The Story Of Ninja

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24:10   |   May 26, 2018


The Story Of Ninja
The Story Of Ninja thumb The Story Of Ninja thumb The Story Of Ninja thumb


  • In April this professional streamer had more social media interactions than LeBron James,
  • Cristiano Ronaldo and Shaquille O'Neal, making him the most popular athlete in the world.
  • He also makes more than $500,000 a month jumping off a virtual bus onto an island to farm,
  • fight loot and dance with 99 other players in a fight to the death.
  • And he generally wins.
  • A lot.
  • (Stream)
  • He’s played alongside the likes of Drake, Travis Scott and a number of professional athletes.
  • (Stream)
  • He’s raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity.
  • (Stream)
  • And even hosted his own esports event that broke the Twitch viewership record he set
  • when he played with the 6 God.
  • "Welcome to Ninja Vegas 18"
  • "We have ourselves a fire alarm here."
  • "Ninja Vegas 18, I'm super excited to get started."
  • This is Ninja.
  • And if you don’t recognize his face yet — it’ll only be only a matter of time
  • until you do.
  • But where did this guy come from?
  • And how did he carry the gaming world out of Tilted Towers?
  • (Stream)
  • This is his story.
  • Tyler “Ninja” Blevins started his esports career in Halo, just as Halo 3 was coming out
  • and made his esports debut at MLG Orlando 2009 with team Four of a Kind.
  • Only 19 at the time, Ninja made a name for himself as an aggressive player whose risky
  • playstyle quickly became his calling card.
  • "I knew right away like this kid is going to be amazing. He's got a lot a lot of talent."
  • "You just basically have to run with him because he is just going to hold forward, get in people's faces."
  • "And challenge and he was a 1v1 god. He was that very individually based player."
  • But it was only when Halo Reach came out in September 2010 that Ninja truly flourished and quickly
  • rose to the upper echelon of Reach players.
  • "They're kinda like Impact here, a lot of people not giving the credit they deserve."
  • "I couldn't agree with you more there Chris, and the thing is you have a player like Ninja on their team
  • "Who is going to spark. He's just got so much individual talent and Status Quo, although they have a lot of
  • teamwork aren't necessarily the best shots. So Ninja could really disturb this team."
  • Ninja bounced between various team between 2010-2012 but was picked up by Final Boss
  • at the end of 2011.
  • In the world of Halo esports, playing for Final Boss was as big as it gets, and when
  • they picked up Ninja everyone knew just how good he was.
  • (Casting)
  • Shortly after he joined Final Boss, the scene switched from Reach to Halo 4, it was in
  • that game that he finally won it all.
  • (Casting)
  • And as he took the Halo scene by storm, Ninja was also streaming on Twitch.
  • Even at the beginning of his streaming career, when he was only broadcasting to a handful of viewers,
  • it was clear that that he was at his best in front of an audience.
  • (Casting)
  • After Halo 4 came Halo 2: Anniversary during which Ninja competed with Cloud9.
  • He put up a string of strong finishes highlighted by a Top 4 finish at HCS Season 1 finals.
  • Ninja finished his Halo career during Halo 5.
  • He played on Team Liquid, Renegades, Evil Geniuses and Luminosity during that era.
  • His last major event as a Halo player was DreamHack Atlanta 2017 with Luminosity.
  • While he was playing with Evil Geniuses he continued to play Halo, but was balancing
  • it with his new love - H1Z1.
  • The zombie-style Battle Royale game helped Ninja’s stream take off in a big way.
  • (Casting)
  • He was able to make the jump from an esports player styling in his game-of-choice, to a
  • full time entertainer, playing the new hot game.
  • "Taking a small little breaksy from Halo."
  • "Focusing more on other games and streaming."
  • Ninja’s stream began to grow larger during the summer of 2017 after the release of
  • Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds.
  • PUBG made a huge splash in the streaming world.
  • The Battle Royale format was perfect for crazy highlights, funny moments and an all around
  • viewer experience.
  • (Stream)
  • Streamers flocked to the game to keep up with it’s rising popularity.
  • The skills that Ninja picked up from his Halo days served him well, and, to an extent, transferred
  • to this new format.
  • (Stream)
  • No matter what the objective of the game is, one thing started to become clear — Ninja
  • was lethal with a rifle.
  • (Stream)
  • And when Fortnite: Battle Royale was released in September 2017,
  • that kid who would play Halo wearing a cow on his head would never be the same.
  • (Stream)
  • On October 3, 2017 Ninja streamed Fortnite for the first time.
  • But unlike his streams now, his average viewership stayed steady at around 5,000.
  • And then, as December reared its frosty head, Ninja’s stream blew up.
  • (Stream)
  • 12,000 viewers in December 2017 turned into 25,000 in January and by the time Spring came
  • around, he was streaming to 100,000 viewers a day.
  • "It's so crazy man, times just change so much. Especially since like, I'm in uncharted territory as a streamer."
  • "I always valued, I took pride in the fact that I always read every sub and every dono."
  • "And unfortunately I had to cut out reading subs cause there's just way too many."
  • "Here we are, about a month maybe two months in where I haven't read subs and you're complimenting me
