Ninja's return to streaming on YouTube shows he still has star power

He's looking for a new home after Microsoft shut down Mixer.

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Richard Tyler Blevins, aka Ninja, speaks to the crowd at the start of the 2019 Fortnite World Cup Finals - Round Two on July 27, 2019, at Arthur Ashe Stadium, in New York City. - On August 1, 2019 Ninja announced he was leaving Twitch to take his video-game livestreams exclusively on Microsofts streaming service: Mixer. (Photo by Johannes EISELE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images)
JOHANNES EISELE via Getty Images

Tyler “Ninja” Blevins is streaming Fortnite gameplay for the first time after Microsoft announced it’s shutting down his former home, Mixer. However, his YouTube stream doesn’t necessarily mean that one of the biggest names in streaming is setting up shop there permanently. Esports consultant Rod Breslau reported that Ninja is “in negotiations with streaming platforms and no exclusive deal has yet been signed.” Engadget has contacted Ninja’s talent agency Loaded for comment.

Right now, Ninja is effectively putting himself in the shop window. Within 20 minutes of starting his YouTube stream, he drew more than 160,000 concurrent viewers. The figure dropped to 120,000 or so a short time after, but that’s nothing to sniff at. Although he wasn’t able to pull in the level of viewership to Mixer that Microsoft had hoped, it’s clear he still has plenty of star power.

Ninja moved from Twitch to Mixer last August in a reported $20-30 million deal that kicked off a massive battle for top streaming talent between Twitch, Mixer, YouTube and Facebook Gaming. When it said it’d shut down Mixer, Microsoft announced a deal with Facebook Gaming to help streamers keep their partner status on another platform. At the time, Slasher reported that Facebook offered Ninja and another top streamer, Michael "Shroud" Grzesiek, contracts worth almost double their multimillion-dollar Mixer deals, which they are said to have declined.

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