It’s been a long journey to the top for Ninja. But at 28 years old, he’s one of the most popular names in gaming.
By May 2018, he had more than 188,000 Twitch subscribers, a number that dropped by 40,000 in June after taking two days off for E3 2018. These days, though, Ninja streams on Mixer, a streaming platform owned by Microsoft.
Ninja started out as a competitive Halo player in 2009, beginning with Halo 3 and competing in the game for the next seven years through to Halo 5. He competed for teams like Cloud9, Team Liquid, and Renegades, winning a number of tournaments including the MLG Fall Championship 2012.
While still competing in Halo, Ninja branched out into streaming. He started out streaming Halo, and added games like Titanfall and Call of Duty to his schedule. Eventually, he picked up H1Z1, and battle royale titles took him into the next phase of his career.
After H1Z1 came PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Ninja joined Luminosity Gaming. He won the PUBG Gamescom Invitational squads event and moved on to full-time streaming with Fortnite. And that’s when things exploded.
Before jumping to Mixer in August, he was the most popular streamer on Twitch. He had broken just about every record there was, including the one for most concurrent viewers.
On Mixer, Ninja averages about 7,500 viewers. This is obviously a massive drop from the tens of thousands of viewers he was averaging before leaving Twitch. But his multi-year exclusive deal with Mixer is allegedly worth between $20 million and $30 million, according to a talent agency executive who previously worked with Ninja. A Bloomberg report also indicated that top streamers received $40 million deals.
And those figures seem plausible considering Ninja told CNN in a 2018 interview he made nearly $10 million in 2018, with most of that coming from advertisements. Advertisements weren’t a part of Mixer when Ninja signed with it, and while they’ve since been added, it remains unclear how ad revenue is split between the streamer and platform.
So how much does Ninja really make?
Well, it’s murky. Since his move to Mixer, it’s more difficult to track his subscribers, which reportedly reached one million shortly after his arrival to Mixer and 2.3 million in October thanks to a free sub deal. If Ninja and Mixer split the money from those subscribers, then he made at least $500,000 in the first week he streamed on Mixer.
Donations also aren’t exact, but it’s not uncommon for Ninja to rake in hundreds or thousands during a stream through donations alone.
Before moving to Mixer, Ninja said he earned $3.50 for every $4.99 Twitch subscription to his channel. In Mixer’s partner FAQ section, it says it splits “the income of the subscriptions” with partners, although the exact split for Ninja may be more in favor of him than others.
Regardless, it’s hard to imagine Ninja making too much less than he was when he was on Twitch. The money from subscribers and advertisements have almost assuredly decreased, but the multi-million-dollar deal he reportedly signed likely makes up much of the difference.
Update March 9 12:34pm CT: Article updated to include information regarding Ninja’s deal with Mixer.