  • on reading all the donos right like, it's nuts.
  • "I'll always do my best to make sure I never miss them."
  • A former Halo pro, turned small-time streamer was climbing to the top of the Twitch viewership rankings.
  • And he was hauling Fortnite along with him.
  • What’s unique about Ninja’s on-screen persona is that he’s able to effectively
  • combine the attitudes and styles of several Twitch personality archetypes.
  • He can be boisterous and loud.
  • (Stream)
  • He can impress you with his play skill and in-game advice.
  • (Stream)
  • (Stream)
  • He can catch the eyes of parents with his rants about the importance of education,
  • commitment to charity and focus on mental health awareness.
  • "And honestly I encourage everyone to do that, all the kids out there you can't just drop everything and
  • focus on playing video games for a living. It's also becoming a very competitive career choice right now."
  • "You want to make sure you're securing your future, and putting in the extra time to try and make this happen
  • as well."
  • He has the skills needed to both capture an audience
  • (Stream)
  • and keep them coming back day after day.
  • "And I literally remember the turning point of my entire career was when I addressed my stream
  • and I was just like, 'You need to understand that I love this game. But like a lot of these people who are
  • watching me play Fortnite, like no one is supporting the channel, no one is subscribing.
  • I can't keep playing this game if you guys don't support me.' And that day alone I think I gained like a 1000
  • subscribers."
  • "And then after that it was over."
  • At the time Ninja’s stream started to grow, Battle Royale games were still relatively in their infancy.
  • And in a lot of ways, Fortnite’s success has gone hand-in-hand with Ninja’s growth as a streamer.
  • "It's been interesting to see the way that he's grown.
  • And Fortnite has been, very successful for him. People enjoy watching him because he is,
  • Terrifyingly good. Something I (don't tell him) a little jealous."
  • "Sometimes I lookat it and I think, man did EPIC just make this game specifically for him?"
  • "His personality on stream and the way that the game is played at a higher entertainment style."
  • "Those two things they go hand in hand."
  • As he got better, more people watched him.
  • And more people played Fortnite.
  • And when he became one of the best players in the world, Fortnite lept into the mainstream
  • in a big way.
  • "Not long ago everyone was freaking out that the big video game publishers were in the crosshairs
  • of these popular new Battle Royale style multiplayer games, there's Fortnite."
  • "This is a new game called Fortnite. It's drawing millions of players."
  • "Let's now talk Fortnite shall we? It's the newest video game craze spreading across fast among kids
  • college kids, even celebrities.
  • And we’ve seen him capitalize on that by expanding his reach within the Fortnite ecosystem.
  • Ninja’s brought streaming personalities like Myth, DrLupo and TimTheTatMan into his
  • bubble of popularity and helped them grow alongside him.
  • Just as he drops them a shield potion in-game, he’ll also plug their stream.
  • With his growing popularity, his posse, his famous win-streak headband and that catchy
  • pon pon dance,
  • (Stream)
  • Ninja’s built a stream that feels close to a sitcom.
  • (Laughtrack)
  • And Ninja is the fearless protagonist — saving his teammates at Tilted Towers and cracking
  • jokes amidst the familiar backdrop of his basement guest bedroom.
  • February saw Ninja average more than 46 thousand viewers at a time, making him one of the top
  • streamers in the world.
  • He’d climbed the ladder to the pinnacle of the gaming world — the top of the Twitch rankings.
  • But on March 14th, 2018 Ninja proved that he wasn’t going to settle for being Twitch’s
  • flavour of the month.
  • It was time to break out of the gaming echo chamber.
  • Ninja played squads with rappers Drake and Travis Scott as well as Pittsburgh Steelers
  • wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.
  • And, well, it kind of broke the internet.
  • (Stream)
  • The stream broke the Twitch individual streaming record with around 630,000 concurrent viewers.
  • In just one night Ninja became a household name.
  • And his viewership ballooned.
  • During March, Ninja streamed to over 90,000 viewers every day.
  • He had Drake on for a second stream.
  • (Stream)
  • And all of a sudden every Twitch viewer, consumer of pop culture and their extended family knew who
  • Ninja was.
  • So what’s different about a Ninja stream now that he’s sitting in his basement in
  • front of 100,000 viewers all the time?
  • Ninja sees the relationship between viewer and streamer unlike any other.
  • "Absolutely like I did a recent interview and that was one of their questions was like
  • Would I consider myself like a personality or a character.
  • And absolutely not."
  • "I'm the exact same person "
  • "I have never seen a harder worker, in my mind it goes back to the guy that was like I have to be up for these
  • 600 subs."
  • "And he's the same person. It's just paid off."
  • He provides a social contract.
  • He’s willing to communicate honestly, in a way that feels sincere in exchange for viewership
  • and subscription.
  • He makes you feel like an integral part of the community he’s building, and for that
  • your money feels well spent.
  • Ninja’s the good guy.
