Ninja, once the biggest streamer in the world, has announced a surprise departure from not only streaming, but his online presence generally. So, is he really leaving Twitch? Where is he now, and when might he return?
From his early days as a professional Halo player, Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins was bound for success in the gaming world, thanks to his rambunctious personality combined with a genuine skill in a variety of games.
After switching from streaming PUBG to Fortnite in 2018, he took over Twitch like no one ever had before, breaking record after record, and then landing a multi-million deal with Mixer, the now-defunct Twitch rival from Microsoft.
After returning to Twitch though, the world had moved on from the Fortnite hype, and Ninja found himself settling into a more middle-of-the-pack spot among the big streamers. On September 1, he surprised everyone by abruptly leaving the internet, renaming himself ‘User Not Found’ on Twitter, and his Twitch channel being unpartnered.
Ninja taking “Time Out”
As is clear from his new Twitter banner, Ninja is just taking a “time out” from the internet for a while, saying in his farewell tweet that he just “needs a break.”
It’s possible that Ninja was just experiencing burnout in the same way many creators do – with Pokimane even announcing her own decision to stream less the very same day.
Ninja had already been streaming a lot less in the month of August, with only six streams in the past two weeks. It’s also notable that Ninja’s wife, Jessica, hadn’t streamed herself at all in the month of August, although her streams had already become more sporadic in 2022.
Ninja had faced some criticism from fellow streamers, after his streaming “Masterclass” series. Disguised Toast said that he was “lying” to people with some of the advice given, Sodapoppin called it a “joke,” and YouTuber Drew Gooden roasted the content after paying for the Masterclass himself.
When will Ninja return?
Fans quickly noticed that his Twitch channel was no longer partnered. Now, we know why.
Ninja announced his return on September 8, revealing that he would no longer be tied down to just a single platform, and instead would be going live across Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, and even TikTok and Instagram.
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This move follows Twitch allowing even partnered streamers to broadcast live on other platforms. However, partners can’t stream on other platforms like YouTube at the same time, so Ninja has pulled a Nadeshot, by foregoing his partnership.
What’s next for Ninja?
Clearly, Ninja isn’t relying on a bumper streaming contract with any one platform for his income. His status as one of the top streamers should allow him to grow audiences across platforms.
One of the challenges with this will be interacting with viewers across lots of platforms, but it’s obviously a challenge he is willing to take on.
Ninja’s announcement of taking a break also came on the same day as Swagg, a Call of Duty streamer on Twitch, moving to YouTube.
“Ninja shared he just needs to take a break with the Partner badge cryptically now absent from his Twitch channel, a move which could signify a platform change is in the works,” said Jason Krebs, CBO at StreamElements.
“It’s clear that the grind of being a full-time Twitch streamer can take its toll and diversifying platforms could be a way to create content regularly in a less time taxing manner, while Swagg’s move shows that YouTube is continuing to invest in acquiring top talent from Twitch, reflecting their commitment to live gaming content.”
Ninja would be a valuable asset to any livestreaming platform, as even though he may not be at his peak from 2018, he still comfortably pulls in 10,000 concurrent viewers at any time, although this can depend heavily on which game he is playing.