Twitch streamer Ninja smashes viewer record with some help from Drake

Twitch streamers often use their inviting personalities or high-level gaming skills to attract viewers to their streams, but it sometimes takes a little bit more to get people tuning in. Tyler Blevins, known on Twitch as “Ninja,” discovered this when he invited rapper Drake onto his Fortnite: Battle Royale stream.

Ninja invited Drake onto his stream on Wednesday, March 14, along with rapper Travis Scott and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. The four players eventually managed to amass more than 635,000 concurrent viewers, which is more than any other non-tournament stream to date — a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive match in 2017 drew in more than 1 million viewers, for instance.

Popular streamer and The Game Awards’ “Trending Gamer” winner Guy “Dr. Disrespect” Beahm previously held the record with 388,000 viewers.

It was wise of Ninja to choose Fortnite for such a high-profile stream, as the game has been insanely popular on Twitch in 2018. Over the last month, the game has had more than double the average number of viewers of competitor PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. The latter game recently passed 30 million total copies sold, but its player-count has been falling. Fortnite: Battle Royale, meanwhile, has been on the rise, and its free price tag has likely had a hand in its success.

The game is also available on more platforms than PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Fortnite can be played on Mac, PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4, and versions for iOS and Android are also in the works. The game even supports cross-play for all versions of the game — excluding Xbox and PlayStation cross-play — making its total player-base even larger. Though Battlegrounds does have two different mobile versions of its game, they can’t interact with the PC or Xbox versions and are currently only available in China.

Smith-Schuster has had plenty of time to play Fortnite since the Steelers were eliminated in the NFL playoffs. He has posted hilarious videos on his Twitter account detailing his experience with the game, poking fun at the animations and mechanics. With the rest of his spare time, he has been trying to convince LeBron James to hang up his basketball sneakers and join the Steelers, but it appears that ship has sailed.

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