We are just two months away from the first anniversary of one of the biggest changes in gaming history, when Ninja decided to bring his talents to Microsoft and join Mixer as its exclusive streaming platform. Blogs and content beaters from around the world were preparing to create “What was the first year of the Ninja era like for Mixer?” Many posts would even go so far as to say that Mixer was dating.
But few would have predicted what happened on Monday.
In a surprise announcement, Microsoft closed the Mixer door sign to close it, partnered with Facebook Gaming to try to give the streamer base a soft landing (but also to connect its Microsoft xCloud cloud gaming service to the platform) and dropped a bomb on the entire gaming industry.
There is a lot to unpack on this ad. First, I want to be clear: this is not news to celebrate. The fewer platforms there are, the more difficult it will be for streamers to work. I especially feel for the streamers who work hard, get up and move, from emerging to medium level that made Mixer their home. They worked very hard to create a community and now they have to start almost again on a different platform, and that is very scary. The content game is not easy. Sometimes it seems easy, and the idea of playing video games all day for a stranger seems like the funniest job in the world, but if you have experience in the gaming industry, you know that’s not the case. It is hard work, it is exhausting and it is not easy. Good vibes to those streamers, I hope they keep their audience and passion as they find their new platforms. Facebook Gaming offers $ 2,500 for Mixer Partners that move to fb.gg. Know what the parameters are, read each document; in fact, ask a lawyer to read it before signing anything. If it’s the best decision for you, great! Gothalian, for example, decided to move to Facebook Gaming after also signing with Mixer last year.
See Ya’ll on Wednesday June 24 https://t.co/wNAjB9AMoT pic.twitter.com/UuOWFjeKt5
– Gothalion (@Gothalion) June 22, 2020
Two people who will NOT be doing Facebook profiles anytime soon are Ninja and Shroud. They rejected that the offers reported doubling what they were doing in Mixer (in the $ 60 million stadium for Ninja, $ 20 thousand for Shroud). My first reaction to hearing that was that money no longer motivates them – they have more than enough to last for several generations. No, it is something different. What can be? Legacy? State? Impact?
Let’s focus on Ninja for a second – there’s no denying that when he made the jump to Mixer, he was transformative. It really was the first major signing of a top streaming talent who was paid to that degree by a platform. Not only that, the “Streamer Wars” did indeed begin. Suddenly, streamers were valuable products. If you were a tie, hitting big numbers, you were in line for lucrative deals worth millions a year. Shroud follows Ninja to Mixer. CouRage goes to YouTube. Dr. Lupo stays with Twitch. So do Timthetatman and Dr. Disrespect. Ewok addresses Mixer. DisguisedToast and Zer0 sign with Facebook Gaming. You got the idea. But it wasn’t just the money, it was piece of mind: they no longer had to worry about subscriber count and audience, as taking a free weekend could cost you $ 200,000 in subs. They just flowed. They had a schedule. Quality of life. It was the ordinary dream.
During the ten and a half months that Ninja aired on the platform, he heard the same repeated and loud complaints. He is washed. His career is on the decline. Mixer is a dead platform, Ninja is buried in darkness. When I hear this, the two words that come to mind are “just wait.” Criticism largely sounded more like hopeful wishes from jealous critics than fair analysis. I think, and this is just a guess, it bothered him. I think he feels he has something to prove. To quote Jay Z, “Let me reintroduce myself.” Ninja is still mainstream. He’s about to be a celebrity on the A list. In truth, he doesn’t need to play anymore. But he LOVES games. He loves video games. And now, he wants to get his streamer crown back.
If Mixer’s announcement changed the industry in the way streamers negotiated their future, Ninja’s next fate could change the industry in the way the streaming landscape looks. Here I can see three main options: one, he makes his own platform. You have the money, maybe you want to have it all, and this would help other streamers as well, essentially replacing one platform with another. Will it rival Twitch? Not yet, but who better to create a business like this than him? The other two options are more lucrative right away: You can go back to Twitch, set records with your return sequence, and quickly rebuild the empire you once had (see how many people were on their Twitch chat the day Mixer closed). He is the WWE main event superstar in the Age of Attitude, who grabbed the bag at WCW for a year and then triumphantly returned to WWE once WCW retired, and no one blinked.
