Top streamers have been leaving Twitch for Mixer in recent weeks and months and it seems like every week we’re getting another announcement. Is there something wrong with Twitch or have their competitors just upped their game? Let’s find out.
Tyler “Ninja” Blevins started the trend in August 2019 when he announced in a shock move he’d be leaving Twitch to stream exclusively on Mixer. Ninja was Twitch’s number one streamer, the first to reach 10 million followers on the platform. Ninja grew to be hugely popular having spent years focusing on FPS games. He’s got a great personality, plus he’s a very skilled player. When Fortnite exploded onto the scene Ninja grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Ninja’s move to Mixer, although a surprise, did make sense. He wanted to grow his brand outside of gaming and had been involved in high profile events such as New York’s New Years Celebrations live on TV as well as the first e-sports player to be featured on the front of ESPN magazine.
Shroud followed Ninja to stream exclusively on Mixer two months later. Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek announced he was leaving the platform on Twitter with a simple, but clear message “Same shroud. New home.” The exclusive deals with Mixer now meant they had captured arguably the top 2 streamers on the platform with Shroud commanding over 7 million Twitch followers. Shroud is another FPS player who made his name on CS:GO and grew with games like PUBG, Apex Legends, Call of Duty Black Ops 4 and Rainbow 6 Seige.
King Gothalion was the latest streamer to leave Twitch for Mixer (noticing a pattern emerging here?). Goth is a huge Destiny player who had over one million followers on Twitch. As well as streaming Goth runs the yearly GCX event (formerly GuardianCon) and raises millions of dollars for charity each year through live events and streaming marathons.
Mixer seems serious about growing their market share in the live streaming space. Twitch dominates the space at the moment with approx 75% market share of the gaming live streaming, however, dents are being made into that market share with these acquisitions. Mixer has approximately 3% market share according to StreamElements.
Twitch’s numbers declined slightly in Q2 2019 by 2%. However, it was Twitch’s second-biggest quarter to date, following on from the huge Q1. YouTube had 19.5% of the live stream industry in Q2 2019 with more than 735 million viewership hours. It also set a new milestone in May, when it had 284 million viewership hours, which is the highest number of viewership hours for YouTube Live streams so far. Facebook Gaming, the streaming platform that is now supported by StreamElements, also grew in Q2 2019. It is now the third biggest platform for live streaming with 5.3% (nearly 200 million) of viewership hours in Q2. It passed the now fourth place streaming platform Mixer, which had 112 million viewership hours or 3%.
So far we’ve seen huge streamers leaving Twitch for Mixer, but why is this happening given the numbers? There are big players behind the brand names Twitch and Mixer. If you’re reading this then it’s likely you know Twitch and Mixer, however, their not household names. Twitch certainly has seen a growth in brand awareness in recent years, not always for positive reasons, however, the huge tech companies behind the streaming brand names may be more familiar to everyone around the dinner table. Amazon owns Twitch having bought them in 2014 for $970 million dollars. Mixer started out life as Beam in 2016 but was bought by Microsoft in 2017 and positioned as a rival to Twitch.
There’s a variety of reasons for wanting to leave Twitch. I’m sure money is a factor as these top streamers likely command huge sums based on an exclusive streaming contract. Microsoft has deep pockets are want to show they are serious in a space which is dominated by a single player. There are other factors too like growing a community and the live events Microsoft has influence in. Ninja was a top Halo player earlier in his career and having Ninja appearing on stage at E3 next year with the new Xbox console and Halo Infinite will likely draw big live streaming numbers.
Community growth is also another reason for wanting to leave Twitch for Mixer. Having scaled the heights of Twitch some streamers want to help out smaller streamers, help them grow and build up Mixer as a serious competitor to Twitch. It’s not great for the audience when there’s one player dominating the market. Finally, it appears as if Twitch’s contract requirements can be tight, for example, Ninja has come out to say he felt restricted under Twitch with his brand opportunities increasing significantly since leaving Twitch, for example like appearing on shows like the Masked Singer.
In summary, Mixer still has a long way to go to catch up with Twitch but Microsoft are flexing their financial muscles and it will be interesting to see who else moves over from Mixer to Twitch. There’s certainly an argument if you’re a smaller streamer that starting on Mixer is better as there are fewer streamers there and your chance of developing a community is greater due to the pool of streamers being less. It’ll also be interesting to see if Twitch starts to fight back and how they might go about doing this.