Think of gamer Ninja, and you probably start thinking about money. That’s no accident. The Fortnite legend made an estimated $560,000 from Twitch subscriptions alone during each month of 2018.

He’s probably making much more now due to his switch to Mixer. He’s the first gamer that draws all the others in to play. And now that he’s freed from the restrictions he says Twitch placed on his ability to build his brand, there’s no telling what he might do.

It wasn’t always like this. At one point, Ninja was just a guy playing Fortnite in his basement, like everyone else. And he was playing in a pretty interesting way, with a different name.

Who Was NinjasHyper?

Ninja’s original Fortnite name was “NinjasHyper.” While he used the tame name “Ninja” on Twitch, the Fortnite gamer tag followed him. And his playing style was distinctive.

Watch old NinjasHyper videos (including these and these and these), and you’ll see a young guy playing in a bright basement with no branded materials in sight.

Turn up the volume, and you’ll hear all sorts of swearing, name calling, and mimicry.

You’ll also see just basic shenanigans. Colorful hats? You bet. Dancing? Of course. Mad dashes to the bathroom? Who is Ninja to disappoint?

Of course, his gaming is on point. He plays with style and skill, and he silences all commentary when the action gets hairy so he can focus on winning. And win he does. The man almost always seems to win.

But it’s the humor and language that some people enjoyed. And all that went away recently.

What’s Ninja Like?

Ninja still plays a mean game of Fortnite, and he still goes silent during moments of extreme concentration. But his modern streams are remarkably free of swearing, name calling, mimicry, and dancing. He does have a “Ninja After Dark” feature in which he loosens restrictions a bit. But in general, his streams are squeaky clean.

What’s going on?

Ninja explains that modern gaming culture is associated with being crass, loud, and just a bit rude. Gamers egg on one another. They encourage the behavior. But step outside of gamer circles, and the things that happen within a stream can seem unusual, strange, or even just a little bit rude.

Ninja is open about wanting to expand his brand. He wants to be more than a simple gamer. And on some level, he must know that behaving like a gamer makes a leap to other media really difficult.

So he’s declared himself family-friendly. And after months of petitioning Fortnite, he finally changed his gamertag to the simple Ninja.

Ninja claims in interviews that he hopes to be a role model for future gamers. Perhaps he can demonstrate that gamers can be excellent without the cursing, and that could keep parents from worrying about all the time their kids spend playing games.

But it can also help his branding chances if he’s not constantly defending the crass things he said and did on a game.

Where Do You Stand on NinjasHyper?

The gaming community is evenly divided about the Ninja rebrand. Some gamers are happy to see a gamer producing content that won’t make parents cringe. But others think it’s a simple marketing stunt that results in videos that are safe, clean, and boring.

As a gamer, you have your own choices to make. Should you appeal to families? Or gamers? Follow Ninja’s success after the rebrand, and you could see if this is a road you should take too.

References

Fortnite Legend Ninja Talks Twitch Fame and Fortune, and the Game That Got Him There. (March 2018). Forbes.

Ninja Left Twitch Because His Brand Was Too Big for Gaming. (October 2019). The Verge.

This 28-Year-Old Makes $500,000 Every Month Playing Fortnite. Here’s How He Does It. (August 2019). Business Insider.

March 2018 Tweet. Twitter.

Twitch Tools. Commander Root.

Old Ninja Montage #2. (December 2018). YouTube.

Old Ninja Fortnite Clips That Are Actually Funny. (March 2019). YouTube.

Ninja Reveals That He Misses Being NinjasHyper and Explains How Changing Saved Gaming. (April 2019). YouTube.

Ninja Fires Back at Viewers Demanding the Return of Old Ninja. (April 2019). Dextero.

Ninja Aiming to Be a Family-Friendly Role Model. ESPN.

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