Tyler Blevins (aka Ninja) announced he was leaving Amazon’s Twitch for Microsoft’s Mixer last August. But he never clarified what exactly he was getting in return or, in other words, how much the exclusive deal he had just signed was going to earn him. The move must have been worth it nonetheless, considering that Ninja, one of the biggest stars on Twitch, was risking leaving behind a massive fan-base that had taken time to build.
CNN recently revealed the lucrative perk that Microsoft may have offered Ninja to stream his gaming sessions on Twitch exclusively.
Mixer is paying Ninja between $20 and $30 million for the multi-year deal, according to Justin Warden, CEO of Ader, a marketing and talent management agency that works with Ninja, who said he had direct knowledge of the deal.
The onset of game streaming wars
According to a StreamElements report, Twitch is still the world’s leading live game-streaming service, accounting for 73% of all live hours watched in 2019. Mixer lags far behind, commanding just 3%. The other major platforms competing for a market share in the relatively young industry are Facebook’s Gaming and Google’s YouTube gaming.
The departure of Ninja from Twitch paved the way for something of a mass exodus, with other popular gaming stars leaving the platform for exclusive deals with rivals like Facebook. There’s been a multi-faceted war for stars and publicity in the industry among the tech companies since.
The big bucks seem to be the most important differentiator here, despite each of these competitors possessing other unique competitive advantages. For example, Microsoft owns Xbox, one of the most popular gaming consoles, but it still had to offer Ninja a lucrative deal as part of its strategy to survive the stiff competition.
Facebook has more than 2 billion active monthly users, but it hasn’t brought a significant fraction of these users to its game-streaming service. YouTube may be the biggest online video platform in the world, arguably, but it commands a 21% market share by hours watched.
So, all these streaming services have resorted to “buying” star gamers who bring influence and popularity to their platforms. It’s a proven way to grow a following.
However, Microsoft has also been introducing impressive Mixer features, including creating a non-toxic gaming environment, to endear its platform to fans and gamers.