- On August 1, professional gamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins announced an exclusive streaming deal with Microsoft’s Mixer, leaving 14 million followers behind on Amazon’s Twitch.
- Ninja was the most popular streamer on Twitch, with more than twice as many followers as the second-most-popular channel.
- Ninja now boasts 2.3 million subscribers on Mixer and is by far the most popular user on the platform, but Mixer still lags behind Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook in terms of viewership.
- While the amount of content streamed on Mixer has nearly tripled in the last three months, the amount of hours watched was lower in September than it was in July, before Ninja arrived.
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Tyler “Ninja” Blevins is the most recognizable professional gamer in the world, and on August 1, he announced that he would be leaving his 14 million Twitch followers behind for an exclusive streaming deal with Microsoft’s Mixer.
The move was seen as a major gamble, since Twitch is by far the most dominant platform for video game streaming, and Mixer has struggled to find a foothold in the industry since its launch in 2016. After a well-publicized debut, Ninja has managed to earn more than 2.3 million followers on Mixer, making him the platform’s most popular content creator by far.
Since Ninja arrived, Mixer has also seen a large influx of new streamers giving the platform a chance. According to data from Newzoo, total hours of gaming content streamed on Mixer increased to 32.6 million during the last three months, a 188% increase from the three months prior.
However, the excitement among streamers hasn't translated into more viewers. Mixer saw a 10.6% decrease in total hours watched during the last three months, according to Newzoo. Data from StreamElements shows that Mixer had less hours watched in September (29.6 million), a month after Ninja arrived, than it did in July (37.7 million), the month before his exclusive deal began.
Newzoo notes that Mixer has more than doubled its viewership since last year, but the situation demonstrates just how hard it is to wrestle viewers away from Twitch. Closing the gap between Twitch and Mixer will take more than just one popular channel, even if its a superstar streamer like Ninja.
"One thing worth noting about Mixer's signing of Ninja is that regardless of his impact on hours watched, it was a smart move to promote the Mixer brand, especially with Ninja doing extensive interviews about it." StreamElements CEO Doron Nir said.
Amazon's streaming juggernaut had 777.6 million hours watched during September, meaning Twitch had more than 20 times the viewership of Mixer. YouTube Gaming's streaming content was in a distant second place in terms of viewership with 175 million viewers in September.
This likely means that Ninja will struggle to reach the same sort of viewership he saw on Twitch in the near future, but the exclusive deal with Microsoft has other benefits. Ninja's manager and wife Jessica Blevins told Business Insider that he chose to leave Twitch so he could expand his brand beyond streaming. Since joining Mixer, Ninja has released a book, announced an apparel deal with Mixer, and appeared on an episode of Fox's "The Masked Singer."
Some streamers who supported Ninja's decision on social media felt it was important for creators to be able to build an audience across different platforms, and for Twitch to have more competition. While none of the potential challengers are currently a threat to Twitch's dominance, having viable alternatives is essential for streamers to leverage their popularity and earning power.