Ninja lays down brutal truth. Don't try to be a pro if you are really bad [Interview]
Tyler "Ninja" Blevins is a professional streamer. He plays games for living. His fame is almost as far reaching as Drake's or Neymar's who joined him playing "Fortnite" on stream. "Ninja" sat down with us and opened up about his motivations, plans and polish vodka.
Bolesław Breczko, WP Tech: How do you like it in Poland?
Tyler "Ninja" Blevins: It's great!
I know you have tried some Polish food. What did you like best?
The crayfish soup was amazing. And vodka is fantastic too. We even got a whole bottle of "horseradish" vodka as a gift.
Since we are on Polish topics, I have a question from our reader. Have you played the best Polish game - "The Witcher 3"?
"The Witcher 3"? It's not very good streaming game. Or maybe it is. I'm not sure. I played an hour of it on the stream and a few hours off the stream. But I liked the game.
Do you have other hobbies than gaming?
I don't have time for other hobbies. I sometimes watch american football, but I don't know if you can call it a hobby.
Watching TV? I doubt it.
Then i don't have other hobbies. I wake up, stream for 7-8 hours, spend some time with my wife and then stream some more.
Let's talk about Fortnite. What is the best weapon and item in the game?
The best weapon is the golden AK, and the item... definitely clinger – free kills.
And the worst?
The worst was an infantry rifle, but it seems that they have removed it. Poor infantry rifle.
You had the opportunity to stream with some big names - Drake and Neymar. Who else would you like to stream with?
Jensen Ackles and Jared Padelecki from "Supernatural". I don't know if they are gamers, but I would like to play with them.
What made you so succesful? Thousands of people are streaming, but they are not as succesful as Ninja. What's so special about you?
I've been doing it for a very long time. Even before Twitch, I wa streaming on Justin.tv, So I think it's a matter of experience. Also I think that I have two most important features of a good streamer: I am very good at the game I play and I am entertaining. If I'm not on the top of my game.
You weren't so popular before "Fortnite". Did fame and money went to your head?
Definitely not. It didn' happen overnight, my popularity grew quickly, but gradually. Even before "Fortnite" I had 10-20 thousand spectators daily. It helped me to keep my feet on the ground.
How long do you think you will be able to stream and make a living?
Until I decide to stop. Streaming will not disappear. It will probably change and adapt to new realities. I hope I will stream for another 20, 30, maybe 40 years. I will definitely never stop playing games, so if I do it anyway, why shouldn't i stream it?
I wanted to ask you what will you do after streaming, but I see you're not planning on stopping?
No, i don't plan on stopping, but if I had to, I would like to rest and chill. Now, streaming takes all my time.
You stream for 8-12 hours a day. How much of it is a job for you, and how is just pleasure?
It's almost always a pleasure for me and i never play off stream, that's why I was able to do it for so long. But the first 30 minutes of the day is definitely the most difficult for me, because I'm still tired after the night.
You have a huge base of very young fans. Do you feel responsible for what you say and what you do when they watch you?
Absolutely. I am not a different person on stream, but i choose not to use certain words. I have a philosophy that I don't curse and don't teach that my viewers.
Many of your fans probably would like to be like "Ninja" - game, stream and make a living. But not everyone will succeed. What would you tell them?
Everyone must hear the brutal truth. If you are really, really, really bad at the game maybe stick with it as a hobby. But if you have talent, then put yourself out there. Take part in tournaments and make the world hear about you.
"Fornite" is currently the most popular game in the world. What made it so succesful?
Oh, It's easy. "Fortnite" is free, gives you a lot of fun and makes you wanna play it again and again. It is also graphically attractive, it's nice to look at it.
A month ago another title appeared which could threaten the position of "Fortnite". "Apex Legends".
Will it dethrone "Fortnite"?
No way. "Apex Legends" is much more violent. For example you have executions in "Apex". My manager doesn't want his son watch me play "Apex". Some parents are very cautious of what their children are playing and watching. So "Apex" will not threaten "Fortnite".
Video game industry is already larger than the music and film industry combined. Yet there are people who think that games are stupid and childish. What do you have to tell them?
"Wake up, man!". It's only a matter of time when their opinions won't matter.
Give me some quick tips on how to be better at "Fortnite"
Do not try win if you are starting out and trying to get better. Winning will not make you better. Fighting and learning how to build will make you better. Editing and navigating fights will make you better. So you want to put yourself in aggresive situations. Once you can handle yourself in a firefight that's when you can land in a corner of a map and then go for the win. Because when you get into a fight you're gonna be fine. Get in the thick of it, that's the best thing i can tell people.
And what should i do to be a better streamer?
Read and interact with chat. If you have very few viewers, try to welcome everyone and talk to them. Be consistent with your streaming. Start and finish at the same time so fans know when they can catch you. Invest in yout equipment. Buy a good microphone and computer. Nobody will want to watch a laggy, unknow stream.
Finally, tell me something that will surprise your fans.
I'm half blind in the right eye. So I have a narrow field of view on the right. But it doesn't affect gaming.