Tyler Blevins, aka Ninja, is one of the most popular game streamers in the world. Of that, there’s no doubt. When he elected to move from Twitch, where he’d built up an audience of 14 million followers and more, to Microsoft’s Mixer platform, though? That definitely raised some questions.
Money. It’s money. It’s always money.
Whatever bank Blevin was making on Twitch, it couldn’t compare to the shiny carrot of cash that Microsoft was dangling – cash that amounted to, we’re told, between 20 and 30 million dollars (US). That’s according to Justin Warden, the CEO of Ader, an agency that’s worked with the streamer.
The figure comes from CNN, and was subsequently picked up by GameDaily.biz. Ninja’s own agency, Loaded, did not confirm the figure the streamer received to go across to Mixer; but Warden also told CNN that smaller streamers could earn quite the payday for switching from Twitch, with deals ranging from $10m to $1m.
GameDaily.biz added that Shroud – another high-profile Twitch streamer, who had a following of around seven million, but moved to Mixer – is now attracting only 15% of the audience he previously had.
Despite its continuing popularity, Twitch is under pressure from a number of competitors – not only Mixer, but also YouTube Gaming, which is now the official partner of Activision Blizzard gaming events, and Facebook Gaming. Jeremy Wang, aka Disguised Toast, told CNN that while he’d gone to Twitch thinking it was the place to be, when Facebook Gaming offered him “a lot of money”, he jumped ship.
Devin Nash, CMO at the N3RDFUSION agency that looks after a number of streamers and influencers, told CNN: “Now, the streaming wars have begun. But it took someone to fire the first shot. That was Ninja.”
Or maybe it was Mixer? After all, if Ninja’s on the receiving end of all that cash, is he the one holding the gun? Or is he the one in its sights? Uh, this is a terrible metaphor. Suffice to say that streamers are getting rich on platforms where their audiences are actually lower than they were elsewhere. And that, surely, is not something that can be sustainable.