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Ninja makes 2019's TIME 100 list of the world's most influential people

Oct 27, 2017
Written by NFL wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster:

I play in the NFL, so you’d think I wouldn’t be star-struck much. But last March, when I—along with Drake and Travis Scott—got in a Fortnite game with Ninja for the first time, I was at a complete loss for words! I was among the millions of people all across the world who had been watching Ninja (real name: Tyler Blevins) play Fortnite, the popular video game, every day for months. He was the unquestioned best in the world at his craft, something I had so much respect for both as an athlete and as a fan. Now, he was single-handedly blending gaming and pop culture.

I’ve been a huge video-game fanatic my whole life. But people have seen it as childish and a waste of time. Ninja was huge in building up the credibility of e-sports. At the end of the day, Ninja is an absolute legend, and someone to whom we owe a lot for making gaming what it is today.
Oct 28, 2017
Not to take away any of the enormous success from him, but I think there are more influential people than Ninja in the thousands so slightly baffled by that choice.

Good for him though, he certainly continues pushing through the ceiling.
Oct 29, 2017
Ninja actually has been overtaken by quite a lot on Twitch the past few months. I know he's already popular in the mainstream, but I think that's actually pretty interesting. His audience seems to be extremely fickle.
Oct 27, 2017
Not to take anything from the guy who wrote this, but shouldn't this be written by someone a little more in the known? The ones writing the paragraphs are the same choosing the 100 picks? So many questions.
Oct 29, 2017
Not gonna hate on his success, but wtf is up with this narrative that he's made gaming "mainstream" now?

Even if you don't take into account the decades of work actual industry people put into making these games appealing, there were still plenty of Let's players and gaming personalities that existed and had the same impact on kids before he did.
Oct 26, 2017
Well, this thread won't go well.

Good for the dude. Genuinely seems positive and definitely puts the time in to his fans. A list like this would never include a Kojima or most creators anyway, its just a pop fluff list.
Ninja actually has been overtaken by quite a lot on Twitch the past few months. I know he's already popular in the mainstream, but I think that's actually pretty interesting. His audience seems to be extremely fickle.
Doesn't he stream a lot less now? That is just what I have heard from people I don't watch him or anyone on Twitch but I've read a lot about him streaming less to focus on more in person stuff. If that is accurate it makes sense he has less people following him.
Oct 27, 2017
This is the writer looking at games-as-a-sport rather than games-as-an-artistic-medium. They could have been slightly less hyperbolic and gone with "someone to whom we owe a lot for making eSports what it is today. "
Oct 25, 2017
Yeah, Ninja does seem like one of the 100 most influential people in 2018. I know people can make fun of these quotes (from one person), but he did seem to enter pop culture in a way that other, maybe more notable game streamers, hadn't.
Oct 27, 2017
I mean, streamers can get big audiences. I don't think there's anything wrong with that; it's just people having fun playing video games. Sometimes they have neat insights, sometimes they're funny (the same reason a lot of us grew up watching things like America's Funniest Home Videos and such), sometimes they're skilled, or viewers don't have the money for the games.

Ninja himself, though... I mean, he's not nearly as bad as other big names in gaming, but he sounds like the stereotype of gamers who don't think about what they're saying or the consequences of actions, from what I've seen of him. Weird reactions to streaming with women, disproportionate reactions to inconveniences/dying in games, slurs, and the like are all stuff associated with him. Not everyone is going to be perfect, but when you have an audience that's largely young people, it's important to try to be aware of the consequences of slurs and whatnot. Slipups are one thing, but repeated instances, to the point that he's gone back to yelling at people and telling them to suck dick because he lost in a video game?

Streamers as a whole can be like any other personality. We love movie and TV celebrities for more than just their roles, after all. They can impact us for the better. Ninja, though... I mean, he's kinda cute? I'd rather see him model (fashion, explicit things, ad campaigns) than have him impact audiences in the way he does.
Oct 25, 2017
"he was single-handedly blending gaming and pop culture."

Yeah, because GameBoy, PlayStation, Wii, DS and all these big IPs like Mario and Pokémon never archieved this.
Thanks Ninja for this Stealth Pop culture blending
Oct 27, 2017
Most Era posters are completely out of touch with what gaming is today (myself included) so this could very well be true.
Yeah I think thats just the case. Ive been gaming for almost 30 years and didn't know who the hell this guy even was until I saw threads about him here. Asked coworkers who are into the hobby if the knew who he was (late 20s-40s) and they didn't have a clue either. All of our game time goes to playing games, none of us can wrap our minds around watching streamers since our time is limited and you know....we want to actually PLAY the games and not watch someone else do it lol.

I won't knock a young person's hustle, its just a demographics thing methinks
Mar 29, 2019
Ninja actually has been overtaken by quite a lot on Twitch the past few months. I know he's already popular in the mainstream, but I think that's actually pretty interesting. His audience seems to be extremely fickle.
Twitch? Fickle? Get out!

On twitch, some people will actually unfollow you if you dont appear online all the time. People actually unfollowed him cause he wasnt streaming for a weekend and had other stuff to do. Literally cause of 2 days off.

The Twitch crowd seem like a bunch of preschoolers who never met you, but just cant wait to start hating you.

Ill never understand why some people take that "im not online for 2 days" so personally to the point where theyll unfollow you. Its mind boggling.
Feb 28, 2019
I am playing video games for at least 25 years, a pop culture sponge and what can be considered a geek. I heard of him because of the game awards.
I don't care about streaming people and fortnite. I acknowledge is success, but it doesn't bring anything to gaming, at all.
Aug 11, 2018
I don't have an issue w/ Ninja being on a list of influential people. I think he is--I've been playing games my whole life and my family was always relatively aware of my gaming interests/what I liked to play/etc. Until Ninja, I don't think any of my family members ever knew the name of anyone even somewhat associated with video games. My cousin, who played a lot of games w/ my brother and I growing up but grew out of them, owns an Xbox one because of how popular fortnite is at her high school, which is partially because of Ninja.

However, I feel like it's in bad faith to say he made gaming mainstream. When I was in high school, I recall pretty much every single boy picking up the new CoD. No one ever shut up about how good Skyrim was. Most people I know now have at least played games casually--either with friends or on their phones. It's just disingenuous to attribute all that to him; devs and especially marketing teams I think have carried a lot of the weight of that.