘Fortnite,’ I’ll be at the forefront of it.” (via Chicago Tribune)

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