Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, gaming’s biggest star, has switched allegiances. Starting Friday, he’ll move his livestreaming activities from his home at Twitch to Microsoft’s competing Mixer, detailing his online exploits at http://www.mixer.com/Ninja.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Ninja was Twitch’s biggest star, so his defection no doubt carries a huge amount of incentives. Earlier this year, it was reported that Blevins racked up 226.85 million streams via Twitch in 2019, more than doubling his nearest competitor and aggregating more views than the second- and third-place finishers combined.
As of May, he was the most-followed streamer on Twitch with more than 14 million followers and an average of over 40,000 viewers per week.
Ninja also is managing the rare feat of breaking out of gaming into the mainstream. He’s been a guest on Ellen and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. He also toplined Twitch’s New Year’s Eve event and was the first gamer featured on the cover of ESPN the Magazine.
Mixer hopes that Ninja’s presence will help it eat into the llivestreaming niche dominated by Twitch.
“I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunities Twitch has provided me,” Blevins told The Associated Press. “But as I looked at the next step in my career, I wanted to be somewhere that empowered me to push the boundaries of gaming and achieve bigger goals within the industry. Mixer provides me with more ways to connect with my community.”
Blevins became a gaming legend through is livestreams of his exploits on Fortnite, the hugely popular shooting game. He said he wouldn’t try to lure any of his colleagues to make a similar leap.
“I want my friends to make their own decisions for what platforms they choose to play on,” Blevins said. “With that being said, I will welcome anyone with open arms who wants to join me.”
In addition to gaming and TV appearances, Blevins has three books coming out via Random House imprints and will have his own line of collectible figurines and plush dolls debuting this fall via Wicked Cool Toys.
Twitch was conciliatory in its statement. “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 endeavor”