What made ninja so popular on Fortnite


In the world of professional video games, winning isn't everything. That's because top earners are more influencers than top athletes. Forbes shows the highest paid gamers in 2019.

The two-time phenomenon Tyler "Ninja" Blevins made $ 17 million last year but won less than $ 100,000 in competitions. In fact, Ninja didn't even qualify for the very first Fortnite World Cup, held at New York's Arthur Ashe Stadium in July last year; that didn't mean he got the $ 3 million prize money. That's because the top gamers are more influencers: they make their millions by converting their massive online follower numbers into advertising contracts. Ninja has 2.8 million followers on Mixer, Microsoft's nascent game platform, 22.7 million Youtube subscribers, and 14.9 million followers on Instagram. In total, the ten highest earning players have a combined 270 million followers on Youtube, Twitch and Mixer and earned US $ 121 million last year.

Ninja (Tyler Blevins)
Income: $ 17 million

From Red Bull cans and bed linen to NFL commercials - the top gamer Ninja was everywhere in 2019. This is ensured by exclusive collaborations with Adidas, Red Bull and the underwear designer PSD. Thanks to his exclusive contract with Microsoft, he is also about to redesign the live streaming landscape (Ninja switched from Twitch to Microsoft's competing streamer platform Mixer in August 2019).

Pewdiepie (Felix Kjellberg)
Income: US $ 15 million

The YouTube megastar Felix Kjellberg, known by his pseudonym Pewdiepie, remains as popular as ever despite a few scandals and questionable statements: in 2019 alone, his streams were viewed around 4.5 billion times.

Preston (Preston Arsement)
Income: $ 14 million

The V-Logger, which is best known for its Minecraft streams, generates millions annually - including 2019, when Preston was able to look forward to revenues of around US $ 14 million.

Markiplier (Mark Fischbach)
Income: $ 14 million

With humorous, over-the-top reactions while streaming horror games like Amnesia: The Dark Descent "Markiplier" has built up a large and loyal fan base.

Shroud (Michael Grzesiek)
Income: $ 12.5 million

The fact that he's not tied to a specific game has made Michael Grzesiek a favorite with major game providers like Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, and Activision Blizzard. The former esports pro also has an extensive clothing line with the game brand Jinx.

DanTDM (Daniel Middleton)
Income: US $ 12 million

Daniel Middleton is a worldwide sensation - mainly because of his immensely popular Minecraft videos. So far he has around 22.4 million subscribers on Youtbe.

VanossGaming (Evan Fong)
Income: $ 11.5 million

Fong is best known for its comedic streaming videos. His Youtube channel has around 24.9 million subscribers and his videos were viewed nearly 1.6 billion times in 2019.

Jacksepticeye (Sean McLoughlin)
Income: US $ 11 million

With 23.4 million subscribers, McLoughlin is Ireland's most popular Youtuber. At the end of 2018 he founded a clothing brand together with his YouTube colleague Mark "Markiplier" Fischbach.

TimTheTatman (Timothy Betar)
Income: US $ 8 million

His humorous and good-natured manner in Fortnite streaming have made him a crowd favorite who cooperates with big brands such as Reese's or Bud Light. In addition to his streams, Betar also acts as a commentator for the Thursday night NFL games on Twitch. At the end of 2019, he signed an exclusive streaming contract with the platform.

Nickmercs (Nick Kolcheff)
Income: US $ 6 million

Nick Kolcheff made a name for himself playing Fortnite with a controller, which is considered far more challenging than using a keyboard and mouse. Twitch became aware of this and offered Kolcheff an exclusive contract for an estimated two years and over $ 2 million.


Click here for the US article.

Text: Matt Perez / Forbes US
Photos: Forbes US

The list was published in our January 2020 issue of “Radical Change”.