On Boxing Day, WIRED released one of its popular Autocomplete Videos with Richard Tyler Blevins, who is more well-known for streaming Fortnite under his online alias of Ninja. The ten minute long interview was full of crowdsourced questions based on popular Google searches, and one of them touched on an often sensitive question for influencers: was Ninja being paid to specifically play Fortnite? As it turns out, the answer is no – and Blevins would go on to detail how he first got started with Fortnite, and streaming in general.
Ninja is the most prominent Fortnite streamer in the world, with his videos attracting millions of views that undoubtedly helped Fortnite secure its place as one of the most popular video games of all time. The multiplayer battle royale title is a huge revenue generator for Epic Games, holding a firm place in popular culture. Ninja grew to prominence from being an early Fortnite adopter, along with his genuine skills within the game – the former Halo pro has about 4,000 wins to his name, so gamers will be hard-pressed to find a streamer who’s won more times than Ninja.
When the subject of Epic Games directly supporting him was asked, Blevins was careful with his answer:
“I have to really think about this, because I don’t want to misspeak. I don’t think I’ve been paid by them to do anything, ever. Other than what they’ve done for everyone like the Support-A-Creator code, and they didn’t pay me for that. So no, Fortnite has not paid me.
There were plenty of questions pertaining to Ninja’s financials, with many gamers evidently wondering how much the 27-year-old streamer made and what he did with the money. Ninja was humble in his answers, explaining that he had purchased a house to live in with his wife and kept most of it in savings. Of course, Blevins has every right to do whatever he wants with his streaming income. It’s not light work, either: Ninja states he typically streams up to 10 hours a day to maintain his spot as a top streamer. For each day he isn’t streaming, Ninja says he’s actively losing subscribers. “It sucks”, he admits, but that’s the competitive nature of streaming.
Ninja also answered some other oft-asked questions, like how he first got in touch with Drake before they played Fortnite together. As it turns out, Drake made the first move: the popular musician followed Ninja on Instagram, prompting fans to let Ninja know that he had a high profile new follower. Ninja then followed him back and likely opened communications between the two, prompting a Twitch collaboration with Drake that would shatter streaming records. The game has become a popular hit with many celebrities, with stars like Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil and actress Roseanne Barr racking up wins on the title, too.
In the past, Ninja has caused some controversy with his answers, particularly when he explained why he doesn’t stream with females. The anti-clickbait rhetoric he stated during that fiasco was continued in his WIRED interview, where he mentioned a distaste for misleading thumbnails.
There’s plenty of interesting factoids about Ninja in the video above, which is well worth 10 minutes of time for gamers interested in the man who so often appears on Twitch, YouTube, and just about everywhere else these days.
Fortnite is available now in early access for Android, iOS, PC, PlayStation 4, Switch, and Xbox One.