Popular Dubai-based big boy and Instagram celebrity, Ray Hushpuppi has taken to the platform to warn online beggars to stay away from him. According to Hushpuppi, he has a lot of problems he is dealing with at the moment, and he has not resorted to […]
Any year in which a young man earns a living playing video games is a pretty darn good one. For 27-year-old Tyler Blevins, aka Ninja, 2018 was the best year of his life, he told CNN in a recent interview.And who could argue? Ninja is, literally, killing it.
The 94,958 Fornite kills he had racked up at last check have helped him earn what he says is close to $10 million this year. Blevins and his colorful hair (neon red at the time of this interview) have become a cultural phenomenon, and his skills and personality have helped make Fortnite the behemoth that it is — one that drove its company, Epic Games, to a reported profit of $3 billion this year.Blevins burst onto the scene after a record-breaking live stream (628,000 concurrent viewers, a record which he’s since broken) with rap icon Drake back in March.
Since then he has become a must-see on social media and more importantly, a must-stream. Ninja’s “bread and butter,” he says, are YouTube and Twitch, a streaming video platform. He estimates 70% of his income comes from the two services.Every time one of Ninja’s 20-million plus YouTube subscribers watches a pop-up ad on his channel he earns a percentage of the ad sale, and most of Ninja’s videos on YouTube have been viewed millions of times.
On Twitch, more than 12.5 million users follow him, and almost 40,000 pay to watch, subscribing to three different tiers and forking over either $4.99, $9.99 or $25 per month to watch Ninja blast his way to big bucks. Because users don’t have to subscribe, ad dollars help the platform and its streamers make money too. Still, Blevins thinks Twitch “could do a much better job incentivizing” people to choose the pricier subscriptions; he compared Twitch to a giant “violin case” for a street performer, with people just throwing in what they feel is right.
The rest of Blevins’ income is from sponsors like Samsung, Uber Eats and Red Bull. And those sponsors, along with Ninja’s September appearance on the cover of ESPN The Magazine, lead to a major question about him and his peers in the burgeoning esports community: Are they athletes? Blevins said he sees himself instead as a small business owner, equating gaming to a small coffee shop. “They’re gonna find another coffee shop if you’re not there … you have to be there all the time,” he said.