Do you play video games? For many, it’s a way to relax and have fun in the comfort of their home. But while it’s a proven form of entertainment, video gaming can also be a source of income — and one guy seems to have cracked the code. Let’s take a closer look into the meteoric rise of Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins.
Professional Gaming and the Twitch Streaming
The 28-year-old professional gamer didn’t get his net worth of almost $10 million overnight. Like any of us, Ninja had to work for it. But what made him unique was that he never sought success working in an office cubicle. Ninja knew what he was good at — and that was playing video games. He’s been a professional gamer since 2009, focusing on multiplayer shooter games like Halo 3.
So when did Ninja have his eureka moment? It all began when he tried out video game streaming on Twitch. Think of it as YouTube — but make it live and all about gaming. You’d think it’s odd that people would want to watch others play, but there was indeed a market for it.
At first, he tried out a bunch of titles. Ninja’s always done well in shooter games, so it was a no-brainer to stream Call of Duty and Titanfall. Soon enough, battle royale games became the talk of the town. For example, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) was all about outliving others in an ever-shrinking location. Ninja did very well in PUBG, but it still wasn’t the game that would make him rich.
Enter Fortnite, The Battle Royal Juggernaut
Like with any success story, there’s always a bit of luck involved. Ninja already had a decent following on Twitch, but he didn’t know what was coming when he began playing Fortnite: Battle Royale in 2017. In fact, no one could have predicted just how massive the Epic Games title would be.
Fortnite was an overnight sensation. Within two weeks of release, it had over 10 million players while Ninja had half a million Twitch followers. By May 2018, he had more than 2 million followers just as the game surpassed 45 million players. Ninja was at the right place at the right time. The more people joined the game, the more followers and subscribers he had.
Becoming the #1 Twitch Streamer
Here’s the thing: Ninja knew what to do to keep people watching. He was an exceptional player — you weren’t just watching a regular gamer. Likewise, he was funny and knew how to entertain his audience. He was a people person for the streaming era. But more importantly, Ninja knew how to convert fame into money.
Ninja streamed Fortnite whenever he can. With every Twitch subscription, he earned $3.50. At one point, he was earning over $200k a month due to his 60,000 subscribers — that doesn’t even count the thousands of dollars he earns through stream donations.
These days, his Twitch subscriber count is hovering to just about 20,000. But when you add in his Red Bull partnership, his paid game promotions (EA paid him a million dollars to stream Apex Legends), and his ad revenue from YouTube (where he has over 22 million subscribers), it’s no wonder why he’s still earning hundreds of thousands of dollars a month.
So before you leave your job, consider this: Even when he had dedicated ten years of his life to professional gaming, Ninja wouldn’t be where he is today without a bit of luck in the form of Fortnite. Work hard, and work even harder when you’ve struck gold.