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Tyler Belvins is a professional gamer best known by his online persona Ninja. He is a 28-year-old from the suburbs of Chicago, who rocks iconic neon hair. He started his professional gaming career back in 2009 playing Halo and is now a top Fortnite streamer. With over 14 million followers on Twitch, he has become a celebrity in the gaming world.
Ninja Announces the Beginning of the End
On August 1, Ninja announced via Twitter that he is going to be streaming exclusively on Mixer in a staged press conference clip. Following the staged video, he released another clip of himself speaking more to the announcement, saying: “As I look at the next step in my career, achieving bigger goals in the gaming industry with Mixer will allow me to have the perfect balance of opportunities and success… I feel like I’m going to get back to the streaming roots.” This statement has shaken up the gaming world, setting a new precedent for players and their careers.
Microsoft released Mixer back in 2001, which has been struggling to gain popularity. The competition between Mixer and Twitch is stirring up drama, as the two powerhouses Amazon and Microsoft battle for the market share. Mixer has many of the same features that Twitch has, but the recent acquisition of Ninja gives Mixer uses a particular advantage and user experience. Additionally, Mixer has made the platform easier for Xbox users and has made co-streaming more accessible and available.
Microsoft Is Pulling out All the Stops
Microsoft is strongly investing in Ninja and all of his followers in order to gain a competitive presence, and it surely wasn’t cheap. It is believed that Mixer paid Ninja millions of dollars just to use their platform instead of using Twitch. On Twitch, players are paid based on their viewers and donations. These differences in payments may create a shift in the norm for professional streamers moving forward.
In order to ensure a seamless transition for viewers, Mixer has created a promotion for Ninja fans that gives them a two-month free trial. After only five days of streaming, Ninja already had 1 million followers on Mixer. So far, fans are having no issue following their favorite gamer to this new platform, especially because it works and looks almost identical to Twitch. As users approach the end of their two-month trial, there is a chance that some of these followers will drop off, but we will have to wait and see. With that being said, if Ninja continues to gain followers at the rate that he is, there is no doubt that Mixer will offer other gamers contracts in the near future.
An Unamused Ninja
On August 12, just as the news was starting to simmer down, reports came out that Ninja’s old Twitch profile led to an error page that suggested adult pornography sites. Once reports came out, Twitch quickly restored Ninja’s old landing URL to a deactivated account page. However, Ninja was furious with the incident and stated: “There was a porn account that was #1 being recommended on my channel, and I have no say in any of this stuff… This is the line, this is the straw” (Washington Post). Twitch CEO Emmett Shear tweeted in response saying that they have temporarily suspended Ninja’s account and they are sincerely apologetic for what happened, as promoting pornography is not something they support as an organization.
4/ On a more personal note, I apologize want to apologize directly to @ninja that this happened. It wasn’t our intent, but it should not have happened. No excuses.
— Emmett Shear (@eshear) August 11, 2019
With Ninja causing all this noise in the media right now, Microsoft is taking a huge step towards building popularity on its platform Mixer. Especially with the deactivated page scandal, it seems like fans are now switching their loyalty to Mixer. We will see if more streamers will start the transition to Mixer or if there will be a continuous battle between the two platforms going forward.