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By Shawn Baker

Ninja heads to Microsofts Mixer adding pressure to Amazon, and Google

Ninja announced earlier today that he was moving exclusively to the Microsoft owned streaming platform Mixer. While a surprise, drawing over one of the largest streamers in the world is only good news for Microsoft. More so, the move shows just how serious Microsoft is about its streaming platform which will help create some extremely fierce competition among the key players.

When it comes to streaming we’ve got four key “players” in the space. We use the word “players” quite loosely as Twitch who is owned by Amazon is a clear market leader. Outside of Twitch, the other three major companies that come up in the Western World include the Google owned YouTube Gaming, Facebook, and Mixer. With some of the largest companies in the world behind these streaming services, it comes as no surprise that some serious money is available.

Still, with all this money, Apple TV owners find themselves without a native app for Twitch while 4K streaming continues to be amiss, something offered by both YouTube and Mixer. As we find more and more esport enthusiasts moving away from the computer, and into the lounge to enjoy the biggest tournaments in the world on larger high resolution displays, this continually feels like missed opportunities for the company.

Considering the reported $90m Two-Year Deal for Overwatch League Twitch locked up, you’d like to think the company was making sure that users had the opportunity to enjoy these streams in the highest possible detail across all major viewing platforms.

Twitch isn’t the only company to run into viewing issues. In 2018 we saw ESL sign an exclusive streaming deal with Facebook for their Dota 2 and CS:GO tournaments. While initially running into major production issues, Facebook clearly worked hard to fix the issues with haste helping improve the user experience day by day.

Unfortunately, the lack of anonymity when commenting on the stream along with a year that saw Facebook receive a large amount of attention to the way they collect users data left a lot of people uneasy resulting in some extremely disappointing numbers to some of the biggest Dota 2 and CS:GO events in the world.

Since the ESL deal, it’s not felt like we’ve seen anything major announced for the Facebook platform. Considering the general feelings towards Facebook from the key 15 – 30 year demographic, it will most likely be quite some time before it can truly stand out as a serious space for streamers.

When it comes to YouTube, you have this ability to convert people over from your videos to your streams. Unfortunately, it’s become clear to some of the largest content creators in the world that streaming is a different beast. Creating a video and editing it for your channel is very different to sitting in front of a camera for 8 hours, playing games, and interacting with your audience. The end result has been short bursts in viewership followed by generally low numbers, especially in contrast to their subscriber count.

In the way doing a search on the internet became synonymous with Google, the word streaming for years has been synonymous with Twitch, however, the mainstream nature of Ninja, and his 14.7 million Twitch followers is going to bring Mixer into more conversations.

While ahead in a lot of ways, Twitch sits behind in others. A native app for the Apple TV alongside no 4K streaming sees the leader offer one of the worst viewing experiences. While Ninja is no doubt the biggest name when it comes to the masses, he’s fallen out of the Top 10 most subscribed Twitch Streams recently meaning that streamers like Shroud, Summit1G, DrDisrespect, and TimTheTatMan could be lucrative pick ups for either Mixer or YouTube.

While Ninja moving to Mixer might sound like the biggest news for most, regular viewers of Twitch no doubt understand that some huge names and audiences are up for grabs. If we see another major streamer move to Mixer along with a major esport event broadcasted in 4K, the streaming space is going to become more competitive than ever.

In the end, the real winners of the streaming war are going to be viewers as the biggest companies in the world work towards making sure they’re the place to watch everything gaming! If pressure from Microsoft and Google elevate Twitch to offering a higher level viewing experience, and that in turn pushes Microsoft and Google even more, the landscape of streaming over the next few years is going to be extremely interesting.

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