Ninja shocks gaming world, leaves Twitch for Microsoft's Mixer
Fortnite superstar Tyler “Ninja” Blevins has left Twitch and is taking his video game live streams to Microsoft’s Mixer platform, a stunning switch that could have wide-ranging consequences for the rapidly growing industry.
Blevins announced his move Thursday, ending a hugely profitable partnership with Twitch, a live streaming giant owned by Amazon.
“I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunities Twitch has provided me,” Blevins told The Associated Press. “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.”
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Blevins routinely broadcasts with other pro gamers, including friends Ben “DrLupo” Lupo, Jack “CouRage” Dunlop and Tim “TimtheTatman” Betar. He’s been criticized for not inviting more female players into his streams, and that intensified when he told Polygon last year that his concern was “if there’s a hint of flirting, that is going to be taken and going to be put on every single video and be clickbait forever.” Blevins married in 2017.
Blevins said that at Mixer, “I will do my part to ensure I am helping to create a fun and welcoming community,” and that includes playing with female gamers.
“I will play with any gamer who loves gaming as much as I do,” he said.
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Blevins has famously had his wife, Jessica, manage his business during his gaming career, but he’s expanded the operation by adding Loaded management group and law firm Loeb & Loeb. That team is banking that Blevins’ immense fan base will follow him to a new platform.
Mixer streams online and also via Microsoft’s Xbox consoles, and Fortnite is popular on the Xbox, which should help. Loaded CEO Brandon Freytag believes Blevins’ clout will bring fans to Mixer, calling him “the Michael Jordan of gaming.”
“We are working toward Tyler being synonymous in every household, so if you know gaming, you know Tyler,” Freytag said.
The move to Mixer is one of a few changes for Blevins this year. He’s also attempting to branch beyond the digital space, starting by ing three books that will be published later this year, including a how-to on streaming video games and a graphic novel.
“It is the ability to achieve bigger goals in gaming and further expand my own personal brand within the industry,” Blevins said.