The world’s biggest game streamer, Fortnite golden boy Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, today revealed his leaping off his heretofore-unstoppable Twitch gravy train in favor of Microsoft‘s Mixer. That’s right, pick your jaw up off the floor — Twitch‘s most well-known attraction is joining the competition.
Ninja announced the shift on Twitter earlier today in a mock press conference, saying that he’s streaming on Mixer exclusively full-time, and that he’s getting “back to his roots.” He also said the streams themselves wouldn’t change — so, you know, Fortnite all day, every day.
— Ninja (@Ninja) August 1, 2019
He later stated in a press release what apparently brought on this change: “As I look at the next step in my career, achieving bigger goals in the gaming industry with Mixer will allow me to have the perfect balance of opportunities and success. My roots as a gamer started with Halo, so working with Microsoft and coming over to Mixer felt like a natural next step.”
That’s nice — but I’m going to speculate that Microsoft offered Ninja something he couldn’t get from Twitch and I really want to know what that was. If this had happened even a few months ago, I would have said Twitch would probably do anything to keep their golden goose happy. But I’ve noticed a bit that Ninja’s viewership levels, while still impressive, haven’t exactly been as dominant as they used to be. Other streamers are catching up to him. But Mixer has a much smaller number of star streamers (and streamers in general), so Ninja will once again be a big fish in a small pond.
But hey, maybe my cynicism is showing. Mixer’s a fine platform in and of itself, and I’ve been watching it almost as much as Twitch in the last year. The site formerly known as Beam has become far more sophisticated over time, the most notable feature being a viewer-friendly donation system that allows viewers to give to streamers without directly ponying up the dough. And according to the most recent Streamlabs report, Mixer’s experiencing some pretty insane growth: 119 million hours watched as of July (a 357 percent increase over last year).
As for Twitch, I don’t think this likely to hurt much. As I said, other streamers are starting to catch up to Ninja’s numbers, and it leaves the platform open to have new blood take his place. A spokesperson told The Verge, “We’ve loved watching Ninja on Twitch over the years and are proud of all that he’s accomplished for himself and his family, and the gaming community. We wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.”
Ninja’s first stream on Mixer is tomorrow. You can find his new channel here, if you’re interested.