The concept of gaming celebrity is rather new, in the grand scheme of things. While legendary developers like Shigeru Miyamoto or record setters like Billy Mitchell might have once been considered the closest thing to a celebrity in the world of gaming, streaming and eSports have taken the hobby in a direction that would have seemed nearly impossible just a decade ago. Now, the medium has figures that are far more recognizable than the biggest of the old guard, and perhaps none more so than Tyler "Ninja" Blevins. At 28-years-old, the streamer and face of Mixer has already built an impressive legacy, but he very clearly has his sights set even higher. In an interview on the True Geordie podcast, Ninja aired his intention to become known as the greatest gamer of all time.
“I want to be remembered as one of the greatest gamers of all time, if not the greatest. That might not happen though, because again, we don’t really know what makes the best. Competitive, gamer, streamer, where will the best come from?”
Ninja poses an interesting question. Throughout the interview, the streamer talked about celebrities like The Rock and David Beckham, calling both "untouchable." Despite the mainstream acceptance gaming has found over the last few years, the medium doesn't have anyone yet that could be considered the "greatest." With 14 million followers, Ninja is easily the most recognizable streamer out there, but that doesn't necessarily translate to the average person being able to identify him. Famously, Lady Gaga didn't know who he was. In just 10 years of streaming, however, he's clearly established a brand for himself, and he has a strong sense of how to expand it.
“I realized I wanted to be more cartoony, more of a character, and we’re doing a lot of that to reach that goal. That is the goal, to become a symbol and an icon."
With the gaming industry in a moment of unparalleled growth, it will be interesting to see whether or not a figurehead will truly rise above the rest to become a symbol for the medium. The hobby has, after all, lasted this long without one that truly stood atop the pack. Ninja has the drive and the following. Time will tell what comes next.
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