Why it matters: Ninja is arguably the most recognizable public figure in gaming. His fame has transcended esports as even casual techies have probably at least heard of him. There's a price to pay for that level of fame and fortune, however, that not even Blevins is immune to.
Tyler Blevins, better known by his online persona Ninja, had the greatest year of his life in 2018. The Twitch streaming star and avid Fortnite gamer earned close to $10 million last year. It may sound like a dream gig but as is often the case with the elite, grinding at the highest of levels will wear on you.
Ninja was the top Twitch streamer of 2018 based on hours watched and it wasn’t even close. According to The Esports Observer, streamers consumed 227.43 million hours of Ninja content; the next closest competitor, riotgames, had just 99.31 million hours watched. On YouTube, meanwhile, where he posts around five videos a week, he’s approaching 21 million subscribers.
The two platforms account for around 70 percent of Ninja’s income. The remainder comes from sponsorship deals with companies such as Samsung and Red Bull.
Like traditional celebrities, Ninja dedicates an obscene amount of time to his craft. It’s not unusual for the streamer to spend 12 hours a day playing games for his audience. Factor in the appearances associated with being a public figure, the interview requests, photoshoots and so on and you being to see how such a lifestyle wouldn’t be sustainable for very long.
When asked how much longer he’ll do it, Ninja told ESPN, “Until my family is taken care of. Say this ends tomorrow, we don't have enough for the rest of our lives. I tell Jess, 'Honey, we're not going to have that much quality time this year, or even next year. But if we do this right and I continue to grind for a couple more years, we can set ourselves up, and our family and our family's family, for the rest of our lives.’”