Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, who rose to stardom while streaming Fortnite Battle Royale on Twitch, announced Thursday he’s leaving the Amazon-owned platform to join Microsoft’s Mixer.
Ninja is one of the leading Fortnite streamers alongside the likes of Turner “Tfue” Tenney and Nick “Nickmercs” Kolcheff.
His streams had become more inconsistent in recent months, however, and during those sessions he frequently discussed his desire to take time off and what that would do to his subscriber count.
Twitch is built on a three-tiered subcriber system. For either $4.99, $9.99 or $24.99 per month, fans can subscribe to support their favorite streamer with perks that include emotes (more for higher tiers) and the ability to talk in chat when it’s in sub-only mode.
At his peak, Ninja attracted nearly 250,000 subs on Twitch and, with streamers receiving $3.50 for every tier-one sub, he pulled in an estimated $875,000 per month without accounting for higher sub levels.
Cecilia D’Anastasio of Kotaku reported Mixer had offered some streamers over $1 million to make the switch from Twitch to the Microsoft platform.
The company likely had to make a far more substantial offer to the longtime face of Fortnite. His concerns about being unable to take vacations because of lost subs suggests he was seeking a lucrative long-term offer with plenty of guaranteed money, no longer making sub count a daily concern.
People who visit his new Mixer page are prompted with a limited-time offer to receive a free sub to his new channel.
Ninja’s first stream on Mixer is scheduled to begin Friday at 1 p.m. ET. He’ll play live from the Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago.
At night, he’ll take part in the Friday Fortnite tournament alongside teammate Bugha, who captured the Fortnite World Cup solo championship Sunday for the $3 million top prize.
Mixer making moves
The smallest of the major video game streaming platforms just recruited the biggest personality. In a landmark move, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins has inked an agreement to leave his Twitch channel behind in order to stream exclusively on Microsoft-owned Mixer.
The reason this comes as such a shock is because Ninja is easily the most popular streamer on Twitch. He has amassed nearly 15 million followers (although that number is dropping in response to today’s news). That’s more than double the count of Shroud, Twitch’s second most popular streamer, who has 6.7 million followers. Ninja was king on Twitch and it wasn’t really close.
It goes without saying, but Mixer must’ve presented Ninja with some sort of Godfather offer to get him to leave his Twitch channel behind. The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but it has to be awfully lucrative for Ninja to take up a significantly smaller platform. Of note, the announcement was wisely timed to coincide with the debut of Fortnite Season X meaning viewers have extra incentive to tune into a stream today.
According to data published by Streamlabs, Twitch was watched nearly 23 times as much as Mixer in the second quarter of 2019 (2.7 trillion hours compared to 119.1 million hours). Mixer is growing, though; its hours-watched metric is up 357 percent year-over-year and 32 percent quarter-over-quarter.
In a statement to Polygon, Twitch said “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.” However, as PC Gamer noted, it didn’t take Twitch very long at all to remove Ninja’s verified partner checkmark. Despite the well-meaning public statement, it’s easy to see why Twitch might feel scorned. Its biggest draw just got poached by a competitor. It won’t fully tip the scales — Twitch should remain the most popular streaming service for the foreseeable future — but it’s definitely a blow. The streaming wars are heating up.