Ninja Moves to YouTube Gaming in Wake of Mixer Shutdown, Reportedly Not Exclusive
Tyler “Ninja” Blevins is perhaps one of the most famous streamers in the world, and when he moved to Mixer last year, the world was stunned. However, now in the wake of Mixer’s shutdown (and apparently $30 million richer) Ninja has revealed his next home to be YouTube Gaming, at least if his introductory stream is to be believed.
However, according to a report from Rod “Slasher” Breslau from anonymous sources, Ninja is still in active negotiations with several of the platforms, including both Twitch and YouTube. Slasher says that Ninja could stream on Twitch later today.
Ninja’s gambit on YouTube Gaming appears to be paying off
As of the launch of Ninja’s stream on YouTube, where he is playing Fortnite with TimtheTatMan, Courage, and DrLupo, appears to be going swimmingly. While by no means record shattering as when he played Fortnite with Drake, his viewership has already spiked past 130k, which means this is a far greater debut than his Mixer stream, which peaked at around 100k.
It’s also entirely possible that this YouTube stream, combined with his continuing talks with other streaming platforms, could be serving to put pressure on Twitch to come to the bargaining table for an exclusive deal. However, without Ninja on their platform, they’ve grown exponentially in the past year, so they may be willing to just tell Ninja to stay on YouTube and pass on his viewership altogether.
It also seemed like there was some bad blood between Ninja and Twitch staff, as his channel was used to promote other Fortnite streamers, and even unintentionally promoted a streamer displaying pornography to their audience at one point.
What Game Will Ninja Play?
While it’s true that Ninja is still playing Fortnite at present in his stream, there has been speculation from the community that he will be switching to Riot’s Valorant sometime in the near future and making a run at being a pro player. Ninja has been on record several times saying that he misses competing at a high level, and Valorant’s a young enough game that with Ninja’s FPS experience, he could come in and at least make a good run at dominating the game.
Fortnite’s viewership has been somewhat stagnant since the launch of Chapter 2 as well, with the game failing to bring in the same kind of viewership it once did on Twitch. Fortnite is, however, still going strong on YouTube Gaming, which could also have influenced Ninja’s decision to test the waters.
However, Epic’s handling of the Fortnite esports scene remains abysmal at best, and a far cry from the $100 million they committed in 2018-2019 to kickstart the game. If Ninja did want to return to competition, the youth of Riot’s Valorant means that (so long as the game takes off on an esports level) Ninja could be guaranteed years of work as a player and streamer. Valorant still has a lot of issues on its own as an esports title, most notably in its spectator client, but with Riot on the case, that’s surely not going to be an issue forever.
As always, Ninja will likely at least somewhat follow the larger trends in the industry while still pleasing his Fortnite fanbase, especially when streaming on YouTube. If he does stream on multiple platforms, it could be that he focuses on different games per platform and tries to cater to different audiences on his own schedule.