Last night, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins was a featured guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. During the loquacious host’s interview with the popular Fortnite streamer, Fallon asked Ninja to explain exactly what attracts viewers to watch other people play video games. Ninja’s answer was brief, easy to understand, and a great example of why he’s the perfect figurehead for streaming and competitive gaming. Check it out:
“A lot of people can’t wrap their head about it yet,” said Fallon. “They go like, ‘Why would you want to watch someone play a video game?’”
“I get it, no, dude, it’s so funny,” replied Ninja. “Why would you want to watch, you know, the best of the best play football, soccer, you know, hockey. It’s like, why don’t you go outside and do it right now?”
By drawing a comparison between high-level gaming and traditional sports, Ninja provides a defense for esports that is easy to understand for Fallon’s viewers, whose median age is 56. Many members of this demographic didn’t grow up with video games as complex and competitively nuanced as the esports of today, and for them, the words “competitive gaming” might summon images of arcade cabinets or The Wizard. But traditional sports are widely popular among Americans of this age, and framing esports and streaming as analogous to these pursuits is a deft move by the Luminosity streamer.
Ninja has rapidly become the most famous video game competitor of all time. In addition to his appearance on late-night TV, he’s also been featured on the cover of ESPN The Magazine. And with the exception of a fewgaffes, he’s done a great job managing the spotlight, capitalizing on his popularity while also lifting up other streamers and esports. So if your dad keeps asking why you’re so interested in competitive video gaming, send him this clip—it might just help him understand that esports can be just as exciting as traditional sports.