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Shroud nearly reaches Ninja record in return

Michael "Shroud" Grzesiek was one of many streamers who found their careers put on pause when Microsoft announced its intentions to close its Mixer streaming platform earlier this year. Since then, fans wondered when and where Shroud would make his return. Luckily for them, Shroud announced his triumphant return to Twitch this week, with his first stream happening on August 12. Fans turned out in droves for Shroud's return, leading to the streamer nearly breaking a viewership record held by Ninja.

While the return of a high profile streamer is expected to yield some impressive viewership figures, it seems that even Shroud himself was totally unprepared for how successful his return stream was going to end up being. Shortly afterwards, Shroud tweeted a screenshot of the stats from the stream, along with the caption, "I pictured an epic return... not quite like this though."

As you can see, Shroud attracted some incredible numbers with his Twitch comeback. That's nearly 3 million unique viewers within a 7 hour stream. He also soared well past a half-million concurrent viewers at one point, peaking at 516,289 people all watching at one time. This falls short of the all-time record, which was set by Ninja back in 2018 when he racked up 667,000 concurrent viewers while streaming from the Las Vegas Esports Arena. 

However, that particular stream was part of an exhibition event, and the only time Ninja had come close before that was when he streamed with Drake. Shroud wasn't streaming from a major event or partnered with a superstar recording artist. The numbers seen in his return stream are all from curious and excited fans checking out how he's doing after a few months away.

Shroud is the latest major streamer to stage a comeback following a string of bad fortune. When Mixer was shuttered, both Shroud and Ninja found themselves without a streaming home. Both of them also reportedly turned down hefty paychecks intended to lure them over to Facebook Gaming, leaving them as free agents. 

Ninja has toyed with streaming in a couple of different places within the last few months. He went live on YouTube back in July, bringing in around 160,000 viewers. Earlier this month, Ninja logged into his old Twitch account and brought in around 100,000 concurrent viewers while playing Fortnite with DrLupo. In a similar fashion, Dr Disrespect was banned from Twitch a few months ago and it was unclear if he'd ever make his return. He finally reappeared on YouTube, first in a teaser stream that attracted over 326,000 viewers, then in an on-camera stream where he netted around 250,000 viewers. There has been a lot of debate over whether Ninja or Dr Disrespect has had the stronger comeback, but now it appears that Shroud has outdone both of them.

It's also worth mentioning that Shroud has another thing over the other two streamers. According to games journalist Rod "Slasher" Breslau, Dr Disrespect's recent YouTube streams have not been attached to any sort of contract deal; the streamer has been doing them on his own and making money based on subscriptions and donations. Meanwhile, Ninja has not officially signed a deal either, but he hinted at the end of his last Twitch stream that he'd see his fans again soon. Shroud, however, has reportedly signed an exclusivity deal with Twitch. The terms of this contract have not been made public, but it's very likely that it came with a decent chunk of change attached to it.

In addition to Shroud's return to Twitch, there have been other recent rumblings of big things coming up for the streamer. In a stream from last month, Mohamad 'mOE' Assad claimed that he was working on building a pro Valorant team with both Shroud and Just9n. Whether this was a joke that just didn't land is unclear, because it sure seemed like mOE really wanted to make it happen. It's worth noting that Shroud has been reluctant to commit to playing another game professionally, because he worries that doing so would force him to choose between competition and streaming.  His fear is that people watching his channel would become privy to his strategies, which could in turn hurt his chances in competition.

If Shroud's return stream numbers are anything to go by, then he may be better off not committing to anything else. It looks as though a return to Twitch was exactly what the streamer (and his fans) needed. It will be interesting to see if Shroud can maintain these kinds of numbers as people grow accustomed to having him back on their screens full-time.