Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, the biggest streamer ever, has today announced his intention to leave the Twitch platform in favor of Microsoft’s Mixer.
Twitch is far and away the biggest video game streaming platform on the internet, claiming 72 percent of all hours watched according to StreamElements. Mixer, by comparison, owns 3 percent, which is approximately 112 million viewership hours this most recent quarter.
Mixer is owned by Microsoft following an acquisition in 2016, back when Mixer was called Beam. Interestingly enough, Beam won the Disrupt NY Battlefield competition in 2016.
Twitch offered this statement to the Verge:
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.
Surprisingly quickly, Twitch took away Ninja’s ‘Partnered’ check mark, the Twitch equivalent of a verified blue tick.
Ninja announced the news via video:
The announcement is very light on reasons why Ninja might have moved from his longtime home at Twitch over to Microsoft. It’s possible (and likely?) that Mixer offered the streaming star an enormous amount of money to make the move, which could signal the beginning of a new wave of payouts for mega streaming stars — not unlike the current NBA free agency bonanza, which has seen the migration of superstars to marquee franchises in order to form basketball equivalents of supergroups.
It’s also worth wondering who reigns supreme in this equation: players or platforms? Luckily, we’ll find out quickly as the video game streaming space sees its biggest talent shakeup since the industry’s inception.