It looks very much like Ninja has signed with YouTube — yikes!
Not even a year ago, hit video game streamer Ninja, aka Tyler Blevins, was all over the Internet as news emerged he was leaving Twitch and had signed an exclusive deal with Mixer — the Microsoft-owned game service that was set up to compete with Twitch.
At the time I remember thinking “Good for him for getting Microsoft to fork out a huge amount of money, but oh what a bad decision it was to leave Twitch”.
After all, anyone who understands the video game streaming world and Microsoft knew Mixer would be lucky to last longer than a couple of years.
As it turns out, the streaming platform didn’t even make it a year after Ninja signed with them before Microsoft admitted defeat (they do that a lot!). It seems they just couldn’t get viewers to leave Twitch, a platform gaming fans love, and so announced just last month the service would soon be shutting down.
That left Ninja and several other popular streamers that had signed exclusive contracts with Mixer without a home. Unless they wanted to move to Facebook’s gaming platform, which Microsoft suggested.
Of course, anyone who is an avid fan of video game streaming knows Facebook’s streaming platform is garbage when compared to Twitch. That’s why it was highly unlikely Ninja would accept their offer. No matter how much money they tried to throw at him.
Well, it turns out today, he probably didn’t.
In fact, if this tweet from HYPEX is anything to go by, it looks like Ninja has signed with YouTube Gaming. And, if so, holy hell, that’s the second big mistake he has made in less than a year.
Ninja most likely signed to youtube, he currently has a test stream scheduled, probably didn’t mean to make it public but this is a huge hint.. pic.twitter.com/e4bd6lhD8M
— HYPEX (@HYPEX) July 7, 2020
Twitch viewership just grows and grows
The powers that be at YouTube have been trying to compete with Twitch for years and yet, at every step, Twitch completely eclipses their efforts.
So much so, they have just set a record with more than five BILLION hours of streaming watched on Twitch in the last quarter alone. That is 63% more than the previous quarter.
That number is in comparison to YouTube’s 1.5 billion hours watched on their gaming channels.
In other words, Twitch users watch over three times more hours of gaming per quarter than YouTube’s and that number is increasing every month.
YouTube’s gaming channels are moving to Twitch
Meanwhile, more and more of the popular YouTube gamers are seeing the direction the streaming industry is going in and so are choosing to leave the site and move to Twitch.
This is not only due to the bigger audience at Twitch, but also, with the way Twitch is set up, they can usually make a lot more money than on YouTube.
A platform where income is falling for gamers every month.
YouTube’s algorithm has also changed in recent years and, for gamers, that has meant their videos are more difficult to find.
When you also throw in YouTube’s ridiculous copyright strike system that causes gamers’ videos to be de-monetized due to fake copyright claims, and it is not surprising the smart gamers have already realized YouTube is history when it comes to video games.
Before they even waste their time streaming there.
After all, video game streaming on YouTube is already a ‘has been’ before it has even taken off, with the number of people watching streams worldwide a tiny fraction of those on Twitch.
Even for the most popular games.
Ninja’s YouTube channel
Now, when you look at Ninja’s existing YouTube channel, it is pretty obvious he is not getting the views on his YouTube videos that he used to.
Only two years ago, Ninja’s videos would usually get an average of between 2.5 and 5.5 million views. Some would get many more, with a small number getting over 15 million views.
That is massive for a YouTube gaming channel.
Fast forward to today and, even though Ninja is uploading videos as fast as he always did, over the last few months an average video has been lucky to get 1 million views and, in many cases, are hovering under 500,000 views.
That is a tenth or even lower than what many of his YouTube videos used to get.
It is also just one sign Ninja moving to YouTube streaming would be his second big mistake in only a year.
Another is one of the reasons Ninja gave for moving from Twitch to Mixer — to find a ‘less toxic environment’. Funny thinking about that today when YouTube is one of the most toxic places on the Internet and YouTube doesn’t seem to care.
When you also consider Ninja is now on his third streaming service in only a year, and that gamers leave followers by the wayside every time they move (Ninja lost millions of his fans when he moved to Mixer), it is highly unlikely Ninja’s viewership on YouTube will ever be anywhere close to his viewership on Mixer and most definitely not anywhere near his heyday at Twitch.
Of course, YouTube is probably giving Ninja a huge sum of money to sign an exclusive deal with their platform.
But, when a year or two down the road Ninja is looking for another streaming service to move to after YouTube has also admitted defeat, you already get the feeling he will have far fewer viewers than he does now and not be looking like quite as good of a catch.
Let’s face it, when you have been doing the rounds for a while, none of your business decisions have worked out so well for you other than financially, and your fan base is continuing to shrink, you tend to look less appealing to both streaming platforms and to the advertisers that pay for them.
But, let’s wait for the announcement that Ninja has moved to YouTube Gaming and see how it goes. It’s coming soon. I’m almost sure of it.
Meanwhile, I’m off to watch my favorite gamer …on, oh yeah, Twitch.
Ninja’s latest YouTube video only has 253,000 views — a far cry from his 17 million days