  • The guy you’d want to show to your parents to defend the time you spend playing Fortnite.
  • "Believe in yourself, and work hard. Know what you're worth. Know what you're capable of."
  • "Resilience, is very important."
  • But someone you can also kick back and watch with your friends.
  • (Stream)
  • All of this combined with his consistent streaming schedule and clear focus on having a unified
  • brand, has lead to his success.
  • Oh yeah, did we mention that he’s one of the best Fortnite players in the world?
  • (Stream)
  • (Stream)
  • At the end of April, Ninja continued to add to his storied few months with Ninja Vegas,
  • his own $50,000 Fortnite tournament at the Esports Arena in Las Vegas.
  • The event, pitted Ninja against some of the game’s best, where players received $2,500
  • for killing Ninja and $2,500 for a Victory Royale.
  • (Casting)
  • This continued in ten flights over two days for a total of 50k in prizes.
  • And any time Ninja won, $2,500 would be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association.
  • (Casting)
  • To say that it was a massive success would be an understatement.
  • Not only was it the first major competitive Fortnite event but at one point it had more
  • than 667,000 concurrent viewers, surpassing the famous Drizzy stream.
  • Charitable endeavours like this have become a staple of Ninja’s rise to the top.
  • He seems to be doing a new charity stream or initiative every other week.
  • "$74655 in nine hours, that's about 10k an hour 8k an hour. That's incredible man you guys are amazing."
  • In the past he’s spent time raising money to support suicide awareness and the Alzheimer’s Association.
  • "What we have done and accomplished today, is remarkable."
  • "I mean, there's nothing more to say. In under eight hours we have raised $113,000."
  • "A lot of the proceeds tonight went to charity right, and it was for the Alzheimer’s Association."
  • "All the dollars from the ticket sales will be matched by ID tech and we'll be making a contribution as well."
  • "Thank you so much."
  • More recently he sold branded t-shirts in collaboration with streamer and duos partner
  • DrLupo.
  • Combined they set out to raise $500,000 for St. Judes research hospital.
  • So here we are, in 2018.
  • And so far this month an ex Halo pro turned Battle Royale streamer is streaming to an
  • average of over 125,000 people every day.
  • And he isn’t slowing down.
  • (Stream)
  • In March, 2018 he was ranked third in the world in social interactions right behind
  • Christiano Renaldo and Lebron James.
  • This was the first time a pro gamer cracked the Top 10 of this list.
  • In April, he was the #1 ranked athlete in the world on the same chart.
  • As of mid-May he has almost 7 million Twitch followers, more than 10 million Youtube Subscribers
  • and over 2 million Twitter followers.
  • It feels like he’s streaming with or making appearances with the most famous people in
  • the world on a weekly basis.
  • He’s a household name in the truest sense.
  • The amalgamation of every gaming-meets-mainstream storyline combined.
  • Despite its stranglehold on the gaming world, it’s still unclear just how far Fortnite will go.
  • The competitive landscape is mostly made-up of third party and community events.
  • One of these events — May’s Keemstar Tournament — proved just how lethal he could be
  • in a competitive environment.
  • (Stream)
  • Just days after that event, Epic Games announced a jaw dropping $100,000,000 commitment
  • to competitive Fortnite events during the 2018-2019 season.
  • Meaning that Fortnite esports, is likely to take off in a big way.
  • (Stream)
  • "I think there's like a 100,000,000 in prize pool now. Are you going to try and make some money off of it."
  • "I feel like I would have better luck doing just about anything than making money off of Fortnite."
  • "So you don't think it's a viable option for people unless you're the best gamer in the world."
  • "I feel if you're like Ninja or something then totally."
  • "That's true, Ninja would be pretty good at it."
  • On Tuesday May 1st, he streamed to 190,000 people just after the newest Fortnite season started.
  • Almost 200 thousand people watched Ninja play Fortnite on a regular boring Tuesday afternoon.
  • It’s all happening right in front of our eyes.
  • The craziest part about it is that it’s still growing with no signs of slowing down.
  • (Pon Pon)
  • (Casting)
  • (Music)
  • "I think that that literal one match with Drake, made it okay for everyone to play video games."
  • (Music)
  • Thanks for watching. If you want more great content just like this, be sure to hit the subscribe button.

Download subtitle


In April this professional streamer had more social media interactions than LeBron James, Cristiano Ronaldo and Shaquille O'Neal, making him the most popular athlete in the world.

He also makes more than $500,000 a month jumping off a virtual bus onto an island to farm, fight loot and dance with 99 other players in a fight to the death.

And he generally wins. A lot.

This is Ninja. And if you don’t recognize his face yet — it’ll only be only a matter of time until you do.

But where did this guy come from? And how did he carry the gaming world out of Tilted Towers?

This is his story.

Music used under license from Associated Production Music LLC (”APM”).

Written By Keith Capstick
Edited By Colten Gowan
Graphics By Christian Pearson

Video Sources: https://pastebin.com/8YbEHqGQ

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