Back on August 1st, the streaming world got rocked. Tyler “Ninja” Blevins had announced he was moving to Mixer from Twitch.
The move seemingly happened at warp speed, with few details other than an official statement from Ninja himself.
We now know a few more details. In an interview with Business Insider, Blevins’s wife and manager, Jessica, explained the reasoning behind the move.
She noted that money was not a driving factor, “Money was the last thing on our mind.” She continued, “It’s like, they don’t even know what went on behind the scenes and how hard we tried to make that deal work — and then how amazing Microsoft was for us.”
“Twitch did not listen to us,” she said. “Everything we were asking, it never came back reflecting our wishes – and that’s completely outside of finances.” She added, “And for us, two people who were streaming on Twitch, it was really upsetting for us to go months and months and keep reiterating that we love you guys, we’ve been here for a long time, but the things that are in the contract right now just don’t make sense.”
While money might not have been a driving factor, licensing deals and growing Ninja’s brand outside of gaming was. Ninja’s Twitch deal apparently limited his licensing opportunities. Jessica said there were already conflicts appearing with sponsors and brand partners as a result of Twitch’s platform. She stated, “With the wording of how that contract was going, he wouldn’t have been able to grow his brand much outside of gaming.”
She added, “There were already conflicts with his current sponsors and resigning with that platform. And we were like, ‘Straight up, guys, we’ve worked so, so hard to grow the Ninja brand to license things and get his name out there. We can’t go backwards with it.’ So that’s where that deal just really started not making sense.”
She would go on to explain that toxicity was another factor in his Twitch departure. Apparently the toxic nature of his chatroom caused the streamer some stress and mental wear. She detailed that he wasn’t as enthusiastic streaming in the last few months at Twitch.
“I could tell, as his wife, the last few months on Twitch, he just didn’t seem like the Ninja that I knew. He didn’t seem as enthusiastic, as loud, as hyped-up about wins and motivated to stream. It really seemed like he was kind of losing himself and his love for streaming.”
Jessica would also reveal the nature of the negotiating process. Negotiations with Twitch would drag on for months, compared to just weeks settling on a deal with Mixer.
“Microsoft was so aligned with what we wanted, and where we were at,” Jessica said. “That was the first time we really felt like this is what’s right for the brand.”
She would also add the deal to switch to Mixer has also rejuvenated Ninja and he’s back to his old self.
“And this last month of him streaming on [Mixer], he’s completely different. He’s back to that energetic, pumped-up Ninja. I don’t know if you can hear him screaming in the background right now, because he’s sniping people in ‘Fortnite,’ but, like — and this is just his wife speaking — hearing that excitement and seeing him so happy, I’m really, really happy we made it. It was a leap of faith, and Microsoft’s been nothing but amazing to us.”
It appears that branding opportunities have grown indeed. An episode of The Masked Singer featuring Ninja, aired just a week ago. And Jessica mentioned they are already in discussions to have him make cameos in upcoming films and TV shows as well as the Super Bowl.
Since Ninja left Twitch, he’s had some disagreements with his former employer. Twitch had a bad look after hosting a porn account on Ninja’s former Twitch page. After a lot of negative feedback, Twitch’s CEO would have to issue an apology.
Ninja’s Mixer debut also beat his average Twitch viewer count. Since the debut, his Mixer channel has dropped off to consistently average numbers, however. It seems Ninja has indeed landed in the best place for his brand.
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