Young stars who are shaking up the esports scene
Whilst you have to put plenty of time and effort into becoming a professional esports gamer, it seems as though a handful of lucky individuals have managed to defy the odds to become leaders in their field. From gamers who have helped make certain games like Fortnite global smashes, to key players behind the scenes who have assisted esports become a world-beater, we have seen many young people who have used their ingenuity to make their presence felt. So here is a quick look at some of the individuals who have managed to transform the world of competitive gaming.
Tyler “Ninja” Blevins
Fortnite has become the big gaming hit of the past year, and it’s thanks to charismatic gamers like Tyler “Ninja” Blevins that this battle royale title has become so popular. Ninja has clocked up well over 12 million followers on his Twitch channel and even broke the streaming service’s records for viewing when he teamed up with iconic pop stars like Drake.
The 27-year old gamer has also proven to be pretty adept at signing some fairly lucrative sponsorship deals with the likes of Red Bull and Samsung. And whilst his recent decision not to play against female gamers for fear of upsetting his wife may have courted controversy, it’s helped him maintain his distinction as become one of esport’s most famous stars.
Ninja’s decision not to play against female gamers may have exposed an ugly gender divide in the esports realm, but that hasn’t stopped Aileena Xu becoming one of competitive gaming’s biggest names. Xu proved her gaming credentials when she recently became the president of the esports organisation, Team SoloMid.
At just 25 years of age, there’s a lot of pressure on her to help Team SoloMid continue their epic legacy in terms of League of Legends gaming. But as Xu helped the team gain $37 million in funding and enter the hugely promising Fortnite scene, it’s clear that she has an innate knowledge of where esports is heading.
Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng
For sheer gaming prowess, it’s hard to argue with the likes of Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng. This 25-year old Californian is easily one of the best League of Legends players, and his efforts have helped Team Liquid become a seriously formidable side.
With over $174,000 in career prize money, Doublelift has managed to make plenty of cash out of his gaming knowhow. But with his skill as a LoL marksman helping him to clock up over 500,000 fans on YouTube, it’s no wonder that this awesome gamer is a key part of the League of Legends advertising campaigns.
Jacky “Stewie” Yip
There are plenty of incredible Counter Strike Global Offensive gamers out there, but we had to include Jacky “Stewie” Yip in our list of esports movers and shakers. Although Stewie is just 20 years old, his dedication and skill as a rifler have helped him stamp him name on the CSGO scene.
There was plenty of scepticism about someone so young joining the Cloud9 team, but Stewie proved the doubters wrong with epic performances that helped the side win the ELEAGUE Boston Major. From here, Stewie has moved to SK Telecom and then MIBR, but wherever he goes, it’s clear that this young star is one of the best CSGO gamers out there.
Johan “n0tail” Sundstein
All Dota 2 fans will know all about Johan “n0tail” Sundstein. Ever since this Danish gamer joined the Fnatic esports team, he has become renowned for his exceptional abilities in the support role.
Whilst n0tail has moved between various esports organisations like Team Secret and Cloud9, he keeps managing to deliver winning results with Frankfurt Major, Manila Major and Boston Major titles to his name. But it was his performance with OG in their win at The International that really cemented his esports immortality. Despite being predicted to finish last, n0tail and his teammates managed to do the unthinkable and pull off one of the biggest upsets in esports history.
Of course, it’s not just gamers who are making it big in the world of esports. Take Delane Parnell
who created a very handy app that allows its users to make esports a little more organised. Parnell’s PlayVS app has been used by many high schools in the US to create teams, organise tournaments and even keep track of player statistics.
Whilst this 26-year old’s app may not be quite as exciting as the efforts of the world’s top esports stars, the fact that Parnell signed an exclusive deal with the National Federation of State High School Associations to provide esports competition software shows that there is more than one way to forge a career out of the competitive gaming phenomenon.