Tyler Blevins, better known as “Ninja” to Amazon Twitch audiences, has defected to Microsoft Mixer; something that carries a lot more weight than one might think. Ninja has a huge following and a lot of influence in the streaming community, and him joining Mixer will greatly bolster Microsoft’s relatively fresh and fledgling streaming service.
Considering Microsoft’s past forays into streaming, like Groove Music and Kinect, one could be forgiven for questioning whether or not Microsoft is really serious about streaming now. However, Ninja’s addition to Mixer is a testament to the fact that they are taking things seriously now. They clearly want to give Mixer a shot at making it big and competing at the highest level.
The reason this is such a big deal is because Amazon and Google are the top contenders in game streaming. These two Microsoft rivals completely stomp Mixer with Youtube and Twitch. The latter is the absolute leader in live-streamed content. According to a report from Streamlabs, Twitch had over 3 billion viewing hours in Q2 of 2018, and Youtube had 700 million. Mixer is far behind both of them at only 100 million.
And yet, Mixer has been experiencing significant growth. Since beginning, viewing hours on mixer have grown about 357% year over year, achieving 37 million viewing hours in 2018 but around 120 in 2019. While Microsoft also has to compete with the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, it has a special opportunity in being able to build its Mixer software right into Xbox or Windows 10.
Some may wonder if the defection of a video game streamer is really such a big deal, but Ninja’s popularity shouldn’t be underestimated; this man hit the top 100 in Time Magazine’s most influential people. He’s practically a celebrity, and news of his defection made major headlines almost as soon as it happened. But why did he switch anyway?
It’s pretty obvious that game streaming is nearing its peak of popularity, which means it is probably going to dip back down sometime soon. Fortnite created a massive boom that escalated streaming popularity, but the numbers show that Twitch is finally experiencing its first decline in viewership ever. Ninja was most well-known for streaming Fortnite, so if he’s getting the feeling that the hype wave is about to crash for good, he may be jumping ship to hedge his bets.
How exactly would this benefit Microsoft? Well, there’s no denying that streaming is a great way to garner more interest in new gamers. Since demos are practically nonexistent these days, wary gamers are often looking for gameplay videos of new releases to determine whether or not they really want a new game. Streaming also helps keep the popularity of already released games up, since it provides the fan base with something to remain invested in. That being the case, having a popular streamer like Ninja switching to Microsoft, its streaming service, and its games is a huge win that could help push Mixer further ahead in the streaming competition it has with Youtube and Amazon.