When the Fortnite BR first launched in June 2017, as an F2P Beta, it rapidly gained popularity and viewership largely due to its cartoonish graphics and concepts, as well as its unique building and editing mechanics. Naturally, as its popularity skyrocketed, so did the popularity of its early streamers who were quickly able to gain editing skills. The most notable of these was Ninja. However, despite the fact that Twitch viewership has doubled over the last two years, as well as Fortnite maintaining its position with the top ten-viewed categories on Twitch. However, although Ninja (27) still pulls between 30k – 90k views per video , but seems that his subscriber count has not been maintaining the same success:

Ninja*:

Mar. 2018

April 2018

May 2018

June 2018

July 2018

Aug. 2018

Sept. 2018

Oct. 2018

Nov. 2018

Dec. 2018

Jan. 2019

Feb. 2019

Mar. 2019

263,270

172,068

220,646

108,954

80,576

98,596

74,253

54,291

46,916

41,128

32,298

29,231

24,541

It could be argued that this decline is the natural consequence of more and more skilled players appearing in Fortnite, especially as many of the new top Fortnite streamers such as Slappie, MrFreshAsian and Mongraal are closer to the ages of the average demographic (as there is no 12 – 17 group in these stats, it’s fair to assume that the 18 – 24 age bracket includes them) of Fortnite viewers than Ninja is. This could also account for why TFUE (21) who barely interacts with his chat, is continuing to grow his channel, albeit at a slower rate than his much younger contemporaries:

TFUE**

Mar. 2018April 2018May 2018June 2018July 2018Aug. 2018Sept. 2018Oct. 2018Nov. 2018Dec. 2018Jan. 2019Feb. 2019Mar. 2019
1,1352,88610,45515,88122,04122,73220,72033,27533,25732,07777,97247,92140,129

Of course, there is no real way of knowing why Ninja’s popularity has declined. It could also be due to everyone constantly commenting on how much he earns and therefore feeling that he doesn’t really need their contributions. Indeed, he does pull in a great deal of additional revenue from tips, cheer bits, event casting payments, sponsorships and tournament winnings. Additionally, it was rumored that he received $1 Million USD from EA Games for streaming Apex Legends at its initial release, which certainly gave it the boost that it needed. This also shows how influential he still is in video gaming, as it has remained within the top ten categories since then. He also generally draws between 30,000 – 160,000+ viewers, despite the decrease in subscribers. Therefore, it could be that his subscriber count decreased largely due to people’s being constantly bombarded with his having made over $500,000 USD in March 2018 from subscribers, and therefore assuming that he generates that much every month and feeling that it would be more worthwhile for them to support smaller streamers. This doesn’t really explain why so many people continue to subscribe to Shroud, Summit1G, TFUE and others who each have over 35,000 subscribers and therefore minimally earn  $122,500 USd per month. Although it’s possible that people simply don’t realize how much they do earn.

Furthermore, he still streams several times a week for between 4.5 – 16 hours a session, which indicates that he is certainly still dedicated to his stream and chat and isn’t taking his top-tier position for granted. So, whether he will be able to reestablish himself in the Twitch space to a higher subscriber base or continues to make the majority of his income from sponsorships, tips and casting jobs remains to be seen.

Sources

* https://twitchstats.net/subs/ninja

** https://twitchtracker.com/tfue/subscribers