One of the most prominent streamers on Twitch has jumped ship. Ninja, known for his blue hair, Fortnite antics and that time he said the n-word on air, has signed a deal to move his stream from Twitch to Mixer, Microsoft’s streaming platform. The switch kicks off tomorrow, August 2, when Ninja streams from Lollapalooza for the duration of the weekend.
Ninja’s brief video announcing the move can be seen on YouTube, if one is so inclined. In it, Ninja takes irrelevant questions from members of a fake press corps., which is actually just him in various costumes: A bald cap, a fake beard, and unfortunately, an outlandish drag that is very clearly making the joke that “a man dressed as a woman is ridiculous.” Truly, Twitch has lost a great and vital talent!
There’s no way this happened without money changing hands, and while neither Ninja nor Microsoft have made explicit the details of their deal, sources speaking to Kotaku said that “Mixer has offered money for streamers to switch over, with some deals exceeding $1 million.” Given that Ninja charged $1 million just to play Apex Legends for a single day, we figure the fee to move his entire operation to a different platform would be significantly higher.
Once the undisputed king of Twitch, Ninja’s subscriber count has steadily fallen since his meteoric rise to the top in spring of 2018. Current estimations place Ninja at just under 15,000 subscribers by the end of July, as compared to roughly 250,000 subscribers in March of 2018. This puts him in 11th place in terms of subs, behind the likes of Overwatch player xQc, who was once kicked out of the Overwatch League for being a racist and bigot, and Dr. Disrespect, who was recently suspended from Twitch for bringing a live camera into a public restroom, which is a misdemeanor under California law. Lotta real cool folk on this website, y’all!
Of course, subscribers aren’t everything. Ninja gets around $2.50 per month for each subscriber, but he’s also paid a cut of the ad revenue generated by his channel. Business is booming in that regard, if not quite as bombastically as it once was. Ninja’s average concurrent viewers count, while not in the hundreds of thousands it was a year ago, still hovers in the mid 30,000 range, which translates to a meaningful amount of advertising revenue from Twitch. Additionally, his streams average close to 400,000 unique views, and even if the vast majority of those people don’t hang around, they’re still shown ads.
Microsoft’s Mixer platform was once known as Beam, back in 2015 when it was an independent streaming service. At a time when Twitch streams might have up to a full minute of lag between when a streamer did something and when the viewer actually saw it, Beam used proprietary technology to keep that latency down to just a couple of seconds. This prompted Microsoft to buy the platform in 2016, after which it was renamed to Mixer and integrated into Windows 10 and Xbox One. Now, in 2019, Twitch has managed to match Mixer’s low-latency capabilities, and the service has struggled to find relevancy.