Ninja has discussed all things Fortnite in a recent interview, revealing who he believes is the best player in the game, and how Epic Games can make Fortnite esports a lasting success.
Ninja, real name Tyler Blevins, ascended to become the best known Fortnite player and streamer, in parallel with game’s own rapid success.
He has also been at the forefront of the competitive side of Fortnite. As a former esports professional himself in Halo, he has so far organized two competitive events himself, as well as participation in the Friday Fortnite tournaments, and winning the E3 Pro-Am event.
His very first Fortnite tournament, organized in conjunction with Esports Arena Las Vegas, beat the concurrent viewership record for a personal stream, with over 600,000 (beating his own previous record when he streamed duos with Drake).
So, how does Ninja think Epic Games can ensure the longevity of Fortnite esports? He explains, speaking to ESPN, that it is all about consistency.
“Epic needs to make sure that the tournament format is everything. Battle Royale’s are ‘RNG’ (random number generated). I think that getting as far away from that as possible, and developing the most consistent style tournament, bracket, layout, really is what going to give it the validation that it needs.
And I think that is one thing that they are really focusing on. Making sure that it’s fun to watch. Esports is always about the most ‘competitive’, but I think you’re always going to get the top players rising to the top. But making as fun as possible to watch is [Epic’s] focus, and that’s important.”
So, who exactly does Ninja think these ‘top players’ are at the moment? Well, he is modest, and says that at the moment the competition is yet to diversify and filter out the ‘best’ from the ‘good’.
“There’s so many [good players], and I think the worst part is that the only ones who get recognition are the streamers. I’ve played the game for almost 1000 hours, maybe more, and there are people that kill me everyday.
Whether or not I made a mistake, or I wasn’t trying as hard, there are still great players who don’t stream. I don’t think there is a specific way to say ‘this guy is better than this guy, or this guy is up and coming’. I think the more tournaments that allow people to come in who don’t necessarily have a following or a status, that will be the best way to determine the best up and coming [players].”
And as for Ninja’s own plans to play professionally or focus solely on streaming, he says he hasn’t made his mind up yet.
“I am still right now on the fence. I don’t know if I want to focus on one or the other. I know that I would have to go to these tournaments. It’s going to take away from my stream time, take away from content, that also takes away from my Instagram, my YouTube channel and also my Twitter clips, that get a tonne of interactions and mentions. All of that falls off when I start going to tournaments, and if I don’t win those tournaments, then I don’t recoup that money back.
Right now, these online events that are going on are absolutely perfect, where I can stay at home, stream the entire thing, gain subscribers and ad revenue. And also bring in new followers, it’s just a win-win to stay at home and stream.”
You can watch the full interview with Ninja and ESPN below.