Tyler Blevins, known online as ‘Ninja’, announced Thursday he is leaving the platform which enabled his massive popularity, in favor of Microsoft’s fledgling Mixer project, which is struggling to catch up with the leaders.
“I have been holding on to this for quite some time,” Ninja said in brief tweeted video. “And I’m just-super excited to let everyone know. I’ll be streaming on Mixer full-time now and I’m honestly at a loss for words. I’m freaking out in the best ways. I feel like I’m going to get back to the streaming roots.”
He promised that his Twitch streams on the new platform will stay exactly as they were. His first stream is reportedly scheduled for Friday, a Polygon report says.
Ninja, who enjoyed a 285,000-subscriber peak in March 2018, is one of the biggest Twitch streamers and one of the best-known names in the Fortnite community, according to Polygon. Currently, his channel has some 14,000 subscribers.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Ninja and his community to Mixer,” the Microsoft-owned company said in a statement. “Mixer is a place that was formed around being positive and welcoming from day one, and we look forward to the energy Ninja and his community will bring.”
The popular streamer did not provide reasons for his decision, which led to some fans speculating that Mixer had paid Ninja an enormous amount of money.
Recently, Twitch has become increasingly entangled in scandals involving arbitrary user bans or, on occasion, refusing to do so, resulting in accusations of double standards.
One of the biggest Twitch scandals involved numerous permabans over the meme phrase “shoot some naga,” which refers to the fictional World of Warcraft race of snake-people. Many users received messages that their account had been banned for “engaging in hateful conduct and threats of violence against a person or group of people.”
Twitch moderators had decided that “naga” sounds like the proscribed ‘n-word’. In reality, the fictional snake-people are a part of real-world Buddhism and Hinduism mythology and have existed in fantasy video games for decades.
Another scandal saw the Twitch platform accused of double standards toward female streamers. In one case, a male streamer was banned after he raised a fish out of a tank and put it on his hand. In contrast, a female streamer was caught throwing her cat across the room in a rough manner, but suffered no reprimand, sparking outrage from viewers, according to The Gamer report.
Another female streamer saw massive flak for using racial slurs in a Discord chat. Viewer backlash caused her to issue numerous apologies and saw her removal from public play of her favourite game, but the platform took no action against her, the report says.
According to a Mixer press release, the platform, introduced in 2016 as Beam, has seen a 37% increase in channels streaming since last quarter, bringing the total to 1.97M channels.