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Ninja (video game player)

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Richard Tyler Blevins[1] (born June 5, 1991), better known by his online alias Ninja (formerly NinjasHyper), is an American streamer, YouTuber, professional gamer, and Internet personality. As of July 2019, he is the most followed streamer on with over fourteen million followers and an average of over 50,000 viewers per week.[2][3] In August 2019, Blevins announced he was moving to Twitch competitor Mixer fulltime.[4]

Ninja at Lollapalooza.jpg
Ninja at the 2018 Lollapalooza in Chicago, August 2018
Personal information
Born (1991-06-05) June 5, 1991 (age 28)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Home townGrayslake, Illinois
Jessica Blevins (m. 2017)
Twitch information
Also known asNinjasHyper
Created byRichard Tyler Blevins
Years active8 years
Teams played for
(October 25, 2019)
Total views480.398.593
(October 25, 2019)
Moved to Mixer
YouTube information
Also known asNinjasHyper
Created byRichard Tyler Blevins
Years active2011 – present
(October 25, 2019)
Total views1.968.666.255
(October 25, 2019)
Associated acts
YouTube Silver Play Button 2.svg100,000 subscribers 2017
YouTube Gold Play Button 2.svg1,000,000 subscribers 2018
YouTube Diamond Play Button.svg10,000,000 subscribers 2018

Early life

Blevins was born Richard Tyler Blevins to American parents of Welsh descent.[5] Though born in the Detroit area, he moved with his family to the Chicago suburbs when he was a year old.[6] Blevins' youth in the Chicago suburbs included video games and sports. He attended Grayslake Central High School, where he played soccer, and was also an avid video game player. Upon graduation, he decided to play video games professionally, entering tournaments, joining professional organizations, and live streaming his games.[7]


Blevins began playing Halo 3 professionally in 2009.[8] He played for various organisations including Cloud9, Renegades, Team Liquid,[9] and most recently, Luminosity Gaming.[10] Blevins became a streamer in 2011.[6] He began playing H1Z1, then moved to PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. He joined Luminosity Gaming in 2017 first as a Halo player, then to H1Z1, later moving to PUBG, where he won the PUBG Gamescom Invitational Squads classification. He began streaming Fortnite regularly, and his viewership began to grow, which coincided with the game's growth in popularity.[9] In September 2017, he had 500,000 followers; in six months, that number grew to over 2,000,000.[11]

In March 2018, Blevins set the Twitch record for the largest concurrent audience on an individual stream (outside of tournament events), 635,000, while playing Fortnite with Drake, Travis Scott, and Juju Smith-Schuster.[12] In April 2018, he broke his own viewing record during his event Ninja Vegas 2018, where he accumulated an audience of about 667,000 live viewers.[13]

Blevins has over 22 million subscribers on YouTube as of September 2019. He earns over $500,000 per month from streaming Fortnite and credits the game's free-to-play business model as a growth factor.[14]

On June 17, 2018, Blevins announced that he had partnered with Red Bull Esports. He also mentioned in the announcement that fans could challenge him at a special Fortnite event called the "Red Bull Rise Till Dawn" in Chicago on July 21, 2018.[15]

In September 2018, Blevins became the first professional Esports player to be featured on the cover of ESPN The Magazine, marking a breakthrough into mainstream sports fame.[16][6]

Ninja announced a deal with the record label Astralwerks in October 2018 to compile an album titled Ninjawerks: Vol. 1 featuring original songs by electronic music acts including Alesso, Nero, Tycho, and 3LAU.[17][18][19] The album was released on December 14, 2018.[20]

Blevins appeared briefly during the NFL's "The 100-Year Game" ad alongside numerous several professional football players that aired during Super Bowl LIII. He was the only participant in the commercial with no ties whatsoever to football in any form.[21]

In 2019, according to Reuters, Blevins was paid $1 million by Electronic Arts to promote Apex Legends by playing the game on his Twitch stream and via his Twitter account.[22]

On August 1, 2019, Blevins announced that he would be streaming exclusively on Microsoft's platform Mixer.[4][23] His wife and manager Jessica told The Verge that the contract with Twitch had limited the ability for Ninja to grow his brand outside of video gaming, and that the state of Twitch's community "[made] it seen like he was kind of losing himself and his love for streaming."[24]

On August 20, 2019, Blevins' book Get Good: My Ultimate Guide To Gaming was published by Penguin Random House. [25]

Blevins participated in the second season of the Fox reality music competition The Masked Singer as the Ice Cream, performing Devo's "Whip It" and Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" before being eliminated. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Blevins revealed that he accepted an invitation to participate since his wife was a fan of the show.[26][27]

Charitable work

In a fundraising charity stream held in February 2018, Blevins raised over $110,000 to be donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.[28] During the first Fortnite Battle Royale Esports event in April 2018, Blevins gave away nearly $50,000 in prize money, with $2,500 of that going to the Alzheimer's Association.[29] Later in April, he participated in the #Clips4Kids event with other fellow streamers Dr.Lupo and Timthetatman, and in total, he helped raise over $340,000.[30] At E3 2018, Blevins and Marshmello won the Fortnite Pro-Am event which resulted in the donation of the $1 million prize to a charity of their choice.[31]

Personal life

Blevins and his family were featured in several episodes of the television game show Family Feud in 2015, while he was gaining popularity as a professional video game player. According to The Brillion News, Blevins was the reason he and his team were able to make it onto the show.[32] In an episode aired August 2019, his family returned as contestants on Celebrity Family Feud.[33]


