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Ninja's Move To Mixer Could Signal Change In How Streamers Make Money

Ninja's Move To Mixer Could Signal Change In How Streamers Make Money

In 2019, Tyler "Ninja" Blevins made a shocking announcement: he was leaving Amazon's (NASDAQ: AMZN) Twitch streaming platform to make live content exclusively for Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) Mixer.

The blue-haired gamer became an international celebrity through his "Fortnite" gameplay, making more than $500,000 a month and had over 160,000 subscribers on Twitch.

At first glance, his sudden move to Mixer made no sense. The platform was microscopic compared to Twitch and his follower count plummeted from 14 million to 3 million. 

Concurrent viewers translate into money due to ad revenue and potential subscriptions, and Ninja's numbers fell from a regular 100,000-plus viewer count to the low thousands. For a streamer, those results should have been catastrophic. To Ninja, the change was a chance at freedom and stability.

Ninja 'Wouldn't Have Been Able To Grow His Brand' 

For most streamers, subscribers and view counts are vital to success. Success in streaming comes from consistency, which leads to its own set of problems. For full-time streamers, the job tends to overwhelm their lives. A day missed is a day without pay, and before Ninja signed Mixer's deal, he struggled with the same issue. 

For Ninja, the issues weren't about the money. Jessica Blevins, Ninja's manager and wife, told Business Insider that they felt like Twitch didn't listen to them. 

"Everything we were asking, it never came back reflecting our wishes — and that's completely outside of finances," she said.

"And for us, two people who were streaming on Twitch, it was really upsetting for us to go months and months and keep reiterating that 'we love you guys, we've been here for a long time, but the things that are in the contract right now just don't make sense.'"

Blevins' vision of her husband's success didn't just include gaming, she said — it was larger than that. 

"With the wording of how that contract was going, he wouldn't have been able to grow his brand much outside of gaming," she said. "There were already conflicts with his current sponsors and resigning with that platform."

'The Streaming Wars' 

Since his move to Mixer, Ninja has signed partnerships with major companies such as Adidas, walked for the New York Red Bulls at New York Fashion Week and has continued selling his Team Ninja gear at retail stores.

Ninja's multiyear deal with Mixer landed him $20 to $30 million, according to CNN.

Other streamers are signing similar deals with other platforms. 

The culture of streaming has always relied on subscriber and viewer counts.

Yet Ninja's move to Mixer, and the ignition of what some are calling "The Streaming Wars," could change the way streamers earn their paychecks.

Eventually, subscribers and ad revenue could become pure supplementary income. Stable income could lead to a better variety of content and a larger pool of talent. The ecosystem is evolving.

"Fortnite" screenshot courtesy of Epic Games. 


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