Leading streamer and influencer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins has confirmed that he will be streaming exclusively on Microsoft-owned platform Mixer.
The blockbuster announcement ends a lengthy tenure for Ninja as a Twitch partner, to which he had accumulated much of his success and affluence as the industry’s most prominent personality.
Belvins had grown into his current celebrity status alongside the proliferation of Epic Games’ Fortnite, recording over 278 million hours watched on Amazon’s Twitch. Additionally, Belvins was the first Twitch streamer to achieve 10 million followers – making him far and wide the most popular streamer of all-time.
Launching in February 2015, Mixer has acted as a direct competitor to Twitch, although, it has comparatively failed to garner the same calibre of prosperity. Since its debut, Mixer has inked a number of deals including an exclusive streaming partnership with SMITE Pro League; the arrangement at hand with Belvins, however, is titanic in comparison to any exclusivity deal by a streaming platform, ever. No details have been released in regards to the presumed monetary component of the deal – but it’s rumoured to be a tall figure.
“I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunities Twitch has provided me,” Ninja told The Associated Press. “But as I looked at the next step in my career, I wanted to be somewhere that empowered me to push the boundaries of gaming and achieve bigger goals within the industry. Mixer provides me with more ways to connect with my community.”
Belvins has previously expressed concerns around monetisation opportunities on Twitch being heavily reliant on time spent broadcasting. It’s speculated that perhaps his arrangement with Microsoft and Mixer could cushion the economic blow dealt by hosting live events or producing other non-streaming content.
In the last several months, Ninja’s Twitch popularity has suffered a steep decline in the wake of other uprising celebrity streamers such as Turner “Tfue” Tenney and Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek. This time last year, Belvins had averaged 82,852 viewers through July, whereas last month he averaged 38,998.
Despite diminishing viewership, the move will undoubtedly be a tough pill to swallow for Twitch – ending a partnership that was instrumental in Belvin’s career. Speaking on his move to Mixer, a representative from Twitch told the AP, “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.”
In addition to the deal offering room for a resurgence in Belvin’s stream viewership, Mixer is already reaping the benefits of its newest frontman. At the time of writing, Mixer has shot up to the number one spot in the iOS App Store’s Entertainment section as well as reaching a Google Trend value of 100 – the peak popularity a term can achieve.
The exclusive agreement is in course with this weekend’s Lollapalooza in Chicago, where Belvins will debut his inaugural Mixer stream from the Red Bull Outpost.
Esports Insider says: It’s no secret Mixer has wrestled to compete with Amazon’s streaming juggernaut over the years; the rise of streaming has created an entirely new market with big money on the line. The exclusivity deal with Ninja demonstrates that Microsoft is willing to play hardball when it comes to competing against its rival. All things considered, a few more big celebrity streamers coming on board could make a real case for Mixer as a competitor.