Microsoft has had to pay for over 1.5 million subscriptions to Ninja's Mixer stream thanks to a promotion the company began offering as part of a move to generate viewership on the streaming platform. Tyler "Ninja" Blevins announced his decision to leave Twitch, the streaming platform that hosted his rise to fame as a Fortnite player, for Mixer earlier this month, signing an exclusivity deal that is reportedly worth upwards of $10-50 million.
The transition for Ninja himself has been a pretty smooth one, as he's routinely garnered numbers that are just as eye-popping as his viewership figures were on Twitch. For the scorned streaming service - which famously unverified Ninja within minutes of his announcement and then accidentally hosted porn on his inactive channel - things haven't been too bad, though. Twitch viewership is roughly at the same level it was before Ninja left, and it's particularly telling that Fortnite viewership has barely dipped at all. It appears at least some portion of Ninja's fanbase has remained on Twitch and simply adopted new content creators to patronize.
That hasn't really hurt the influencer's viewership figures or subscription numbers, as Ninja announced earlier on Twitter that he had eclipsed 1.5 million subscribers on Mixer. That means, however, that Microsoft is now footing the bill for that many subscribers, thanks to the promotion that sees the company willing to cover first-time subscribers to Ninja's channel on Mixer until the end of September. For Ninja's part, he's pretty optimistic about his future on Mixer, but that's probably a lot easier given he's not the one shelling out for all of his bought subscribers:
1.5 million subscribers on @WatchMixer and almost 2 million follows. The best part, there are still people who dont know I have made the switch which makes me happy knowing there is room to grow and continue the rise.— Ninja (@Ninja) August 20, 2019
Given that Twitch has largely shrugged off the departure of Ninja - even if it felt like the company was previously panicking over it when it initially happened - it's fair to wonder if Microsoft's investment will actually see much of a return. Other Mixer content creators haven't gotten much of a boost from Ninja's participation on the platform, with many of them still struggling to eclipse 1,000 viewers. Ninja might be drawing consumers to him, but it remains to be seen if that's enough to get people to stick around Mixer or if this trial period will end in disaster for Microsoft.
Given social media feedback to Ninja's move and the aforementioned Fortnite numbers on Twitch, we'd honestly bet on the latter. There's still time to be proven wrong, but Microsoft's early foray into attempting to grow Mixer into legitimate competition for Twitch looks like it's heading in the wrong direction as it's failed to create much buzz after the initial announcement.