In a tweet and a video posted last Thursday, live streaming megastar Ninja announced that he’d be moving from Twitch, the service that has served as a hub for his channel for several years, to stream his content exclusively on Microsoft’s Mixer. At Lollapalooza, Ninja made his Mixer streaming debut, which managed to rake in an impressive 95,000 viewers at the stream’s peak.
Mixer is Microsoft’s live streaming service aimed at providing video game live streamers a platform for their content. Since being launched in 2016, the service, initially called “Beam,” has struggled to compete with YouTube Gaming, and, frontrunner, the Amazon-owned Twitch. Ninja’s move to Mixer, which has already begun to increase the platform’s viewership, is one that apparently cost Microsoft a lot of money, at least according to undisclosed sources and popular YouTuber PewDiePie.
It isn’t all that difficult to understand why Microsoft would come to the conclusion that this strategy would be a valuable investment. Apart from being one of Fortnite‘s most influential players and one of the Twitch’s most-followed content creators, Ninja has managed to build himself into a major brand in such a grandeur that is achieved by very few live streamers.
Across his social media platforms, Ninja has amassed millions of followers. He’s scored sponsorships and struck deals with EA, UberEats, and Red Bull; he hosted a live stream session that featured global superstars Drake and Travis Scott, and he was the first-ever gamer to appear on the cover of ESPN. It’s safe to say that Microsoft would be hard-pressed at finding a live-streamer who’d tick as many boxes.
Because of Ninja’s mega Twitch status, some may have expected his move to Mixer to have an impact on Twitch, especially in the platform’s Fortnite viewership. In the long-term, stats may reveal the effect of Ninja’s absence on the platform, but so far not much has changed. Polygon reports that on the day of Ninja’s Mixer debut, although his debut Mixer live stream garnered more streams than his Twitch average before he left the platform, Twitch’s Fortnite viewership remained stable.
In response to the end of Ninja’s Twitch chapter, Twitch commented, “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.” Now, when Ninja’s Twitch URL is loaded, a myriad of other Fortnite streamers are recommended under a banner that reads, “The Ninja you’re looking for is in another castle.”
Several streamers and industry figures have commented on Ninja’s move, alluding to the notion that it may cause a shift in the competitive dynamic between Twitch and Mixer (and Youtube Gaming, which is somewhere nestled in the middle). The future will reveal whether this notion holds, and, if so, how dramatically the dynamic will be impacted.