The other option, which I personally find very interesting, is to join YouTube. All this time, Ninja’s VODs were still there, on his massive YouTube channel that has 23.7 million subscribers. Joining YouTube would consolidate your content (live and VOD) on a single platform, tap into its already incredible subscriber base, and make YouTube a legitimate competitor to the throne. The mixer just didn’t have enough juice after the first wave of signatures (albeit impressive ones). YouTube already has juice. Twitch cannot compete in the VOD space with YouTube at this time. YouTube is seeing impressive numbers for the audience at eSports events that are also streamed simultaneously (my colleague Tyler Erzberger points out, the LCS, the American League of Legends league, is a perfect example of this). YouTube is actually in many ways a more comfortable viewing experience – you can rewind, pause, and launch with ease. Ninja’s signing with YouTube would also bring Google’s endorsement. Twitch is still in the lead in terms of live streaming market share, but signing Ninja would be a great sign of intent.
Whatever the decision, we will be watching. We are entering the second chapter of Streamer Wars, and Ninja’s next decision will set the course.
Quick hits from around the world Battle Royale
1) Speaking of NinjaHe was the first streamer to receive a skin in Fortnite as part of the Fortnite icon series. The last one, which debuted on June 22, is Australian YouTuber Kathleen “Loserfruit” Belsten. The skin looks great! Activation in general is a wonderful idea and a brilliant way to attract streamers for further collaboration.
Only good vibes are allowed 🍓
Grab the Loserfruit game before it leaves the store tonight! pic.twitter.com/IYWkPghqZG
– Fortnite (@FortniteGame) June 24, 2020
2) ninja battles, The Ninja’s Fortnite tournament series is on hiatus at the moment, but Andbox, the company that owns the New York Subliners for Call of Duty League and the New York Excelsior for Overwatch League, has announced a start to the $ 50k Fortnite tournament. ” Battle of the Boroughs “June 27. Eight New York City and New Jersey neighborhoods will roll up their sleeves as they board the battle-ready party bus. And when I say battle, I mean it feels totally like the people of New York are just attacking the people of Jersey. This is how you can register.
3) Fortnite is apparently getting a new explosive: a jar of firefly why not? We already have loot-filled jumping sharks and references from Adam West Batman too. I NEVER thought I would see that. How many Fortnite players were alive when the original Batman aired on television? How many Fortnite players already have televisions?
4) The Apex Legends Lost Treasures The event has started! With it comes the newest patch that brings a host of changes, including significant changes to Lifeline. His healing ability has just gained a great advantage. When Lifeline uses DOC to heal a fallen teammate, she can also begin to heal another person. Your Ultimate Care Pack will now also contain many more items, including more healing kits. On the competitive front, the Apex Legends Global Series Summer Circuit kicked off with Super Regional 1 on June 21. The Yeet Squad, comprised of Nicewigg, Socks, and bowser, resisted the rest to claim first prize and $ 6,000 from the $ 10,500 prize pool. Winpeingest Apex’s competitive team, TSM, ranked third, while Rogue was a finalist.
5) Warzone weekends The Call of Duty League broadcasts have been a lot of fun to watch. I like what CDL is doing in terms of variety, from teams the first time around (and the Paris Legion camping to victory), to captains picking squads from a talent pool, to solos last weekend. It’s prerecorded, so we have a good edit, it’s a good presentation with lots of fun plays. Now I know that planting a C4 in a helicopter and waiting until an opponent flies away before turning it on is a featured reel game. Or hide a C4 in a vehicle, drive it towards an enemy, jump, and then fire it while the opponent rolls … that’s also 200 IQ. Warzone Weekend is a success. Well done by CDL and everyone involved.
Good vibes and acts of kindness!