Shroud is the second big Twitch streamer to leave the platform for Mixer, after “Fortnite” star Ninja made the move in August. Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek, 25, often beat out Ninja’s Twitch streams over the year in hours watched. He often plays shooter games like “Counter Strike,” “Apex Legends” and “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.”
In August, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins said he would stream exclusively on three-year-old Mixer, after making millions of dollars from advertising and donations on Twitch, propelling himself and the platform into stardom. He said he was returning to his “streaming roots,” a vague statement many took to mean getting back to a smaller platform where he is the star. In October, his wife, Jessica Blevins, told media that the contract with Mixer allowed Ninja to take on more brand deals.
Shroud wouldn’t say whether Ninja’s move influenced his decision and whether his Mixer contract had better terms than his deal with Twitch. His team declined to share financials of the deal.
“The move to Mixer allows me to focus on what I love: gaming,” Shroud told CNN Business on Thursday, “It allows me to focus on livestreaming for my fans and directly engage with more interactivity and variety.”
Although Ninja gave a boost to Mixer’s numbers, it still makes up just 3.2% of the overall market in terms of hours watched, according to StreamElements, a company that provides tools for streamers and publishes quarterly reports on the state of streaming. (Twitch, by comparison made up 75.6% of hours watched in the latest quarter.)
Mixer had more than 30 million monthly active users as of August. Twitch currently has more than 15 million daily active visitors, but declined to share how many people use the service each month.
Shroud’s move also demonstrates Microsoft’s willingness to buy up more content creators. And if one or two of them boost numbers significantly, adding more could increase Mixer’s competitiveness against Twitch, analysts speculate.
“Shroud’s move to Mixer tells you exactly how serious Microsoft is about owning relevant talent and content creators in ramping up its games business,” said Joost van Dreunen, managing director at SuperData, a Nielsen company that analyzes the video game industry.
“Already on social media, you’re seeing people say, ‘maybe I’m going to stream on Mixer,'” said Doron Nir, CEO of StreamElements. “These are ripples but eventually ripples turn into a wave. We don’t know when it could reach critical mass.”
Another Twitch rival Caffeine announced Thursday that rapper Offset will stream exclusively with it. “As we always say on the internet, content is king,” said Nir.