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Twitch Faces The Fallout Of Ninja's Mixer Move

If recent reports are to be believed, Twitch's viewership is on a slow but steady decline. There are also reasons to think that these numbers could be related to the career trajectory of Tyler "Ninja" Blevins.

In August of last year, Ninja announced his departure from Twitch in favor of Microsoft's Mixer platform. Since then, there has been a bit of a trend of other streamers following his example. While this is the kind of struggle that occurs with any business that suddenly finds itself a high-profile competitor, it is interesting to note how quickly it's happening. It's also difficult not to notice how this is all impacting Twitch as a major platform.

The world of video game streaming is bigger than ever, so it's no surprise that there's some drama going on behind the screens. With that in mind, let's take a look at the timeline of events, who seems to be benefitting the most from it, and what this may mean for the futures of all involved. Twitch may be the biggest name in streaming, but there are other services on the come-up, so Twitch may want to pay attention.

The numbers are telling

According to a year in review report from Streamlabs, Twitch's once-exponential growth has begun to slow down. Within the space of three months, Twitch's number of "hours watched" dropped from 2.6 million to an estimated 2.3 million. While Twitch is still leading the pack in viewership, it's worth noting that Mixer's user base actually doubled in size last year. Though the exodus of streamers didn't begin until near the end of the year, it's easy to see how this will help the platform continue to grow in popularity. It's also practically impossible to ignore the timing of Mixer's rise and Twitch's slight decline.

Mixer still has a bit of a way to go if it wants to become a juggernaut of the industry like Twitch. However, it's clear that Twitch is starting to feel the effects of losing some of its stars. With streaming content becoming more (sorry) mainstream, it's more important than ever for particular platforms to stand out from the competition. Whether this will prompt Twitch to make some big changes of its own remains to be seen.

Ninja left Twitch

Of course, we have to remember the incident that kicked this entire thing off. Back in August, Ninja shocked fans when he announced his intention to leave Twitch for rival platform Mixer. This no-so-coincidentally lined up perfectly with the launch of a new season of Fortnite. This ensured that much of his audience immediately followed with him so they could see him play through the new additions to the battle royale game.

It was clearly a calculated move, but it has seemingly paid off gloriously for the streamer. While his deal with Microsoft hasn't been disclosed, it was clearly a big enough number that it made the move an easy decision to make. Ninja continues to flourish on the platform, with big celebrity guests like Mark Hamill even getting in on the action. Clearly, the move to a relatively smaller platform has not dimmed Ninja's star in any way. 

In fact, Ninja's impact on the gaming community only continues to grow. Just this week, he became the very first streamer to receive a Fortnite character skin themed after him, kicking off Fortnite's new Icon Series in a big way.

Other streamers weren't far behind

Following Ninja's departure, there was immediate speculation surrounding what this would mean for Twitch going forward. After all, Ninja's viewership was massive and he quickly found success over at Mixer as well. There was a fear that Twitch would begin hemmhoraging its top performers as more streamers followed suit. 

Well, it's been more of a steady trickle, but there have been a few notable cases of high profile streamers leaving the platform. One such streamer is Shroud, who at one point had the third highest subscriber count on Twitch. Another notable streamer, King Gothalion, followed not long after. 

One reason for this switch may be that these streamers feel they have much greater autonomy on this platform. As reported by VG247, King Gothalion explained that Mixer was more willing to "allow him to mentor more up-and-coming streamers, and raise more money for charity through the events he organizes" than Twitch.

Mixer also features greater levels of interactivity between streamers and viewers, which is likely a huge draw for content creators. If this trend continues, it may be time for Twitch to embrace some of the innovations of its competitors.