Each summer, video game developers, publishers, and enthusiasts descend on Los Angeles for what’s become the biggest annual event for the gaming industry: the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or simply “E3.” And although some companies like Electronic Arts and Sony have started distancing themselves from the conference (EA will hold its own event before E3 kicks off while Sony is skipping the entire thing), many major industry players (a la Microsoft and Nintendo) will be in attendance to showcase new games and products.
This year, industry darling Fortnite (an incredibly popular online video game from Epic Games) is keeping the party going after E3 with an epic, two-day “Summer Block Party” in Inglewood, CA, starting June 15. Celebrities and gaming influencers will be in attendance, including the popular Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins and Kristen ‘KittyPlays’ Valnicek, both of Fortnite fame.
Nearly two years after its release, the buzz around Fortnite isn’t dying down — in fact, it recently announced a whopping 250 million players (double what it had in June 2018), making it one of the most popular games ever. We wanted to take a look at how it – and celeb streamers Ninja and KittyPlays – have been growing over the last year.
Insights from video measurement company Tubular Labs reveal that out of Ninja’s 286 Fortnite-related videos on YouTube in the last year, 53 had over 5 million views, and only 14 had fewer than 1 million views. The most popular of those was “My First Game Of Realm Royale! – Ninja & TimTheTatman,” which earned over 12 million views by looking at the gameplay of the Fortnite competitor.
On YouTube alone — which hosts the most Fortnite content, with over 784,000 videos in the past year — 50 different Fortnite videos have at least 20 million views. The most popular of those is Red Arcade’s “Top 250 Funniest Fails in Fortnite,” which has 79.5 million views to-date.
To examine the audiences and follower growth around Ninja and KittyPlays, we partnered with CreatorIQ, an influencer marketing software that helps companies run brand ambassador campaigns with content creators.
According to CreatorIQ, Ninja has seen impressive audience growth across both Twitch (123.2% increase in followers) and YouTube (126.95% subscribers increase) in the last year. He boasts a primarily (89%) male audience that’s mostly 18-34 years old located in the U.S.
KittyPlays has more modest growth — a 34.65% increase in Twitch followers and a 66.28% increase in YouTube subscribers over the last year. The majority of her audience is U.S.-based (28%), followed by 8% in the UK and 7% from her birth country of Canada. KittyPlays’ audience is even more male-skewed than Ninja at 92% and the majority of followers are 18-24 years old.
Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins
Kristen ‘KittyPlays’ Valnicek
These influencers are capitalizing on their popularity with brand partnerships as well. KittyPlays recently announced a deal with Allied Esports to launch PlayTime with KittyPlays, a live, original content series featuring gameplay, celebrity guests, and gaming commentary.
Ninja also works with brands big and small. He’s been a Red Bull partner since last year and together they recently put his face on a can and launched a new line of headbands, available at Walmart. His social followers frequently see sponsored messages on various channels as well. For instance, this promotion on YouTube for the iKONIK outfit and Scenario emote received an engagement rate of 4%, according to CreatorIQ’s analytics. This past Mother’s Day, Ninja did a somewhat-cheeky sponsored post on Instagram for PSD Underwear (yes, underwear) that had an engagement rate of 3%.