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By Julia Glum
January 2, 2019
Allison Hagendorf, left and Tyler 'Ninja' Blevins on stage at the New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square, in New York, December 31, 2018.
Allison Hagendorf, left and Tyler 'Ninja' Blevins on stage at the New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square, in New York, December 31, 2018.
Joe Russo—Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

If your New Year’s resolution was to spend less time playing video games, you should close this article now. There’s no hope for kicking the habit once you learn that gaming turned a 27-year-old into a multi-millionaire in 2018.

Tyler “Ninja” Blevins told CNN recently that he earned about $10 million in the past year from Fortnite, the online battle royale game that has exploded in popularity. With 20.7 million YouTube subscribers and 12.8 million followers on the live broadcast platform Twitch, Ninja is arguably the world’s biggest streamer right now. He’s even played with Drake.

“I don’t think anyone thought it was possible to get this big through live streaming,” he told ESPN The Magazine last year.

Ninja’s giant audience is helping him rake in the cash. Not only does he get a cut from Twitch subscription fees, which range from $4.99 to $24.99 a month, but he also sells merchandise and profits from several high-profile sponsorships. His recent Twitter posts include ads for Uber Eats, Samsung and Doritos. On New Year’s Eve, he hosted a 12-hour live stream from a Times Square rooftop in partnership with Red Bull.

The money didn’t necessarily come easily: Ninja streamed over 3,800 hours of Fortnite during 2018. That’s about $2,600 an hour before taxes, but he worked significantly more than the 2,080 hours a standard full-time employee does in a year.

It can be hard to take breaks, too: In June, Ninja lost 40,000 followers when he took 48 hours off from streaming. He says he’s taken one trip in the past eight years.

“The longest vacation I’ve ever taken was my honeymoon, and that was like six days,” he told the New York Times last month. “And that was devastating. It was a calculated risk.”

When he’s not streaming, what’s Ninja spending his small fortune on?

Ninja told ESPN he prioritizes taking care of his family, and he’s previously said he likes to donate to charity. On Black Friday, he raised $52,000 for the Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund; this summer, he donated $500,000 in prize money to the Alzheimer’s Association. He also participated in a GuardianCon charity stream that reached $2.7 million, according to Forbes.

“2018 was hands down the greatest year of my life. I have been working toward this goal my entire life, gaming since I was a kid,” Ninja tweeted Tuesday, then offered some advice to his fans. “Take control of your destiny this year and make s—t happen.”

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The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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