Ninja and Pokimane ignore Twitch offers to stream on YouTube, TikTok

It wasn’t too long ago that Tyler “Ninja” Blevins was almost a staple on Twitch. A breakout in 2018 saw him stream with Drake and become inextricably linked to the meteoric rise of “Fortnite”, alongside other rising big names like Imane “Pokimane” Anys. Fast forward four years, and both believe their future lies beyond the purple walls of Twitch.

Thursday, Blevins announcement that from now on it will be streaming simultaneously on “all platforms” – specifically Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram and Twitter. This follows a similar announcement from Anys last week in which she said she plans to drastically reduce the time she streams video games on Twitch in favor of more diverse streaming of videos and shorts. on topics such as fashion and travel on YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram.

While neither plan to ditch Twitch completely, they no longer see the benefit of Twitch exclusivity in an era where Twitch is offering less money (when it offers exclusivity contracts) and where creators push back against the unpredictability of individual platforms by putting their eggs in multiple baskets. Additionally, Twitch recently informed partner streamers who don’t have an exclusive contract that they are now free to stream on other platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, another concession to long-running issues. dated and unsolvable as discoverability in a time when Twitch faces more competition than ever.

Ninja isn’t Twitch’s biggest streamer anymore, but he’s made peace with it

During her announcement – ​​which came after a month-long streaming hiatus – Anys spoke of the mental toll of nearly a decade of streaming.

“Putting myself up so much, especially streaming, revolves around this constant feedback loop of people telling you what they think of you,” she said, referring to the thousands of online comments that she receives every day. “As an adult in your formative years, you discover who you are, you discover yourself. And I feel like when I’m constantly pushing myself, I don’t take time to reflect or grow as an individual – or think about what I love.

During her month off, Anys reflected and realized, “Nowadays when I see things on Twitch, I feel like I’ve been there, I’ve done that,” a- she declared. “I’m not really, really excited or passionate about much.”

She then tearfully explained that she felt like she was “closing a chapter” by focusing on Twitch, but that this change is necessary for her mental and emotional well-being.

Blevins also made his announcement after what appeared to be a mental health-related crisis – but which in retrospect seems to have been a promotional stunt. Last week, he abruptly ended a stream in which he got frustrated while playing “Fortnite.” saying, “I just need a break…I don’t know when or where I’ll be back.” Shortly after, he changed his Twitter display name to “User Not Found” and replaced his profile picture with a default blank image. He also lost partner status on Twitch.

Many engaged with this sincerely, wishing Blevins a speedy recovery from the burnout that has now become an epidemic among streamers. But the move coincided with the end of his two-year Twitch exclusivity contract – which he first announced in September 2020. Some streamers, like Anys and Hasan “HasanAbi” Piker, suspected a marketing stunt.

This week, they seemed to have been right. Following Anys’ heartfelt video on the subject, the move left a sour taste in many creators’ mouths.

“Seeing Ninja use mental health as a marketing tool to [his] the last adventure is pretty [crummy]”, said a Twitch partner and trainee therapist who goes by the Jebro handle, using a vulgar term for movement. “It further stigmatizes mental health in the realm of streaming. …People have real mental health issues everywhere. It makes me sick, honestly.

From 2021: Ninja’s “Valorant” experience is over, but his team continues

“The ‘User not found’ set [thing] had people legitimately worried because it mimicked a lot of people who suffer from internal demons,” said The champion of “Mario Kart” Bassem “BearUNLV” Dahdouh. “It was terribly executed and anyone who thought it was a good idea has no empathy.”

On Friday, Blevins streamed across all of the aforementioned platforms, trying to juggle chats on Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook — with mixed success. He didn’t read the chat on the platform where he unexpectedly found the most success: TikTok, on which he drew more than 17,000 concurrent viewers, compared to around 13,000 on Twitch, 8,000 on YouTube and 1,000 on Facebook and Twitter. Given that Blevins landed in a similar range on Twitch before the platform switch, you could call it a success – but with the caveat that streamers almost always experience inflated numbers immediately after a big move.

“This is crazy,” he repeatedly said at the start of the stream.

Blevins and Anys aren’t alone when it comes to hitting a wall with live streaming on Twitch. Staying on top requires a grueling schedule and an eagle eye for ever-changing trends, and that’s if you can fight your way to the top in the first place on a platform with well-documented discoverability issues. Even — and perhaps especially — the best are doomed to burnout. Now we’re starting to see not just what comes next for individual creators, but how that inevitability is redefining the idea of ​​what a Twitch streamer even is.

As always, Twitch remains the biggest game in town when it comes to live streaming, but it’s not hard to envision a future in which the majority of current Twitch creators view streaming as a single tool in a much larger cross-platform toolbox, in which only a privileged few consider themselves principally Twitch streamers. Blevins and Anys aren’t the first to turn Twitch from a main gig into a side hustle. They probably won’t be the last.

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