|Estimated value:||€15 million|
|Country of origin:||United States of America|
|Source of Wealth:||Youtuber|
Richard Tyler Blevins (born June 5, 1991), better known by his online alias Ninja, is an American streamer, YouTuber, professional gamer and internet personality.
Blevins got his start in streaming by participating in several esports teams, but his popularity waned when he started playing Fortnite Battle Royale in March 2018. Blevin’s popularity grew in sync with Fortnite’s notoriety. Before Blevins retired his Twitch profile in favor of Mixer in August 2019, he had over 14 million followers and was the most subscribed to Twitch channel.
Richard Tyler Blevins was born on June 5, 1991 to American parents of Welsh descent. Born in the Detroit area, he moved to the Chicago suburbs with his family when he was a year old. His youth in the Chicago suburbs included video games and sports. He attended Grayslake Central High School, where he played football – he was also an avid video gamer. After graduating, he decided to play video games professionally, compete in tournaments, join professional organizations, and live stream his games.
Blevins began playing Halo 3 professionally in 2009. He has played for various organizations including Cloud9, Renegades, Team Liquid and most recently Luminosity Gaming. Blevins became a streamer in 2011. He started playing H1Z1 and then switched to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. He joined Luminosity Gaming and then H1Z1 in 2017 as a Halo player. He later moved to PUBG where he won the PUBG Gamescom Invitational Squads standings in August 2017.
Blevins began streaming the newly released Fortnite Battle Royale shortly after the PUBG Gamescom Invitational. Its viewership began to grow, which coincided with the game’s popularity in late 2017/early 2018. His followers on Twitch had grown from 500,000 in September 2017 to over 2 million in March 2018.
In March 2018, Blevins set the Twitch record for largest concurrent audience in a single stream (non-tournament events), 635,000 while playing Fortnite with Drake, Travis Scott and Juju Smith-Schuster. This stream inspired Epic Games, the developers of Fortnite, to host a non-profit Pro-Am event featuring popular streamers like Blevins and famous Fortnite stars at E3 2018 in June of that year. Blevins and electronic musician Marshmello won the event. In April 2018, he broke his own viewership record during his Ninja Vegas 2018 event, where he compiled an audience of approximately 667,000 live viewers.
Blevins teamed up with Red Bull Esports in June 2018 and hosted a special Fortnite event, the Red Bull Rise Till Dawn, on July 21, 2018 in Chicago, where players could challenge him.
Blevin’s increasing popularity on Twitch is seen as synergistic with the success of Fortnite Battle Royale. In December 2018, Blevins estimated that he made $10 million in 2018, while Epic Games reported that they had over $3 billion in revenue that year, mostly from Fortnite.
Reuters reported that Blevins received $1 million from Electronic Arts for promoting Apex Legends, a competing battle royale game for Fortnite, for playing the game on his Twitch stream and for promoting the title via a social media account received during the February 2019 release of Apex.
On August 1, 2019, Blevins left Twitch to stream exclusively on Microsoft’s Mixer platform on August 1, 2019. His wife and manager, Jessica, told The Verge that the deal with Twitch limited Ninja’s ability to expand his brand outside of video gaming.
In addition to a large number of subscribers on Twitch and Mixer, Blevins had over 22 million subscribers on YouTube as of September 2019. At the time, he was making over $500,000 a month streaming Fortnite, making the game’s free business model a growth driver.
Blevins and his family were featured in several episodes of the television show Family Feud in 2015 while he was gaining popularity as a professional video gamer. According to The Brillion News, Blevins was the reason he and his team made it onto the show. In an episode that aired in August 2019, his family returned as contestants on Celebrity Family Feud after he gained more fame.
In September 2018, Blevins became the first professional esports player to be featured on the cover of ESPN The Magazine, marking a breakthrough in the mainstream esports world.
Blevins collaborated with record label Astralwerks in October 2018 to produce an album titled Ninjawerks: Vol. 1 featuring original songs by electronic music figures including Alesso, Nero, Tycho and 3LAU. As well as being a fan of these artists, Blevins felt the album was “another great step in bridging the gap between musicians and players”. The album was released on December 14, 2018.
|Estimated value:||€15 million|