Misfits Gaming has signed Hikaru Nakamura, the five-time U.S. chess champion and one of the most-viewed chess content creators on Twitch, the organization announced today.
The multi-time chess champion is now set to join his second esports organization. Nakamura previously signed with TSM in August 2020 but parted ways with the organization in June 2021.
Chess has seen a meteoric rise on Twitch, quickly becoming one of the platform’s most viewed and most consistent categories since being popularized in 2020. Nakamura, under his channel name GMHikaru, has undoubtedly spearheaded chess’ proliferation in the streaming space. Averaging nearly 10,000 viewers per stream and accruing over 6 million hours watched in 2022, according to Streams Charts, GMHikaru is by far the most-viewed chess influencer on Twitch.
Since turning to streaming, GMHikaru has still maintained a place in high-level chess competition. Notably, the streamer emerged as the 2022 FIDE Grand Prix champion and will compete in the 2022 Candidates Tournament for the potential to enter into the World Chess Tournament.
With Misfits, GMHikaru will continue to produce regular chess content, but the organization hopes to enable other projects of importance to him. “Hikaru will work in collaboration with Misfits Gaming Group on a range of events, video content and streams that not only involve his chess skills, but provide him with the platform and resources to continue developing additional passion projects,” Misfits said in its press release.
Along with maintaining esports teams across League of Legends, Overwatch, and Call of Duty, Misfits has also significantly expanded its influencer division. Over the past year, the group has signed several creators including the likes of Tubbo, Ranboo, Aimsey, and SushiBAE. Though these creators primarily exist in the Minecraft sphere, Misfits may be looking to expand its breadth in streaming and content creation.