Fortnite has been a runaway success since the hit battle royale game launched late last year. Despite being a free-to-play title, Epic Games is making $300m a month through the sale of battle passes and in-game items. However, they aren’t the only ones profiting from the genre’s success.
Over on video game streaming platform Twitch, Fortnite is constantly near the top of the most-viewed games chart, with numerous streamers capitalising on an endless supply of Fortnite fans to gather huge followings on the platform. Among the best is Tyler “Ninja” Blevins.
The former Halo 3 professional has used Fortnite to transform himself into a hugely popular internet personality. He boasts 8.3m followers on Instagram, 2.9m on Twitter and 156,000 followers on Facebook. However, the numbers that count are Twitch and YouTube, where he has 9.9m and 15.9m followers respectively.
With Epic Games having pledged to invest $100m in Fortnite esports over the next 12 months, competing in tournaments will become more lucrative in the coming months. However, for now at least, streaming is where the money is made for those like Ninja.
But who is the successful Fortnite streamer and what is the Ninja net worth?
Who is Ninja?
Ninja is a Twitch streamer and internet personality who has found fame through streaming Fortnite. As the game’s popularity boomed in late 2017 and early 2018, so too did Ninja’s follower count.
However, Ninja’s time in the esports community spans back about a decade. He first made it big in 2009, when he was playing as a professional Halo 3 player for big teams like Cloud9, Team Liquid and Renegades.
However, there wasn’t all that much money in pro play back then, so in 2011 Ninja began streaming in Twitch predecessor Justin.TV, before switching to the Amazon-owned streaming platform.
He started out playing popular title H1Z1 and was eventually signed by Luminosity Gaming in 2017 to compete in Halo and H1Z1 competitions.
However, the rise of battle royale would eventually sent him down a different path. After viewership of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds rocketed, Ninja started playing the title and, soon enough, he was competing in the top tournaments and generating plenty of interest on Twitch.
By this point, Ninja had amassed some 500,000 Twitch followers. But it wasn’t until Fortnite muscled in on PUBG’s turf that Ninja really started to see his audience grow. In the six months after, Ninja’s follower count grew to more than 3m subscribers.
Fortnite had become one of the highest grossing games in the world and just about everyone had taken note. Ninja, the face of the pro Fortnite community, was able to convince Drake and Travis Scott to join him on his stream, which subsequently broke viewing records on the Twitch platform.
Ninja has gone from strength to strength over the last six months. Searches for “Ninja” have climbed according to Google Trends and his follower count continues to rise. According to SocialBlade, he adds approximately 33,000 new followers a day on Twitch and another 48,000 daily on YouTube.
Ninja previously told CNBC:
“I think that I offer a combination of high-tier game play that they really can’t get with a lot of other content creators. It’s very difficult to be one of the very best at a video game,
“I’m very goofy; if you ever watched any of my streams or YouTube videos, I do impressions and stuff like that all the time and just crazy shenanigans. I think the combination of that is really fun to watch.”
So how does Ninja make money?
The primary source of Ninja’s income is undoubtedly streaming and content creation.
He is currently the most followed streamer on video game streaming platform Twitch by a long way with 9.8m followers. The second most popular streamer, Michael “shroud” Grzesiek, has just 3.8m.
During his time on the platform, he has amassed 264.2m channel views and adds about 1m to that total daily.
According to reports, streamers make somewhere between $2-$10 per 1,000 Twitch views. This would mean that Ninja has made somewhere between $528,400 and $2.64m in advertising revenue from the streaming platform. Given his status as the most followed streamer on Twitch, it is likely that Ninja has earned closer to the latter estimate.
YouTube likely proves far more lucrative for the veteran gamer. So far he has amassed 15.7m followers on the video sharing platform, putting him within the top 100 followed accounts. He continues to climb up the rankings, adding approximately 1.5m subscribers to his count every month.
YouTube pays less than Twitch on average, with estimates suggesting video-makers get $2-$4 per 1,000 views. However, the sheer size of Ninja’s subscriber list means that it generates more income overall.
Ninja has amassed over 1bn video views. By our calculations, he has likely made somewhere between $2m and $4m from YouTube so far. With approximately 140m video views monthly, Ninja will continue to generate between $280,000 and $$560,000 each month. According to SocialBlade, Ninja could be making up to $12,400 from YouTube every day.
However, while ad revenue is a well-paying revenue stream for Ninja, it is topped by Twitch subscriptions.
Every time a Twitch user subscribes to a channel, costing $4.99 a month, this is usually split around 50/50 between Twitch and the streamer. Ninja surpassed the 250,000 subscriber mark in April, meaning that he makes around $625,000 a month in Twitch subscription revenue. This is undoubtedly his most lucrative revenue stream.
How else does Ninja generate income?
Of course, as one of the best players in competitive Fortnite, Ninja makes his fair share from the game’s ever-increasing number of tournaments.
According to Esports Earnings, Ninja has made $131,000 in tournament prize money so far.
This is far from lucrative at the current time. Given how rapidly Fortnite grew, there wasn’t time for Epic to establish a professional scene. However, that will soon come, with the developer pledging to invest $100m in competitive Fortnite over the next 12 months.
Ninja has also started to attract some big-name investors. Notably, Energy drink brand Red Bull. As part of the sponsorship deal, Ninja became the face of Red Bull’s all-night Fortnite tournament. The financial aspects of the deal were kept private. However, given how popular Ninja has become over the past 12 months, he is undoubtedly paid adequately for his time.
Aside from the Red Bull deal, Ninja has also teamed up with underwear brand PSD to release Ninja branded underwear. Again, we were unable to obtain financial information on the deal, but it undoubtedly pays well. Interest in the PSDxNinja products was incredibly high upon release.
Ninja net worth: How much has he made so far?
It’s impossible to say exactly how much Ninja is worth. However, it is clear that the popular Fortnite streamer makes plenty from playing Epic’s battle royale hit. The streamer has confirmed that much, telling Forbes in March that he earns over $500,000 a month from gaming.
It’s difficult to calculate exactly how much he has earned from streaming. However, ad revenue has likely generated somewhere between $2.53m and $6.64m.
Twitch subscriptions have bumped that up considerably. He was earning around $625,000 a month between April and June, adding up to around 1.25m. However, his Twitch subscriber count fell by 40,000 in June after he missed two days of streams. His monthly earnings now sit at around $525,000.
Ninja’s subscriber count has been climbing rapidly since the start of the year. By our calculations, he will have earned at least $1.9m from Twitch subscriptions between February and August 2018. However, the total is likely considerably higher.
Merchandise sales and tournament winnings are also both healthy revenue streams for the Fortnite pro. Ninja is likely also making some money from his contract with Luminosity Gaming. However, signed before he really hit the big time, this is likely meagre compared to his earnings from streaming.
We cannot say exactly how much the player has made so far from his time in esports. However, all things considered, Final Kill estimates the Ninja net worth at around $6m.
As long as Fortnite remains popular, that will continue to grow by more than $500,000 every month.