Tyler "Ninja" Blevins is easily the most popular streamer in the world, even years after his peak. What made him so special? What's the story behind his success? That's what this episode of our influencer-bio series aims to answer.
Ninja is more than blue hair and trendy games, as our title aptly suggests. Before we get to Tyler's Secret Stuff though, we want to start from the very beginning, before reaching Ninja reached the top of his game...
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Ninja: The Early Years
Richard Tyler Blevins was born in 1991, in Detroit, Michigan, but moved to Chicago with his family when he was still a baby. The path he would take on in life is not a product of luck, or a side hobby turning surprisingly into something more: Tyler "Ninja" Blevins wanted to become a professional gamer.
Ninja Goes Pro in Halo
Ninja's early breakthrough into the Halo 3 Esports scene in 2009 is the core of his latter success with streaming. His Halo days were when we all discovered that this man (still a teen at the time) was bloody good at gaming. It has now been over a decade since he entered the public eye, and over that decade streaming took off, becoming one of the world's leading entertainment industries. Since Ninja was an actually good player, this worked to his advantage in particular. It's an objective statement to make: most streamers aren't very good at games. They mostly make their bread with personality. What makes Ninja stand out is that he has both.
Transition into Streaming
Ninja began streaming as his Halo career took off in 2011. Over the next several years he would combine the two, but remain primarily a professional Esports player. His full time transition into streaming did not arrive before summer 2017, when his stint on the Luminosity Gaming Halo roster came to an end. By the time, Blevins had already made a name for himself as a streamer, but he would become Royale royalty in the months to follow.
Ninja and Fortnite Conquer the World
Ninja can be praised for knowing where the next gaming trend lies. Before his wild success with Fortnite, he tried his luck with streaming Z1 Battle Royale (then known as H1Z1) and PUBG. Blevins even won the PUBG Gamescom Invitational Squads classification in August 2017 – as we said earlier, he's just that good a gamer.
Having already jumped on the Battle Royale hype train, there was no way that the blue-haired American would miss out on the launch of another huge title in that genre: Epic's Fortnite.
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That Ninja-Fortnite pairing would work like a charm. The Epic release would completely overtake the BR market, while Ninja would become the biggest streamer in the world, and would (according to himself) rake in $10 million in 2018 alone.
Ninja Beyond Fortnite
Tyler Blevins, like pretty much any streamer of similar success, has been involved in other stories: some good, some bad, some funny. For example, he's been part of two separate reality shows: Family Feud and The Masked Singer. Ninja is also the first professional Esports player to grace the cover of ESPN magazine, in addition to being the only "non-NFL" person to appear in a massive NFL ad. That's how massive he has become.
In terms of controversy, Ninja has had his fair share, much thanks to his short temper and sore loser mentality at times. What's surprising is that the former Halo pro has faced sexist and racist accusations in the past, and pulled through. How many people like that do you know?
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Ninja casually slipped an N-word during a stream featuring Nadeshot, while improvising a rap song. Now, you might think he was just quoting the original lyrics, but that was not the case. Tyler escaped with the excuse of a "tied tongue".
Much more has been said about his choice not to stream with women. This may have led to much more scrutiny, but many find his explanation a lot more viable than in the N-word case. Ninja wants no part of speculations that may jeopardize his marriage. Fair enough.
Ninja: What's Next?
We don't know what's next. We do know what's not. Ninja is back to streaming Fortnite, having just done so with footballing buddy Neymar, but at the same time, there will be no competitive Fortnite for Ninja in the foreseeable future.
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Could he discover another bombshell of a game to bring him back into the limelight? Not that he's that far from it, being the account with most followers on Twitch and all. Whatever the future holds for our blue-haired friend, we will be there to see and hear it, because that's what you get when you've achieved what Ninja has achieved.