Blevins has stated that he does not stream with female gamers out of respect to his wife and to avoid the rumors that such streaming could create.[34] He received mixed reactions; some said that he should set an example and not make it more difficult for female streamers to rise to prominence, while others supported his stance, claiming that he should be allowed to do what he wants to protect his marriage.[35][36] In response to his critics, Blevins has reaffirmed his support for gender equality and restated his commitment to his marriage, and mentioned some prominent female streamers by name.[37] He has also made clear that women are welcome to play with him in a group or at events, saying that such situations allow him to "control the narrative more, without stupid drama and rumors flooding into our lives."[6]

In December 2016, Blevins released the address of a donor as retribution for having a racist screen name and donation message. This act, which is referred to as 'doxxing', is against the Twitch rules, which states they can result in an "indefinite suspension". Blevins was reported for this act, but only received a 48-hour suspension, which some believed was a result of Blevins' large audience on the platform.[38][39] Blevins later tweeted that he deserved the punishment.[39]

In March 2018, while in a stream with Nadeshot, Blevins improvised the word 'nigga' while rapping to Logic’s "44 More." This sparked controversy within his watching community and the general public. He later apologised for any offense caused and stated that he did not intend to say the word, instead attributing his use of the word to being "tongue tied".[40]

In October 2018, Blevins reported a player for "having a higher ping" than him. This led to a player claiming on November 16, 2018, that they had been banned as a result of the report, which Epic Games denied.[41] Both of these incidents caused backlash against Blevins on social media.[42]

In November 2018, Blevins received criticism for falsely reporting IcyFive, a Fortnite player, for stream sniping. After Blevins was eliminated by IcyFive, Blevins' teammate, DrLupo, told him to watch for an "emote", which IcyFive did perform. Blevins took this as proof that IcyFive was stream sniping and quickly reported the player. After reporting IcyFive, Blevins stated that he would “go out of his way” to ensure IcyFive got banned and told IcyFive that he would not report him if he left the game immediately despite already having reported him. As IcyFive was not viewing the stream, he did not do so. Blevins assumed IcyFive was ignoring him and took out his phone in what appeared to be an attempt at directly contacting Epic Games. IcyFive claimed that he did not stream snipe Blevins and uploaded a video as proof. DrLupo later stated that he did not believe IcyFive stream sniped Blevins, mentioning that using an emote was a regular reaction to an increase in spectator count after an elimination, and also stated that he did not condone Blevins' actions, comparing them to a rant. Blevins later apologised to IcyFive on Twitter but also accused the player of "playing the victim" and "milking" the incident, calling him "naive" for assuming players would be banned solely on his word.[43][44]

Awards and nominations

Year Ceremony Category Result Ref.
2018 8th Streamy Awards Creator of the Year Won [45]
Esports Awards Esports Personality of the Year Won [46]
The Game Awards 2018 Content Creator of the Year Won [47]
2019 11th Shorty Awards Twitch Streamer of the Year Won [48]



Year Title Role Notes
2020 Free Guy Himself[49] Post production


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  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 18, 2018. Retrieved June 18, 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
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  17. ^ Bein, Kat (October 26, 2018). "Ninja Partners With Astralwerks to Release Upcoming 'Ninjawerks' Album". Billboard. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  18. ^ Cameron, John (November 29, 2018). "Alesso, Tycho and 3LAU Share Clips of New Music from Ninjawerks". Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  19. ^ "NERO share first song in 2 years ahead of Twitch star Ninja's Compilation". December 4, 2018. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
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  21. ^ Brady, Erik (February 4, 2019). "NFL commercial wins USA TODAY's Ad Meter with tackle-filled celebration in 'The 100-Year Game'". USA Today. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  22. ^ "Top gamer 'Ninja' made $1 million to promote EA's 'Apex Legends'..." Reuters. March 14, 2019. Retrieved March 15, 2019.
  23. ^ CNN, Allen Kim. "Ninja, the biggest name in online gaming, is switching streaming platforms". CNN. Retrieved August 1, 2019.
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  25. ^ "Ninja: Get Good by Tyler "Ninja" Blevins | Books". Retrieved September 12, 2019.
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  27. ^ "The Ice Cream speaks! Here's how 'The Masked Singer' recruited the mysterious celebrity". Retrieved October 17, 2019.
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  32. ^ Pantzlaff, Andrew (February 12, 2015). "Survey Says: Brillion natives win big on Family Feud". The Brillion News. Archived from the original on October 22, 2016. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
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  35. ^ Haasch, Palmer (August 13, 2018). "Twitch streamers have mixed reactions to Ninja's choice to not play with female streamers". Polygon. Retrieved August 27, 2018.
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  39. ^ a b Blevins, Tyler (December 4, 2016). "I received a 48 hr suspension for releasing the persons address who donated under the racist name. I deserve this and will be back Tuesday". Twitter. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
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  41. ^ Villanueva, Jamie (November 17, 2018). "Ninja reported a player for high ping and was later accused of getting someone falsely banned". Dot Esports. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
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  45. ^ "8th Annual Nominees & Winners". Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  46. ^ "2018 HALL OF FAME". ESPORTS AWARDS. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  47. ^ Wade, Jessie. "The Game Awards 2018 Nominations Announced". IGN. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  48. ^ "11th Annual Shorty Awards Nominees". Shorty Awards. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  49. ^ Walker, Ben. "Ninja, Jacksepticeye, Pokimane and more will co-star in Ryan Reynolds' Free Guy". Dot Esports. Retrieved October 5, 2019.

External links