Star Fortnite player and streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins is taking himself– and possibly his 14 million followers — to a new platform. He’s switching his content from popular video game streaming website Twitch, owned by Amazon, to a similar Microsoft-owned platform called Mixer.
Blevins has used his Fortnite skills to rack up 14 million followers — and millions of dollars — simply live-streaming his gameplay. He’s made history in e-sports, competing in tournaments and showcasing his skills alongside famous rappers Drake and Travis Scott, and football player JuJu Smith-Schuster in a 2018 Fortnite event.
He announced his move on Twitter on Thursday, describing it as “the next chapter” in his career. Blevins told the Associated Press (AP), “I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunities Twitch has provided me… but as I looked at the next step in my career, I wanted to be somewhere that empowered me to push the boundaries of gaming and achieve bigger goals within the industry. Mixer provides me with more ways to connect with my community.”
With Blevins’ huge sphere of influence, his switch has the potential to seriously shake up the growing video-game-streaming industry. He’s planning to launch his first Mixer stream on Friday from popular Chicago music festival Lollapalooza — and he’s invited the 16-year-old Fortnite World Cup Champion to join him. Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf won $3 million on Sunday for his gaming skills.
While Blevins says he isn’t actively recruiting other gamers to leave Twitch with him, he told the AP, “I will welcome anyone with open arms who wants to join me.” Right now, Twitch has a monopoly on the streaming market, but with Blevins, Giersdorf and likely more making the switch, Mixer could become a serious competitor.
But there’s still a long way to go — Mixer’s 10 million monthly users pale in comparison to Twitch’s 100 million. Twitch had a five-year head start, having launched in 2011, but Mixer’s been praised recently for its user-friendly interface and low tolerance for toxic behavior — helpful given how many kids are joining the streaming community.
Blevins told the AP he expects to interact much more with fans through Mixer, which has an array of chat features and a tool that allows streamers to share their controller with fans. The AP reported that within 40 minutes of Blevins’ announcement, Mixer was the top trending topic on Twitter in the US, and Blevins’ (Ninja’s) new Mixer page had already racked up over 28,000 subscribers.
This isn’t Blevins’ only new career move though — he’s working on a graphic novel and a how-to-stream advice book, both of which will be published this year. He told the AP he’s looking to “expand [his] own personal brand with the industry.”
He’s still the most followed gamer on Twitch, but his management team “Loaded” and law firm Loeb & Loeb are counting on his fan base following him to Mixer. Loaded CEO Brandon Freytag told the AP they’re working on making Blevins a household name, calling him “the Michael Jordan of gaming.” With that kind of reputation, Mixer might have just scored their new star player.