Almost a year after Tyler “Ninja” Blevins took a lucrative $30 million deal to join Microsoft’s Mixer, the tech giant has decided to close the doors on the game-streaming service permanently. With Ninja free to go wherever he pleases, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch are bracing for a shift in the game streaming service industry. With Mixer out of the picture, it is worth taking a look at where each streaming platform stands, in terms of popularity and potential growth, and where they could be headed.
Will Mixer’s demise boost Facebook Gaming past the competition?
There is no doubt that Facebook Gaming becomes the dark horse in the now three-horse streaming race. The social media company has stated that Facebook Gaming has over 700 million users interacting with the service at least once a month. Additionally, the site’s live user-created content has seen a 210% increase in watch hours, by the end of 2019. As a result, Facebook has lured Jeremy “DisguisedToast” Wang and Super Smash Bros. legend Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios from Twitch to ensure that growth continues.
Although it appears that Facebook Gaming is carving out pieces of Twitch’s audience, DisguisedToast has only amassed one-fifth the viewership he once had on his former platform. It is a situation similar to that of Ninja’s Mixer channel, which only has 3.1 million followers, 10 million fewer than his Twitch channel.
YouTube Gaming will do anything for your attention
With the site’s popularity worldwide, there is no surprise that YouTube’s streaming platform, YouTube Gaming, rules at least 27.9% of the game streaming market. In 2019, all of the platform’s livestreams totaled a whopping 2.68 billion hours watched. It’s clear, however, that its 2 billion users favor content that is already posted to their favorite channels, as they put in 48 billion hours watching pre-made gaming content, in 2018.
Although, this could change very soon. YouTube Gaming acquired the exclusive rights to have their biggest content creator, PewDiePie, stream only to their service. PewDiePie has over 104 million subscribers, so expect YouTube Gaming to creep up on Twitch’s lead, with this one move alone.
With PewDiePie locked in, do not be surprised if YouTube also makes a run at Ninja, as it is unknown which platform the biggest streamer in the world will be using. Whether they get him or not, expect YouTube Gaming to be a much larger household name than usual, especially with the addition of three former Twitch stars, Rachell “Valkyrae” Hofstetter, Elliot “Muselk” Watkins, and Lannan “LazarBeam” Eacott.
Will Twitch be dethroned?
Believe it or not, even after the loss of Ninja and other major streamers, Twitch has only become stronger and more popular. In fact, the quarantine period has pushed the streaming service to immeasurable heights, as its already collected 6.75 billion hours of viewed content in the first five months of 2020. To compare, the service notched 9.34 billion watched hours in all of 2019.
In this newfound renaissance, Twitch has also more than doubled its streamer count, from 3.5 to 7.4 million, since March 2020. Twitch’s biggest streamers include Turner “Tfue” Tenney with 8.5 million followers, Ali “Myth” Kabbani with 6.6 million followers, and Jaryd “summit1g” Lazar with 5.4 million followers.
What will the rest of 2020 look like for these services?
With Xbox head, Phil Spencer, hinting at Xbox consoles finally being able to stream natively on Twitch, it will be a long road for those lagging behind the streaming behemoth. What will matter the most is where these former Mixer streamers, like Ninja, will go. In addition, Sony has yet to confirm which service players can natively stream from with the PS5, which may be nerve-wracking to some. In short, expect these platforms to work hard for your attention this year.