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Richard Tyler Blevins[1] (born June 5, 1991), more commonly known by his online alias Ninja is an American Twitch streamer, YouTuber, professional gamer and Internet personality. As of May 2019, he is the most followed streamer on Twitch with over fourteen million followers and an average of over 40,000 viewers per week.[3][4]

Ninja
Ninja at Lollapalooza.jpg
Blevins at Lollapalooza in Chicago in August 2018
Personal information
BornRichard Tyler Blevins[1]
(1991-06-05) June 5, 1991 (age 28)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.[2]
NationalityAmerican
Occupation
  • Twitch streamer
  • Professional gamer
  • YouTuber
Home townGrayslake, Illinois
Spouse(s)
Jessica Blevins (m. 2017)
Websitehttps://teamninja.com
Twitch information
Also known asNinjasHyper
Channel
GenreGaming
Games
Teams played forCloud9
Renegades
Team Liquid
Luminosity Gaming
Followers14.5M
(July 7, 2019)
Total views473M
(July 7, 2019)
YouTube information
Also known asNinjasHyper
Channel
Websitehttps://teamninja.com
Years active2011 – present
GenreGaming
Subscribers22.1 million
(July 7, 2019)
Total views1.88 billion
(July 7, 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
Follower and view counts updated as of July 7, 2019.

Contents

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]

Career

Blevins began playing Halo 3 professionally in 2009.[8] He played for various teams including Cloud9, Renegades, Team Liquid,[9] and is currently with 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 by 250 percent.[11] In March 2018, Blevins set the Twitch record for a single individual stream while playing Fortnite after he hosted a game 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 21 million subscribers on YouTube as of March 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]

As well as twitch, Blevins also brings in revenue from 20 million Youtube subscribers plus his additional sponsorship deals.[15]

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.[16]

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.[17][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.[18][19][20] The album was released on December 14, 2018.[21]

Blevins appeared briefly during the NFL's "The 100-Year Game" ad alongside numerous several professional football players that aired during Super Bowl LIII.[22]

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.[23]

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.[24] 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.[25] 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.[26] 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.[27]

Personal life

Blevins' family was featured in several episodes of the television game show Family Feud in 2015. According to The Brillion News, Blevins was the reason he and his team were able to make it onto the show.[28]

Controversies

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.[29] 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.[30][31] 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.[32] 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 donator 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.[33][34] Blevins later tweeted that he deserved the punishment.[34]

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".[35]

In November 2018, Blevins received criticism for falsely reporting IcyFive, a Fortnite player, for stream sniping. After Blevins was eliminated by the player, 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 the player, 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 immediately, despite already reporting 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, and DrLupo later stated that he did not believe IcyFive stream sniped Blevins either, 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, and compared them to a rant. Blevins later apologised to IcyFive on Twitter, but also accused the player of "playing the victim" and "milking" the incident, and called him "naive" for assuming players would be banned solely on his word.[36][37]

In October 2018, Blevins reported a player for "having a higher ping" than him. This led to a player claiming on November 16, 2018 they had been banned as a result of the report, which Epic Games denied.[38] Both of these incidents caused backlash against Blevins on social media.[39]

Awards and nominations

Year Ceremony Category Result Ref.
2018 8th Streamy Awards Creator of the Year Won [40]
Esports Awards Esports Personality of the Year Won [41]
The Game Awards 2018 Content Creator of the Year Won [42]
2019 11th Shorty Awards Twitch Streamer of the Year Won [43]

