Last week, eSports celebrity and Fortnite star, Ninja, announced he was leaving the popular video game streaming platform, Twitch, for Microsoft’s Mixer. The news came as a big blow to Twitch and a huge development for Mixer as Ninja is widely recognized as one of the most popular eSport athletes in the world.
Ninja characterized the switch as “an opportunity to get back in touch with his roots and remember why he fell in love with streaming” in a creative video activated on social media. Mixer is a much smaller streaming platform than Twitch so having Ninja on board should provide a tremendous boost for the Microsoft owned platform.
Ninja has a huge following across multiple media platforms. Previously videos that Ninja streamed through Twitch were posted to his other social accounts like Youtube and Instagram where millions more people were able to consume his content. Since switching to Mixer, Ninja has cutdown on his cross-platform promotion, posting very little anywhere besides Mixer. This strategy will help Mixer grow as a brand, as consumers will be forced to come to Mixer to see their favorite eSport star.
Ninja’s new deal represents the future for eSports. The world is becoming increasingly digital and eSport athletes have massive star power in the digital space. Companies have already begun contracting with eSport players for endorsement and influencing deals. This trend will continue as eSports continue to grow in popularity.
The massive growth of eSports is due to the digital age that society is immersed in. The digital era has been accompanied by the need for constant connection. eSports offers instant interaction that other popular sports leagues like the NFL and NBA don’t. At anytime of the day anywhere in the world, a consumer can log on to the web and watch someone play a live video game. Traditional sports leagues can’t offer this constant connection to live content. Due to this, eSports will continue to grow. As society becomes increasingly digital, eSports will continue to rise in popularity.
This represents not only an opportunity for streaming companies like Twitch and Mixer but also traditional B2C brands like Nike and Coke. As eSports continue to rise, more virtual athletes will become stars. Companies will start to endorse with these athletes more and more, similar to endorsement deals you see with other world renowned athletes.
Keep an eye out to see if any other popular eSport athletes take their talents to other streaming services and also look out for eSport athletes in corporate digital advertising efforts.