We’ve been waiting for Ninja’s return since Mixer died. Ninja joined the Twitch rival back in August 2019 after signing a $20-30 million contract.
While Ninja had the biggest viewing and following on Twitch, Mixer couldn’t reap the benefits as his viewership and following continued to dwindle every stream. Mixer only saw about a 10.6 percent increase Ninja’s move to Mixer brought more streamers to Microsoft’s platform — but not more viewers in watch hours compared to the 188 percent increase in streaming hours for the 3 months prior to Ninja joining the platform.
On July 22, Microsoft announced that it would shut down the streaming site indefinitely. Ninja acquired over $30 million from Microsoft since his contract wouldn’t be fulfilled on Mixer. In order to cash out, however, he had to turn down an exclusive deal with Facebook Gaming.
Since Mixer shut down, Ninja could stream on whatever site he pleased. On July 8, he streamed on Youtube for the first time and received a total viewage of 165,000 viewers with an average audience of about 118,384 viewers. From the look of things, Ninja had a more-than-perfect first stream on Youtube. He then streamed for a second time on August 5 on his original platform Twitch. While he saw good viewership on Twitch, he only averaged about 70,319 viewers.
So that leads to my question: does Ninja need Twitch or does Twitch need Ninja? You could ask the same about Youtube as well. In my opinion, Ninja, while still relevant to the gaming industry as a whole, has lost his touch with gaming. He claims he has often felt bored on stream or even stressed when he was trying to make content to post to his Youtube channel. He has turned from a family-friendly streamer to the toxic crybaby of his group.
Ninja needs a platform to stream on, but do those platforms want or even need him? Since Ninja left Twitch, streamers like TimTheTatman, DrDisrespect, NickMercs and Tfue gained more viewership and a jump in subscribers. While I don’t think Ninja leaving directly affected a lot of that, it definitely could have played a role in the increase in subscribers.
For Youtube, CourageJD and Valkyrae have headed Youtube Gaming since their signings in late 2019 and early 2020. Courage has amassed a hefty viewership and still remains relevant to the scene.
To me, Youtube doesn’t sign Ninja because he doesn’t accurately represent its brand. Twitch might offer him another contract but the two have to repair their friendship a bit. Twitch used his account to showcase other streamers, one of whom showed some NSFW material which didn’t align with Ninja’s family-friendly audience.
If Ninja moves back to Twitch, do other streamers lose viewers? If so, what does that mean for the future of the platform? Ninja needs a platform to stream on. No ifs, ands or buts about it. It is how he gets paid, other than tournament winnings and brand deals. But will one of those platforms offer him exclusivity or will Ninja be on his own?
BANNER: Tyreek Hill//YouTube