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A little more than a year after gamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins left Twitch for rival platform Mixer, the streamer is returning to his former home.
Blevins has inked an exclusive multiyear deal with Twitch, the Amazon-owned game streaming platform where he built a large following and became a globally recognized professional gamer. He will go live for the first time under the new deal today at 12 p.m.
“I am excited to get back to streaming full-time and connecting with my loyal fanbase,” Blevins said in a statement. “I really took my time to decide which platform was best and Twitch has been supportive throughout this process and understanding my overall career goals. In this next chapter, I’m going to make it a point to elevate and bring more eyes to underrepresented creators. I am looking forward to working with Twitch to demonstrate how this amazing community of gamers can make a meaningful impact.”
The 29-year-old Illinois native began playing games professionally in his teens, competing on the esports circuit before deciding to dedicate his time to live streaming his gameplay for fans on Twitch. His popularity grew alongside that of battle royale game Fortnite and he quickly amassed more than 14 million followers on Twitch, making him the most-followed on the platform.
But in summer 2019, he shocked the gaming community when he announced that he was leaving Twitch for Mixer, an upstart platform owned by Microsoft that wooed Blevins and several other top streamers as it looked to build its standing among gamers.
Though Mixer’s audience grew over the last year — consumption was up 150 percent, per StreamElements — it wasn’t enough for the platform to keep pace with rivals Twitch, YouTube Gaming and Facebook Gaming. In June, Microsoft announced that it was shutting down Mixer, making Blevins a free agent.
In the months that have ensued, Belvins, who typically live streams for hours every day, has been uncharacteristically quiet. Though he still tweets regularly, he’s streamed only a handful of times on Twitch and YouTube. Each broadcast has prompted speculation about which platform he would make his permanent home.
Twitch was a logical choice for Blevins. It’s the largest and most established game streaming platform in the market with 17.5 million average daily active viewers. He already has an audience of 15 million on Twitch, and the new deal marks a homecoming of sorts for him and his fans. (He also has 24 million subs on YouTube, where he regularly posts clips from his live streams.)
“We are thrilled Ninja is returning to Twitch,” said Michael Aragon, senior vp of content at Twitch. “Tyler is an iconic force in the gaming community, and it’s been amazing to see the impact he’s made on the industry and broader culture. Gaming — and the people who love it — are being recognized by a broad mainstream audience now in part because of Tyler, and we know he’s just getting started.”
Blevins moves back to Twitch after a similar decision from top gamer Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek, who also became a free agent after Mixer’s shutdown. Both players are represented by gamer management firm Loaded, which facilitated Blevins’ deal alongside Loeb & Loeb.
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