The world’s most popular Fortnite streamer estimates he has earned almost $10 million (€8.8 million) from playing the video game in 2018.
Tyler Blevins, better known as Ninja, broadcasts himself playing the battle royale game on YouTube and streaming platform Twitch and now boasts millions of subscribers to his various channels, thousands of which pay to do so.
Speaking to CNN, Ninja said he estimates around 70% of his income comes from YouTube and Twitch, where he says he streams for 12 hours a day and adds up to around 4,000 hours a year playing Fortnite, or 166 days.
He said he could make $500,000 (€400,000) in a “good month”.
Fortnite has exploded in popularity in the last 12 months, taking Blevins along with it. He now has more than 20 million subscribers on YouTube and around 12.5 million on Twitch.
The battle royale game itself moved past 200 million players last year, as it expanded its accessibility by launching on mobile platforms such as Android and the Nintendo Switch console.
Its place as a key pop culture reference point has also been emphasised by multiple football players celebrating goals with dances from the game, known as ’emotes’, during matches at last summer’s World Cup.
Ninja’s breakthrough moment came when he took part in a Fortnite livestream in March alongside rapper Drake, breaking records at the time for concurrent viewers on an individual’s own channel when more than 600,000 people tuned in at the same time at the stream’s peak.
Since then Blevins has made multiple TV appearances and earned several lucrative sponsorship deals as his popularity has risen in tandem with the last player standing game.
He has also launched his own clothing line and even released a rap album.
Ninja’s Twitch channel is now closing in on 400 million total views, and he told CNN it was now “rare” to meet someone who didn’t know about him, professional gaming or Fortnite.
Speaking about the streaming revenue model that involves thousands of users paying to watch him play, Blevins compared it to a street performer with a “violin case” who isn’t expecting money, but may be given more by those who like what they hear.
“It’s really simple. It’s like how you subscribe to magazines or Spotify, anything like that – it’s the same thing,” he said.
- Press Association