Entertainment

YouTube and Twitch are competing to sign Ninja

by Calum Patterson

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After Mixer folded into a merger with Facebook Gaming, their headline streamer Tyler 'Ninja' Blevins was left with no place to call home. Now, livestreaming giant Twitch is apparently competing alongside YouTube for Blevins' signature.

Before his big-money-move to Mixer, Ninja was the number one most followed streamer on Twitch, with over 14 million. His channel is still intact, as is his follower count, but it's not clear if he will ditch the platform once again.

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On July 8, he rather unexpectedly went live on YouTube for his first stream back, but there was little fanfare. It was later reported by esports insider Rod 'Slasher' Breslau that Ninja hadn't yet signed any exclusive contracts.

Where will Ninja stream now?

It has now been reported by SBJ's Adam Stern that YouTube, Twitch and Facebook Gaming are in a three-horse race to get Ninja to commit to their platforms exclusively.

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The value of having Ninja on your platform can't be understated (although it wasn't enough alone to boost Mixer to a sustainable position). His fanbase are bound to follow him to whatever platform he lands on.

According to Stern, a deal should be reached with one of the platforms "by end of summer, per sources."

Of course, Ninja already has a big presence on YouTube, thanks to his regular videos that he's been posting for years. With 20 million subscribers, it's actually his most-followed social media channel, ahead of Instagram (15m), Twitch (14m) and Twitter (6m).

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However, while YouTube might be Ninja's biggest platform, Twitch is still the home for video game livestreaming, even if YouTube Gaming has been making some big leaps forward in recent years.

One of Ninja's frequent collaborators, Jack 'CouRage' Dunlop, made the switch to YouTube in 2019, not long after the Mixer moves. So far, it's been a successful switch for him.

The question also remains over the future of Michael 'shroud' Grzesiek, who moved to Mixer a month after Ninja, and similarly is now free to explore his options on other platforms. He could opt to return to his 7.1 million followers on Twitch, or his 6.3 million YouTube subscribers.

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