Ninja: Which Platform Wins Esports' Biggest Star?
It is July 2019, and the business of esports and gaming is booming. Tyler Blevins-better known as Ninja-has risen to stardom playing the immensely popular shooter game Fortnite. He has become the most followed streamer in the world and, helped by his management company Loaded (a division of esports technology and services company Popdog), has become the first esports player to cross over into the mainstream. So far, Ninja has worked with Twitch, owned by Amazon, as his exclusive partner for live streams. However, with that contract coming up for renewal in the next month, other platforms were hoping to lure Ninja away. Mixer, a much smaller service owned by Microsoft, was leading the charge. Leaving Twitch would come at a significant risk: the few star gamers who had attempted to switch platforms in the past had failed to convince most of their followers to come along, and had quickly seen their hold on the market disappear. But Mixer was a promising alternative. How should Ninja approach the choice between platforms? Was it time to leave Twitch and jump to a different platform? And how could Ninja best position himself for long-term success?