Ninja’s YouTube Stream Was A Big Success, And It Raises A Big Question

Tyler “Ninja” Blevins got back to streaming yesterday, and proved a point along the way: the blue-haired gamer still knows how to pull a crowd. He made his return to streaming after the collapse of Mixer in interesting form, not by announcing another exclusivity deal but simply by throwing up a Fortnite stream, pulling in over 160,000 concurrent viewers. If he’s trying to make a deal, this is not a terrible way of doing it.

A day later, the video of his return stream—also featuring popular streamers TimtheTatman, Dr. Lupo and Courage—has nearly 3 million views.

Streaming and esports insider Rod Breslau reports that Ninja is currently looking to make a new deal with a streaming platform, but that yesterday’s stream was just that: a stream, no contract involved:

Youtube Gaming’s Ryan Wyatt noted that Ninja has racked up 2.2 billion views on his Youtube channel:

Ninja started his career—or at least the international celebrity portion of his career—on Twitch, where he became arguably the most well-known Fortnite player while Epic’s battle royale enjoyed the apex of its success. After that, he signed a big deal with Microsoft
to instantly become the biggest streamer on Mixer, the company’s nascent, troubled, streaming service.

When Mixer folded, Ninja became a free agent once again, though he and other streamers that signed deals with Microsoft reportedly received a full payout of their contracts. The future, now, remains less clear, particularly as Mixer’s collapse changed the landscape of streaming in general.

So there’s the question: the dominant players in this game are Twitch, Youtube and Facebook, and I assume they would all like a piece of one of the biggest streamers. Will Ninja go with one of them? Breslau notes also that in the COVID-19 world, Youtube and Twitch are less convinced that they need to spend big money on celebrity streamers. If a company is likely to give Ninja a big pay day, Facebook gaming might be a better bet. As Mixer proved, however, big names on their own can’t make a service.

If it was me, I have to admit I’d take the Mixer payout and never play games on a stream again. I have a hunch that this mindset is related to the fact that I am not a celebrity streamer. We certainly haven’t seen the last of Ninja.

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