Streaming legend Tyler “Ninja” Blevins caused shockwaves in the streaming community recently when he moved from Twitch, where he had over 14 million followers, to start all over again on Microsoft’s Mixer platform. While many called Ninja a “sell-out” for making the move, a recent interview with Ninja’s manager and wife, Jessica Blevins, revealed more of the story. It seems the reasons for the move include a feeling that Twitch “did not listen” and the platform becoming “pretty toxic.”
As expected, Ninja’s bold move prompted a wave of speculation regarding the reasons, with many citing money as their guess. Details of the deal have been kept firmly under wraps but fellow streamer Forsen estimated that Ninja was likely offered a cool $6 million to move.
The Ninja team has always insisted that the decision was not about money but instead on what "aligns with what we believe in & wanted for the brand." Now Jessica Blevins has opened up in more detail about the Mixer deal in an interview with Business Insider, suggesting that a huge part of the reason was down to Twitch’s inflexibility, as well as the “pretty toxic” community which had built up on the platform.
In the interview, Jessica is quick to emphasis that this wasn’t a snap decision and followed “months and months” of discussion. It seems that the main motivators were Twitch’s inflexibility regarding Ninja’s contract, and the need to bring back the excitement for streaming that he was losing by “pressing the reset button on everything.”
In terms of Twitch, Jessica states that Ninja’s agency and legal team spent months negotiating over the contract, which she says “didn’t make sense” but ultimately they felt like Twitch “did not listen.” The main sticking point appears to be that the contract was said to limit the licensing deals the pair have worked so hard to secure, which would have left Ninja "unable to grow his brand much outside gaming.”
It seems that at this point Microsoft entered the picture. Jessica states that they were "so aligned with what we wanted and where we were at." She continues, "Microsoft backing us up and giving us support — it was such a warm, friendly environment. And when Tyler sat down, looked at the platform, and messed around with it, it was a quick decision. But it just felt like the right one to make."
Jessica also mentions that Tyler’s happiness was the other huge motivator. Describing the Ninja chatroom on Twitch she says it was "pretty toxic" and Tyler wanted to reset the clock and enjoy streaming again. It seems that the move paid off hugely for Ninja’s mental health as Jessica says “this last month of him streaming on [Mixer], he's completely different. He's back to that energetic, pumped-up Ninja.” She goes on to say that “hearing that excitement and seeing him so happy, I'm really, really happy we made it. It was a leap of faith, and Microsoft's been nothing but amazing to us."
It seems that the big move is paying off for Team Ninja, as Tyler continues to enjoy streaming and begins to rebuild.