One year ago today, “gaming became cool” when Tyler “Ninja” Blevins pulled off the unthinkable. recent memory. For one night the world of video gaming, pop culture, professional sports and the music industry seamlessly merged over a game of Fortnite streamed on Twitch.
On that Thursday night, Ninja teamed up with music icon, Drake, hip-hop artist, Travis Scott and wide-receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, JuJu Smith-Schuster to not only change the way gaming is perceived but entertain an audience in a way that hasn’t been seen before.
How it went down
When it was announced that gaming’s biggest star would be playing with one of the music industry’s largest, people tuned in to see if it was real. Before the games even began, Ninja’s Twitch stream skyrocketed past the previous viewership record of 388,000 by Guy “Dr.Disrespect” Beahm. After the following tweet popped on social media, hundreds of thousands more flood the stream seeing what all the fuss was about.
Once technical issues were resolved and they began playing, the stream’s viewership reached over 635,000, a record that stood until later in the year when it was broke by Ninja as well. Twitch became flooded with new eyeballs. Twitter exploded with traffic. Gaming became “cool,” as Ninja would say when looking back at the event.
A whole new world
After the epic night of gaming concluded, both industries would meet again numerous times the rest of the year and into 2019. Ninja has been featured on the Ellen Degeneres’ show, hosted a New Years Eve event in Time Square, was featured in a Super Bowl advertisement and gamed with DJ Christopher “Marshmello” Comstock who ended up getting his own in-game event in February.
Fortnite's amplified public exposure since that fateful stream has made gaming that much more mainstream. What cannot be disputed is that, one year ago today, the gaming industry was changed forever.
Tim Rizzo is the editor and a reporter for Inven Global. He joined the company back in 2017.