Following his highly publicized breakup with Twitch, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins is off to a good start on Mixer, gaining half a million subscriptions in his first day and pushing the Mixer app to the top of the iOS App Store. He hosted his first Fortnite stream from the Microsoft-owned site from Lollapalooza, with a crowd of fans visible on the stream watching him live and a much larger one watching online.
Ninja announced his departure from Twitch August 1, in a move that could have an impact on streaming much larger than just where his videos are hosted. Ninja is one of Twitch’s biggest stars, which on its own makes the move significant, but it also comes at a time when the site’s future already seems to be in question. Twitch recently launched subscriber-only streams, which are ad-free but can only be viewed by paying subscribers. It was an extremely controversial move, with many users worrying that it would fracture the community. Earlier this year, the site’s moderation was called into question when a rash of extremely offensive content was posted, falsely labeled as streams of Valve’s Artifact.
The day after Ninja announced his move to Mixer, he posted on Twitter that he had already hit 500,000 subscribers. That’s significantly more subscribers than he has on Twitch, which is currently under 15,000, according to Twitch Tracker, and twice the number he had at his peak of 250,000 in March 2018. It’s important to note that Mixer is currently offering free subscriptions to Ninja’s channel to welcome him to the site, so it remains to be seen how many of the rush of new subscribers will stick around once the promotion ends. Nonetheless, it’s an auspicious start for the streamer’s new channel after his risky move from the platform where he made his fame.
Ninja’s arrival seems to have been a boon for Mixer as well. As Ninja’s subscriber count grew, the Mixer app was climbing the charts on the iOS App Store. It’s currently the top ranked free app on Apple’s storefront.
Whether or not Ninja is able to retain his new audience on Mixer, his move will likely have a larger effect on the platform as a whole. Mixer is a far less popular site than Twitch, until now lacking the superstar streamers like Ninja and Shroud that its larger rival drew. That has made it less attractive for big names, but some streamers see it as somewhat of a haven where they can gain a following playing smaller games with less competition. Ninja’s arrival could siphon off some of those viewers, and if other big-name streamers follow him, it could reshape the Mixer community.