For the past few years, the gaming world has been on a massive rise. With so many different platforms to play on, the number of up-and-coming gamers has skyrocketed tremendously. One man who deserves much credit for this uprising is none other than twenty-nine-year-old, professional eSports player Richard Tyler Blevins, who is better known by his streaming alias, Ninja. Blevins began his video gaming career in 2011 and never looked back. By 2016, Blevins had reached a whopping 500,000 followers on his Twitch streaming service. As years prevailed, he did as well, earning a rise in his Twitch follower percentage by 250%. In 2019, Blevins announced to the world that he and Twitch would be parting ways due to his decision to focus more on mastering his craft at Halo, which is the game that started his career. Halo is owned by another streaming service, Microsoft Mixer, which is nowhere near as popular as Twitch. However, this didn’t stop Ninja due to the fact that he loves what he does. “Money played no part in my decision. Halo rooted me as a gamer so in my heart I feel my chosen decision is one that will make me happiest,” he stated in a video posted to Twitter.
In 2020, Microsoft made the tough decision to close its Mixer streaming service, which made Blevins a free-agent. However, his free agency did not last for long. On September 8th, 2020, Ninja returned home to Twitch. During the gamers’ short-lived free agency period, he and Twitch agreed on a multi-year contract that makes him exclusive to the Amazon-owned service of Twitch. In his first live video, which featured the game “Fall Guys,” under his new contract, the gamer brought in a whopping 100,000 viewers. This goes to show that although the details of this contract have been kept confidential from the public, Ninja is back to feeling right at home.
Parker Panich, a Greenville eSports team member, shared his perspective on Twitch and how it benefits gamers looking to begin a professional gaming career. “I think Twitch is a better streaming platform because it’s one of the largest streaming platforms that give people a late opportunity to start a career in gaming.” Like any situation, there were many people who were in favor of, but also opposed, Ninja’s decision to initially leave Twitch. When asked about what choice he would have made if he and Ninja switched places, Panich confidently stated, “I would not have left Twitch if I had good relations with the streaming service. If the relations were anything other than good, then of course, I can see why one would make the switch.”
The world of eSports owes much of its gained success to Blevins as he has single-handedly changed the history of the sport. With such great talent as well as passion for gaming, Ninja has already stamped his name in the history book forever. As he makes himself comfortable in his old throne, it is only a matter of time before he shocks the gaming world yet again.
Media by Ryan Taylor.