Sun. Oct 2nd, 2022

Tyler "Ninja" Blevins sends his love to Microsoft's Mixer.
enlarge Tyler “Ninja” Blevins sends his love to Microsoft’s Mixer.

Mixer / Ninja

For the past three years, Microsoft has been relatively quiet about growing Mixer, the game streaming site it bought in 2016. That all changed on Thursday when the site announced a move that could finally turn the tide in its direction: the site’s first major site. talent acquisition.

Effective immediately, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins – arguably the most “household” name in the game streaming universe – will be gameplay from popular shooters such as Fortnite exclusively on Mixer. That means Blevins has left the West’s largest game streaming service, Amazon’s Twitch.tv, after more than eight years on that site.

While on Twitch, Blevins achieved some of the site’s largest concurrent viewership. That includes an explosion of activity after he hosted a surprise streaming session in March 2018 with musicians like hip-hop phenomenon Drake. His Twitch run ends with a “follower” count of over 14 million, along with a sustained run in the site’s top 20 in terms of concurrent viewers and viewer hours accrued. Ninja’s past reign as Twitch’s number one streamer has faded in recent months, however, as he continues to negotiate endorsement deals and promote a string of upcoming books.

In an announcement video posted Thursday, Blevins hosted a fake press conference in which every journalist present was Blevins in a suit. This video, and a subsequent webcam explanation, repeated a call to Blevins to “get back in touch with my roots” as an explanation for the switch from Amazon’s platform to Microsoft’s. Blevins’ announcements didn’t explain whether a financial deal had been brokered, and he didn’t offer existing Twitch users a recourse for paid subscription-based benefits on that site being moved to its new streaming home.

Neither Mixer nor Microsoft have made an official announcement about the deal. Instead, Mixer’s official Twitter channel was littered with GIF replies to followers about the announcement. Meanwhile, Mixer.com trumpeted the news loudly on its homepage by offering all users a free one-month subscription to Ninja’s channel (worth $5.99). †Update: Shortly after this article went live, Microsoft declined to answer our questions about deals made with Blevins or plans to add Mixer-based benefits to its other subscription services.)

Under the hood, Microsoft’s Mixer has developed a set of tools to differentiate itself from Twitch. Mixer’s most obvious differentiator is its focus on ‘experience points’. This system rewards viewers for participating rather than charging money, but like Twitch, Mixer also allows viewers to donate real money to their favorite streamers in a variety of ways. Mixer also comes preinstalled as a frictionless game streaming option in Xbox One consoles.

Still, Mixer’s ratings continue to pale in comparison to Twitch’s. An embedded fanbase can help with that, but there’s also the issue of Amazon Prime’s exclusive Twitch benefits, which could entice any $120-a-year Amazon user to stick with Twitch. Microsoft has not yet added similar Mixer benefits to its Xbox Live Gold or Xbox Game Pass subscription services. Still, today’s news is likely to lead thousands of new eyes to Mixer, which may be the tipping point other streamers need to consider ditching the busy world of Twitch in favor of Mixer as a viable monetization option.

Anecdotally, Mixer may benefit most from Microsoft’s loud focus on a “gamer code of conduct” in its gaming subsidiaries, while Amazon’s Twitch is under scrutiny for controversial streamers. This issue got special attention for Twitch at its June E3 conference, when infamous streamer Guy “DrDisrespect” Beahm was banned from Twitch for streaming himself in a public restroom — and his ban was overturned weeks later. (Oddly enough, after today’s Ninja announcement, Mixer loudly organized a Call of Duty: Modern Warfare front page event, in which Beahm featured prominently as a contestant.)

List image by Mixer/Ninja

By akfire1

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