September 11, 2020 2:33:45 pm
Tyler Blevins, a top video-game streamer known as Ninja, is returning to Amazon.com Inc.’s dominant Twitch platform with an exclusive multiyear deal.
Blevins, who plays games like Fortnite and Valorant for a fan base that numbers in the millions, will start streaming on Twitch Thursday afternoon. He announced his return to the platform earlier in the day on Twitter. The financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
“I am excited to get back to streaming full time and connecting with my loyal fan base,” Blevins said in a statement. “I really took my time to decide which platform was best and Twitch has been very supportive throughout this process.”
Blevins’s decision was closely watched in the burgeoning streaming industry, which got an extra jolt of growth during the pandemic. Twitch vies with other platforms to get and keep the biggest stars, who can attract viewers with their gaming skills but also their wit and personality.
— Ninja (@Ninja) September 10, 2020
Blevins, 29, left Twitch about a year ago, when he got an exclusive deal with rival Mixer. After Microsoft Corp. shuttered Mixer in July, Blevins was up for grabs again. He held talks with Facebook Inc., where many Mixer streamers went, about joining that platform, but ultimately decided to return to the service that made him a star.
Twitch is still by far the largest livestreaming site, with 1.4 billion hours watched in July, up 67% year over year, according to StreamElements and Arsenal.gg. And many big-name streamers who had deals with Mixer, such as Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek, have returned to Twitch.
Blevins, who began his career on Twitch nearly 10 years ago, has 15 million followers on the site. His YouTube channel has had more than 2.3 billion views.
“We are thrilled Ninja is returning to Twitch,” said Michael Aragon, senior vice president 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.”
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