Earlier this year, Twitch streamer Tyler "Ninja" Blevins set a new record when he held a Fortnite stream with Drake, Travis Scott, and JuJu Smith-Schuster. The stream drew 600,000 viewers, and led to Ninja being interviewed on mainstream news networks. But more than that, the stream collaboration may have changed perceptions about gaming as a hobby, says Ninja.
In a recent interview, Ninja said, "Drake, that is what pushed gaming into the mainstream and made it cool." Although Ninja notes that he doesn't see Drake playing Fortnite as much now as he did before (his rap career likely keeps him very busy), his participation in the stream has had a ripple effect.
Some may agree with Ninja, highlighting the success of Fortnite (and Ninja) since that Drake stream. Drake's interest in the game likely introduced the game to a new audience, helping to fill up Epic Games' coffers even more. Meanwhile, Ninja has since broken the Twitch viewership record yet again. Fortnite and Ninja were both pretty successful as it is, without the endorsement from Drake, Travis Scott, and JuJu Smith-Schuster, but the stream may have sped that success up a bit.
Others have taken issue with Ninja's comments, though, arguing that gaming was already "cool." After all, there are plenty of high-profile celebrity gamers including Henry Cavill–that is, the actor portraying Superman (and now, The Witcher)–Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles actress Megan Fox, and That 70s Show star Mila Kunis. Many soccer players are avid FIFA fans, too, while many pro ballers have discussed their love of NBA 2K. If these are Drake's contemporaries, then gaming is indeed cool by default.
Plenty would also say that video games are already mainstream. There have been big-budget adaptations of video games including the Tomb Raider movie franchise. Sonic the Hedgehog and Detective Pikachu movies are also headed to the big screen as well, showing that movie studios believe in the box office potential of these gaming franchises.
While some will take issue with the wording of Ninja's comments, the underlying sentiment is true. Fortnite is one of the biggest video games–and media properties in general–on the planet. People perform Fortnite emotes out in public and morning news segments debate the game as well. That isn't entirely down to Ninja's stream with Drake or with the rapper's interest in the game, but it is a contributing factor.
Fortnite is available on Android, iOS, PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One.