References

  1. ^ a b "Ninja on Twitter". Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  2. ^ "How Fortnite star Ninja became a rabid Detroit Lions fan". ESPN.com. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
  3. ^ "The Most Followed Twitch Streamers, September 2018". twitchmetrics.net. Archived from the original on October 27, 2018. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  4. ^ "Top 10 Twitch Streamers". socialblade.com. Archived from the original on October 27, 2018. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  5. ^ "H3 Podcast #63 - Ninja". H3 Podcast – via YouTube.
  6. ^ a b c d Teng, Elaine (September 18, 2018). "Living the Stream". ESPN The Magazine. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  7. ^ Keilman, John (August 2, 2018). "He's got celebrity pals, millions of fans and (probably) millions of dollars: Meet Ninja, Chicago's 'Fortnite' superstar". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on August 5, 2018. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
  8. ^ Montag, Ali (March 20, 2018). "How this 26-year-old went from working at a fast food joint to making $500,000 a month playing video games". CNBC. Archived from the original on July 20, 2018. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
  9. ^ a b Leslie, Callum (March 16, 2018). "How much money does Ninja make?". Dot Esports. Archived from the original on March 18, 2018. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  10. ^ "Ninja Pulls Off Insane Save After Accidentally Impulse Grenading Himself". Archived from the original on March 24, 2018. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  11. ^ Meade, Dylan B. (February 27, 2018). "What the Hell Happened: Ninja's Twitch Takeover". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  12. ^ Patrick Gill, Christopher Grant, Ross Miller, and Julia Alexander (March 15, 2018). "Drake sets records with his Fortnite: Battle Royale Twitch debut". Polygon. Archived from the original on March 15, 2018. Retrieved March 19, 2018.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  13. ^ "Ninja's Vegas Fortnite event breaks Twitch viewing record - VG247". VG247. April 23, 2018. Archived from the original on April 23, 2018. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
  14. ^ Kim, Tae (March 19, 2018). "Tyler 'Ninja' Blevins explains how he makes more than $500,000 a month playing video game 'Fortnite'". CNBC. Archived from the original on March 21, 2018. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  15. ^ Fagan, Kevin Webb, Kaylee. "This 27-year-old makes $500,000 every month playing 'Fortnite' in his bedroom — here's how he does it". Business Insider. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  16. ^ "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)
  17. ^ Fogel, Stefanie (September 18, 2018). "Ninja: First Esports Player Featured on ESPN Magazine Cover". Variety. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  18. ^ Bein, Kat (October 26, 2018). "Ninja Partners With Astralwerks to Release Upcoming 'Ninjawerks' Album". Billboard. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  19. ^ Cameron, John (November 29, 2018). "Alesso, Tycho and 3LAU Share Clips of New Music from Ninjawerks". edm.com. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  20. ^ "NERO share first song in 2 years ahead of Twitch star Ninja's Compilation". edm.com. December 4, 2018. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  21. ^ "NinjaWerks Digital Album (Preorder)". Team Ninja. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ "Top gamer 'Ninja' made $1 million to promote EA's 'Apex Legends'..." Reuters. March 14, 2019. Retrieved March 15, 2019.
  24. ^ Heyn, Beth; Becht, Eli (February 20, 2018). "Tyler Blevins 'Ninja': Everything You Need to Know". Archived from the original on March 21, 2018. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  25. ^ "Who Won Ninja Vegas '18? Full Roundup Including Highlights and Results". Twin Galaxies. Archived from the original on April 23, 2018. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
  26. ^ "Incredible Generosity of the Gaming Community Raises Huge Amount of Money For Charity - Ninja, Dr Lupo and More". Dexerto. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  27. ^ Goslin, Austen (June 12, 2018). "Ninja and Marshmello win Epic's E3 2018 Fortnite Pro Am". Polygon. Archived from the original on June 13, 2018. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ Frank, Allegra (August 14, 2018). "Ninja explains his choice not to stream with female gamers". Polygon. Retrieved August 27, 2018.
  30. ^ 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.
  31. ^ "Fortnite: Ninja won't play with female gamers". BBC. Archived from the original on August 18, 2018. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  32. ^ "Ninja responds to criticism of his refusal to stream with women". Polygon. Archived from the original on August 17, 2018. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  33. ^ Farner, Shawn. "The untold truth of Tyler "Ninja" Blevins". SVG.com. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  34. ^ 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.
  35. ^ Hernandez, Patricia. "Top Twitch Streamer Ninja Rapped A Slur, Leading To A Familiar Conundrum [Update: Ninja Apologizes]". Kotaku. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  36. ^ "Ninja Reports 'Fortnite' Player for Stream Sniping and Later Apologizes". WWG. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  37. ^ Genova, Vincent. "Ninja apologizes after falsely rage reporting a Fortnite player for stream sniping". Dexerto. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  38. ^ 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.
  39. ^ Villanueva, Jamie (November 12, 2018). "Here's why Ninja is receiving hate for falsely accusing someone of stream sniping". Dot Esports. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  40. ^ "8th Annual Nominees & Winners". Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  41. ^ "2018 HALL OF FAME". ESPORTS AWARDS. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  42. ^ Wade, Jessie. "The Game Awards 2018 Nominations Announced". IGN. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  43. ^ "11th Annual Shorty Awards Nominees". Shorty Awards. Retrieved March 7, 2019.

External links