Wrong decision?

Was Ninja’s switch away from Twitch a mistake?

Fortnite
Fortnite streamer Ninja switch from Twitch to Mixer

Image credit: Ninja

Tyler “Ninja” Blevins is arguably the most famous streamer of them all. Millions of fans spend countless hours watching him play. But his shocking switch from Twitch to Mixer back in August might have been a big mistake. Let’s see why and also look back at his more successful steps in the past.

Start a conversation about streamers and his name will inevitably come up. Tyler “Ninja” Blevins is probably the most recognizable gamer/streamer in the world. Even if you are not into gaming at all, chances are you have heard his name.

Ninja grew his enormous viewership on Twitch by playing Fortnite but in his career he has played other shooters as well, including Halo 3, PUBG and H1Z1. He started playing Halo 3 professionally in 2009 and has been part of various orgs, including Cloud9, Renegades, Team Liquid, and Luminosity Gaming.

His career as a streamer began in 2011. After he started streaming Fortnite regularly, his followers on Twitch grew tremendously from 500,000 to 2 million in just six months. By mid-2019 he had around 14 million followers there.

Then on August 1 this year he went on to shock the world by announcing he was moving away from Twitch after signing an exclusive deal with Microsoft to stream only on their platform, Mixer. This way he left behind his millions of followers, which also included many paying subscribers.

Official details on how much money Tyler got as part of the exclusivity deal or how long the tie-up will last were never disclosed. Given that we know for sure that Ninja made around $10 million in 2018, Microsoft must have offered much more than that to Blevins to make him jump ship.

Fortnite streamer Ninja press conference

Image credit: YouTube/Ninja

Ever since Ninja switched to Mixer, many new streamers have joined the platform. The number of channels has doubled and the hours of content streamed more than tripled in the first quarter after Blevins came on board, according to data from gaming analytics firms Streamlabs and Newzoo. The increased content has not led to users spending more time watching it, though and even worse, total hours watched have declined since Ninja started streaming on the platform.

Right now, Ninja has close to 2.7 million followers on Mixer which is just a fraction of his past following on Twitch. He might be the most popular streamer on Microsoft’s platform, but Mixer’s viewership numbers are still significantly lower than those of Twitch and other competitors like YouTube Gaming and Facebook. Also, looking at the numbers, it is highly unlikely that Ninja would have the same viewership he enjoyed in his Twitch heyday.

So, was the switch away from Twitch a mistake? Not necessarily. Actually, the main driver behind his move, as his wife and manager Jessica Blevins said in an interview with Business Insider, was for Ninja to expand his brand beyond streaming. And he is doing this quite well: he published a book with the self-explanatory title Ninja: Get Good: My Ultimate Guide to Gaming and has signed a multi-year apparel deal with Adidas. And we can be sure that the deal he got from Microsoft must be good enough.

What do you think? Do you still watch Ninja on Mixer as you did on Twitch? Let us know and stay tuned for more stories about gaming’s top streamers.

Stoyan Ovcharov

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