Twitch, Mixer and the signing of ‘Ninja’: this is the fight of the big video game platforms

An image of the Tyler 'Ninja' Blevins player.

Amazon, Google and Microsoft compete in the growing business of game broadcasts by playing against the best-known competitors

Richard Tyler Ninja Blevins is one of the best known video game players in the world. This American born in Grayslake (United States) 28 years ago began to be a professional video game player back in 2009 to become, soon after, a streamer; that is to say, devote himself to broadcast his games live while other people see him from their homes. Thus began his journey in what ended up being a profession. First the online chain Justin, then Twitch and, finally, the Mixer platform, from Microsoft, where he recently signed a millionaire contract to play there exclusively.

The interest that Ninja arouses is superlative. His influence has become such that in the channel he had on Twitch reached 14.7 million followers throughout his career. About a fortnight of – mainly young people under the age of twenty – users decided to click on the button indicated to subscribe and not miss any of their broadcasts; a commitment to its content, such as when we did not miss our weekly appointment with that series to which we were hooked.

That traffic of simultaneous users, which in collaboration events with rappers like Drake came to have peaks of 300,000 and even 600,000 concurrent viewers in 2018, translates into a very attractive advertising showcase for brands, which they can take advantage of to promote their products of different ways and methods in the platform where the retransmissions are made, the so-called streamings.

And all that generates money.

The fight to have the best streamers

Just as signing a media star in the world of football guarantees not only goals but the sale of thousands of shirts, something similar is beginning to happen in the universe of video game broadcasts with the incipient consolidation of platforms of the great multinationals of the Technology sector YouTube, bought by Google in an exercise of anticipation for what was to come there by 2008 with a payment of 1,650 million dollars; Twitch, owned by Amazon; and Mixer, created by Microsoft, began their journey with certain differences in their objectives, but little by little they have embraced the possibility of broadcasting live as one of their hallmarks. Deferred a certain amount is billed, but live that amount increases considerably.

Work at the checkbook to buy, in a sense, public that consumes content on your platform. This is how the signing of Ninja was managed.

The news was a trend in social networks and had media coverage throughout the day of August 1: Tyler Ninja Blevins signed for Mixer. Switch to direct competition, a blow of effect by the American firm gestated in silence, with virtually nothing leaked. The announcement was accompanied by a video where the streamer, as if it were an NBA star, appeared to appear with the media to explain his progress. “I am aware that what I am going to announce will leave many of you in shock,” Blevins explained. “But it’s me, the same as always, only on another platform.”

From the offices of Twitch they witnessed not only the march of one of the thousands of young people who broadcast on their platform for hours every day; what they saw was the loss of a guarantee of daily viewers, from a community that added more than 14 million followers.

From the offices of Twitch they witnessed not only the march of one of the thousands of young people who broadcast on their platform for hours every day; what they saw was the loss of a guarantee of daily viewers, from a community that added more than 14 million followers. In Microsoft, on the other hand, they celebrated the incorporation of a star (the most popular, in fact) to their list of players to be able to accelerate their growth, because to date they were well below the Amazon solution.

The most recent data indicate that Mixer had 119 million hours in visualizations last quarter (Streamlabs via GamesIndustry), a 37% year-on-year growth. The figure is not so high compared to Twitch, which had 2,700 million hours seen last quarter.

The Ninja effect was not made to beg in Mixer, whose downloads and use of the application on mobile devices skyrocketed on debut days. What was the 700 or 800 application in downloads became number one. Randy Nelson, a member of the Sensor Tower consultancy, said they estimated downloads above 26,000 users only on August 1 in the App Store and Google Play in the United States, a growth of 2400%. The previous week was downloaded a total of 4,000 times.

In his first broadcast a day later, Ninja averaged between 75,000 and 80,000 spectators while playing Fortnite: Battle Royale; Twitch had about 130,000 viewers at that time. A migration of the faithful that has only just begun. The battle between Mixer and his old house began at that time, with movements that have gone around the world.

The reuse of the Ninja channel on Twitch, in question

Shortly before reaching a million subscribers in Mixer, Twitch had already begun to take advantage of the old Ninja channel to promote other streamers; this way, when entering the main page their videos were no longer seen, but of the other most popular players. All without the consent of Blevins, who posted a video on his social networks completely disappointed to have made that decision without consulting him.

The problem came later, with the use made by some content creators of this new massive showcase: they began broadcasting pornographic content. Emmett Shear, CEO of Twitch, echoed the situation and apologized, ensuring in his message that they would stop promoting those channels that did not broadcast content from Fortnite and other similar video games. The limits had been exceeded, which raised the question of how far the dispute between these companies can go to have the most influential players in the picture.

To get an idea of the economic production capacity of these young content creators, we can look at the report published by The Wall Street Journal last May, where Reed Duchscher, CEO of Night Media, said that a streamer with between 15,000 and 25,000 spectators can generate about $ 30,000 per hour of retransmission, especially if they are games that have just reached the market or popular works such as the Fortnite phenomenon. The difference between playing a million times a video on YouTube with 20,000 people watching a live game is huge.

The economic amount of the Ninja exclusivity contract in Mixer has not transcended, but there are several million dollars. In fact, the young man came to bill 500,000 dollars a month, according to the CNBC, thanks to the popularity of its contents and Fortnite last spring of 2018, when the battle royale phenomenon (one of the many video games where dozens of players fight at same time for survival until only one is left standing) began to make the qualifier itself small.

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