Fame has never scared Ninja. In a recent interview for 100 Thieves’ YouTube channel, the blue-haired Fortnite streamer spoke with Nadeshot, CouRage, and WillNeff about his family, career, and the infamous Mixer debacle.
Ninja’s departure from Twitch and move to Mixer back in 2019 was a huge moment in gaming history. It signaled a potential shift in the future of live-streaming platforms that, unfortunately, never came to fruition. But Mixer’s failure and subsequent shutdown last year put Ninja back on the market and ultimately led him back to Twitch.
In the interview, Ninja explained that he tried his best to bring his community over from Twitch to Mixer. He admitted that his efforts were not successful. Mixer simply couldn’t gain traction with Ninja’s community for a number of reasons. One of those issues was their clunky user onboarding process.
“Both my brothers and my wife needed actual Microsoft assistants to make an account…it was just ridiculous,” Ninja said.
He explained that Mixer requiring all users to have a Microsoft email in order to sign up was a misstep. Additionally, Mixer auto-assigned usernames upon registration, which made it cumbersome for users to choose their own name on the platform. Clearly, Mixer’s UX design needed improvement.
Ninja said there was a proverbial wall in his relationship with Mixer. His team told the platform what they believed was preventing people from joining, but Mixer said that it would have to run every change by Microsoft. Mixer also told Ninja that it would take a year before any changes his team suggested could be implemented.
CouRage agreed that because Microsoft is one of the biggest companies in the world, it made sense that approvals would take a long time. He compared Mixer to YouTube Gaming, another entity that is a part of a much larger corporate bureaucracy.
But Mixer’s ultra-low-latency technology was one of Ninja’s favorite things about the platform. “They had so much potential,” he said. “We really believed in Mixer.”
But Ninja highlighted user retention as a major issue that led to Mixer’s failure.
“If it wasn’t Fortnite, and I wasn’t winning every other game…you weren’t getting 8k or 9k [viewers],” Ninja said of his Mixer streams. He said that on Mixer, he could reach 10,000 concurrent viewers, but only if he streamed exclusively Fortnite for more than 10 hours a streaming session.
“I was streaming double my hours,” Ninja explained. “I had a 150-hour requirement, I was doing 300 easy. I wanted [Mixer] to win…I was streaming double my requirement for six months straight and it still didn’t work out. It wasn’t for lack of want.”
Nadeshot asked Ninja if he found out early that Microsoft was shutting down Mixer. Ninja admitted that they didn’t know ahead of time and weren’t prepared for Mixer’s closure.
“We were having phone calls with our team and they were like, ‘Guys, it’s not looking good. We don’t know what’s going to happen but some decisions are being made,'” Ninja revealed. “And we found out like 72 hours, 48 hours before it happened.”
But Ninja knew that no matter what happened, his legal team would protect him and ensure he wasn’t penalized for Mixer’s failure. In a way, Mixer’s shutdown was a blessing in disguise.
“When someone tells you you’re getting out a year early with your deal and you’re still being taken care of [financially]…it was a celebration in the Blevins household, obviously,” Ninja said.
On his return to Twitch, Ninja debated with his team for a month and a half before making a decision. And he felt conflicted—part of him longed to return to the streaming grind while another part of him recognized that money can’t buy happiness.
When asked if he has any regrets, Ninja said that he doesn’t but could have streamed more Fortnite when he initially returned to Twitch. “Everything I’ve done has lead to what I have right now,” he said.