This ninja is paid

EarlyGame Talk: Since when do ninjas have blue hair?

Sunday Sermon Ninja2

Image credit: ESPN Magazine

Get a snack, sip on that coffee, kick back and relax. It’s time for our EarlyGame Talk.

It’s actually kind of unfair…

Ninjas have been around for centuries. They ended wars with tactical assassinations and were masters of the silent martial arts and stealth. Human weapons with iron forged bodies who could attack out of thin air and disappear into the same nothingness they seemingly never came from.


Ninjas: Already mastered the art of the climbing tinder pic back in 1817 (Image credit: Wikipedia)

Today, though, if you Google the term "ninja", you’ll find a different breed. This one kills a lot too, but he calls it "fragging’ and does it digitally. Master of the noisy shotgun & sniper, this breed of ninja is anything but stealthy. With a body forged of skin and bones, this ninja presents himself in front of hundreds of thousands of people, kitted out with blue hair that is so shiny, you’d think it might just light up the dark enough to help you sleep at night.

It actually really is kind of unfair… I mean centuries of martial arts handed down for generations and just because the ninjas in black hadn’t mastered the art of search engine optimization, they are now bypassed by google & co. for this ninja in blue who’s become a synonym for their former title… all with a mouse & keyboard rather than a katana.

Ninja ESPN

The first ninja and first e-athlete ever to grace the cover of ESPN Magazine (Image credit: ESPN Magazine)

But hey, you gotta hand it to this blue ninja: He’s mastered his very own form of combat and is superior to those who would oppose him because, not unlike his feudal predecessors, Tyler Blevins has pursued the mastery of his craft since a young age.

Most boys discover their favorite plaything when they hit puberty, but rather than playing with himself, Tyler favored his computer. Specifically, he favored one game in particular: Halo.


I wonder how many babies have been named Master Chief since 2001? (Image credit: Microsoft)

At just 14 he was more bloodthirsty than most parents would be comfortable with, but this soon to be ninja had his very own sensei: A gamer dad, who, like most gamer dads, had the same Halo-bloodthirst. Thus, there wasn’t much in the way of Tyler and his passion and, over the years, he got good. Real good. With the creativity of a pubescent boy, he adopted the name Ninja and, with an iron will and discipline that’d make is feudal name givers proud, he became one of the best gamers in the world, reeling in trophy after trophy until, at just under 18, he was the boy-wonder of the gaming world. Kind of the anti-Justin Bieber.

Justin bieber

Little known fact: Justin Bieber also started off as a Ninja (Image credit: Justin Bieber)

Fast-forward to a couple of years later and Ninja not only dyed his hair before the Biebster did, no, he also beat him to a feature with none other than the living hip-hop legend and serial Beatles record-breaker himself: Drake.

In 2018 Ninja streamed live with Drake and Travis Scott.

Let me repeat that:

Drake, Travis Scoot and the blue-haired gaming-savant Ninja, formerly known as Tyler Blevins. A match so unlikely it makes Trump’s presidency seem logical. If gaming wasn’t already part of the cool mainstream, this definitely did the trick.

Drake ninja

Just the world’s most famous rapper and your boy Ninja… the usual (Image credit: Youtube - Ninja)

From post-puberty tournament wins in Halo to becoming an international star on the back of his accomplishments in the game Fortnite: Ninja gamed his way to the top. After Drake, came late-night show experiences with none other than Jimmy Kimmel and Ellen and soon after, in the year 2019, Tyler cashed in… with an average of $500,000 in earnings monthly.

Yes. $500,000 as in:

“Holy sh*t, $500,000 dollars a month is a sh*t ton of money, like, that’s literally... like... half a million dollars a month. Are you kidding me? Where’s my GameBoy? I’m starting over. Tell my manager I quit. I’ve got some Tetris to play.”
Tetris championship

Quitting the job was worth it (Image credit: YouTube - Classic Tetris)

And all this modern ninja needs to make a killing is a webcam, a mic and a gaming PC. The rest is done by several streaming platforms, like Twitch, where, in 2018, Ninja hosted the aforementioned stream with Drake to a concurrent viewership of 635,000 viewers while playing Fortnite.

That quickly adds up and the way Twitch works is actually similar to a strip club: Your audience tips you Money—a single here, a hundred dollars there... that adds up. Now, not that I know this from experience or anything… but, at the strip joint, you can maybe fit in a hundred people tops for a 15-minute show. On Twitch we’re talking a constant 635,000 people for 8 hours… try to stuff that down your g-string or bra. Good thing Twitch donations run digitally.

Now Tyler, he’s not just doing this with Drake, no, in 2019 Ninja was streaming almost every day for roughly 10 hours to an average viewership of 300,000+ per stream. Aside from tips, Ninja also earns off of every $5 Twitch subscription—people paying for platform bonuses, similar to subscribing to YouTube for an ad-free experience. And, as you can imagine, with that many live eyes on the man, Ninja is a must-have for sponsors. While you can’t exactly have a Red Bull fridge in the back of a strip show, you can get away with it on Twitch. Plus, as an added bonus, Ninja tends to keep his shirt on which offers additional promo space.

Channing tatum2

Nice tie, but have you ever considered keeping your shirt on for more promo space? (Image credit: Magic Mike)

All in all, this quickly accounted for a lofty 500k a month for playing and streaming video games at the highest level. If you consider that basketball is essentially ten 6’6’’-ish dudes running after an orange ball and that Cristiano Ronaldo is on his way to becoming the first billionaire for kicking a ball around with 21 other grown men… the Twitch money doesn’t seem all that wrong anymore. We love watching people perform at the highest level, especially if it’s activities that we’re passionate about ourselves.

Read more:

A game like League of Legends currently has 115 million active players. The popular ball chasing activity, that can’t settle on a constant name and goes by soccer or football depending on the climate, has an active player base of 265 million people. The work needed to climb to the top amongst so much competition is just as tough in gaming as it is in traditional sports and requires uncanny discipline and talent. Looking at it from that perspective, it might be easier to see how the top gamers have such a large following and are earning that much money.

And since most search engines favor money and Drake features over katanas and shuriken, it just so happens that Tyler Blevins might be the most famous ninja of all time…

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