Popular “Fortnite” streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins broke the record for most concurrent viewers on Twitch last week, topping out at 667,000 viewers, ESPN reports in an interview with the newly famous personality. Blevins held the previous record when he streamed “Fortnite” with rappers Drake and Travis Scott to over 600,000 people.
Last Wednesday, Blevins took the stage at the Esports Arena in the Luxor Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, playing the massively successful free-to-play battle royale game against other top-level “Fortnite” players. Participants paying $75 USD each to play three games were given the chance to track down and kill Blevins’ character, winning $2,500 if they could find him and another $2,500 if they took him down. Across nine games, the streamer was able to win one game and took second place in two others.
Blevins has been at the forefront of “Fortnite’s” meteoric rise in recent months. But even with all eyes on him now, Blevins tells ESPN he doesn’t feel different.
“I don’t feel famous. I still have to pick my dog’s s— up when I go outside. I’m just a guy gaming. It feels good and I’m definitely starting to feel and think about things different, but it’s just a professional thing,” he told the outlet.
That’s not to say Blevins hasn’t been without his controversy. In March, during a stream, the personality appeared to drop a racial slur while rapping along with Logic’s song “44 More” – a song that doesn’t have any slurs in its lyrics. Blevins apologized for the event on Twitter.
Despite this issue, Blevins says he wants to use his popularity and the popularity of “Fortnite” for good. And he wants to see it continue to grow.
“Bigger, better, more. That’s all I want to do, use this, grow as much as possible and spread a positive message,” he told ESPN. “I wouldn’t say there will be a pro league built around me, but I would love to be able to throw events like this – bigger, better, I’m talking a stadium.”
“I did not think [starting to play ‘Fortnite’] would be here, ever. That’s just because, I don’t think a game has ever done this. You have popular esports games like ‘League of Legends’ and those are obviously super popular and competitive, but a game that’s gone viral and infected the world, really, especially with a younger audience, it hasn’t happened since ‘Minecraft,’ in my opinion,” Blevins also said.
“Fortnite” was released by developer-publisher Epic Games in July of 2017 after six years of development. The cooperative survival game was met with middling reviews until it added a standalone battle royale mode, made popular by “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds,” in September of the same year. The inclusion turned “Fortnite” into a massive success, making $126 million in February alone.