Ninja’s in-game skin is big for Fortnite, but not for streaming

It’s not as big of a deal as you think.

Image via Epic Games

Ninja and Fortnite in tandem have revolutionized the world of content creation in video games over the course of the past year. 

Whether it’s been through leveraging pop culture icons, teaming with notable brand names, or hosting memorable events both in-game and in person, Epic Games and Ninja have each done a plethora of things to shine a light on the world of streaming and enable growth across multiple platforms. 

Furthering their efforts today, Ninja and Epic unveiled a new custom skin bearing the streamer’s likeness with all of the details that make it unmistakable. From the yellow headband to the blue hair, even the inclusion of an emote for Ninja’s signature Pon Pon dance, the new cosmetics truly embody Ninja. 

When Ninja was preparing to unveil the skin on his stream, he anxiously explained to his chat that he was extremely nervous and excited, showing how much this announcement meant to him. Frankly, he’s been asking for an in-game skin for quite a while. 

But for all of the pomp and circumstance associated with Ninja’s in-game skin, Epic’s release tomorrow is just a footnote in the legacy that Ninja and Fortnite will leave as video game streaming continues to grow. 

The concept isn’t exactly a new one. In fact, this isn’t even the first time Ninja has had a personalized skin in a video game. H1Z1, which was one of the games that shaped the battle royale genre and its influencer-driven nature, made cosmetics for Ninja in the form of a shirt as well as a blue and yellow assault rifle, each branded with his signature logo.

It’s not something that’s even an idea exclusive to Ninja, either. As a way of trying to keep up with Fortnite, PUBG has made skins for a handful of influencers, most popularly shroud and Dr Disrespect.

The thing that differentiates this skin from others that have been released in the past is simply the names involved. Epic is known for making some of the most visually appealing in-game cosmetics in gaming. It’s one of the aspects of Fortnite that puts it ahead of other battle royale games vying to cultivate a sizeable player base and an audience on streaming platforms.

Additionally, Ninja’s popularity has transformed him from being a streamer to truly being one of the few individuals who can consider himself to be an “influencer.” His portfolio of guest appearances on popular shows and sponsorships with non-endemic brands has made him a household name and resulted in him being the first gamer to be on the cover of ESPN the Magazine.

The significance of today’s news isn’t coming from its content. Of course, the cosmetics make Ninja the first Fortnite streamer to get his own personalized in-game skin. The step is one that’s big for Epic as a developer who hadn’t yet dabbled in streamer skins.

But for the gaming community as a whole, it doesn’t represent much in the way of substantive growth.

Ninja has done countless things to change the game of streaming. His highly-publicized move from Twitch to Mixer effectively started a war among streaming platforms seeking to make exclusive deals with content creators. His stream with rapper Drake set viewership records on Twitch that helped catapult Fortnite further into the forefront. 

Fortnite’s effect on the marketplace hasn’t been small, either. Epic’s ability to constantly adapt its game with fresh content has left other battle royales struggling to play catch up. The developer’s use of in-game events has made being logged into Fortnite at the right time akin to being at your couch right when some must-see TV show is set to air.

Ninja’s Fortnite skin is every bit as perfect as anyone could’ve imagined it’d be. It’s aesthetically pleasing and the details that Epic put into it are unquestionably impressive. But it pales in comparison to the other ways Ninja and Epic have shaken up the game.

So when you log in tomorrow and see that Ninja skin available, don’t hesitate to buy it if that’s the kind of thing you’re into. But don’t allow the pretty colors, katanas, and emotes to distract you. The influence of Ninja and Epic goes deeper than a superficial, limited-time cosmetic. This is merely a token representing a mutually-beneficial partnership that’s helped to mold the way we consume influencer-based video game content.