Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, a gaming phenom who draws millions of fans to watch him play via streaming, is jumping to Microsoft Corp.’s Mixer platform.
The move is a blow for Amazon.com Inc.’s Twitch, a rival streaming service where Blevins has dominated viewership over the past two years. At 14.7 million followers, he has more than twice as many as the next-closest streamer.
Earlier this year, he set a record of 667,000 viewers watching at once, breaking his own previous record of 628,000.
Luring Blevins, who also streamed on Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube, is a coup for Mixer, a relative upstart in streaming video. Microsoft is betting that Blevins’s appeal will be strong enough to drag esports fans away from the bigger services they’re familiar with.
Blevins, known mainly for playing the battle-royale game Fortnite, will have his first Mixer streaming event Friday through Sunday during the Lollapalooza 2019 music festival in Chicago.
“My roots as a gamer started with Halo, so working with Microsoft and coming over to Mixer felt like a natural next step,” Blevins said in a statement, referring to the Microsoft first-person-shooter game.
Terms of the exclusive contract with Microsoft weren’t disclosed.