Battle Royale is enjoying a surge of interest in gamers, and guess who's riding that wave up and up: Twitch streamer called Shroud (Michael Grzesiek, a former eSports star), who recently passed 100,000 subscribers and almost 6 million followers.
This makes Shroud the second most popular Twitch streamer, behind the prolific Ninja (Richard Tyler Blevins), who has more than double his followers, with 13.6 million people.
Shroud really enjoys battle royale games, such as Black Ops 4's Blackout mode, Fortnite (because who doesn't enjoy Fortnite), Apex Legends, and even PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, which got him into trouble with developers after he flew in a hacked car.
What's interesting, though, is that while Shroud's star is rising, Ninja's is beginning to fade. It's not due to either player's skill or personality or willingness to help out developers, however. Rather, they are both victims of what's hot and what's not.
Comicbook.com revealed that Ninja concentrated on Fortnite, which received unbelievable attention in the last couple of years. While the game remains immensely popular, it's faded -- and along with it, some of Ninja's subscription and attention. However, it was awesome to behold at the time. His peak subscriber count was 269,000, pulling in $1 million+ in revenues.
While we could frame this story as a battle between Twitchers, in reality, it's a community that remains supportive of each players' success (and in many cases, donates much of their massive profits to philanthropy). It's more interesting to think about Twitch as a business, with individual entrepreneurs such as Ninja and Shroud playing a key role in helping developers innovate.
Like any social media influencer, Twitch players have a big weight behind them -- a subscription base that watches their work, learns their moves, and likely buys the games they play. Because of this, it makes sense for a development company to pay attention when Twitch's top players in their genre have feedback about how their game is going.
All too often, developers rush their games to publication and induce headaches -- game-killing bugs and massive first-day patches -- which can only entice gamers to move away since there are so many other options available. Bringing in Twitchers during development can only help. Also, who knows, Shroud and Ninja could collaborate on cool partnerships and get us the best of both worlds.