Professional CS:GO player turned full-time streamer Michael “shroud” Grzesiek was near the top of every Twitch analytic and statistic imaginable.
With the second-most followed channel on the platform, shroud routinely ended each week in the top rankings for highest-viewed streams. Viewers tuned in nearly every day to watch shroud collect win after win in a variety of games, including Fortnite, Rainbow Six: Siege, PUBG, Apex Legends, and most recently, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
Since moving over to rival platform Mixer, times have changed for the streaming extraordinaire. But despite everything, he’s still at the top of his game.
A former pro
The 25-year-old Toronto native competed with a handful of CS:GO teams until settling down with Cloud9 from 2014 to 2017. In August 2017, shroud stepped down from the lineup and became a full-time streamer for Cloud9 until April 2018 when he announced he was leaving the organization and retiring from pro CS:GO. During his career in the competitive scene, shroud’s teams won an estimated $218,000.
The switch to streaming
Shroud established himself as one of the most dominant forces on Twitch. Beyond his roughly seven million followers and 54,000 subscribers on the platform, shroud boasts almost 1.4 million followers on both Twitter and Instagram and a staggering 5.6 million YouTube subscribers.
Shroud is sponsored by popular endemic sponsors (brands based in the gaming industry) like HyperX and J!nx, but his massive fan base has helped him close deals with non-endemics like Postmates, Madrinas Coffee, and OnePlus. Game developers like Ubisoft, Treyarch, and PUBG Corporation have also sponsored past streams in exchange for shroud playing their games
Shroud sometimes plays games with other streamers like Just9n, Timthetatman, HighDistortion, and Skadoodle. He even jokingly teams up with the “Shroud Army” from time to time, commanding a battalion of stream snipers to do his bidding in games like PUBG. (Warning: explicit language):
In terms of revenue, shroud had one of the best subscription-split contracts on Twitch. When a viewer makes the $4.99 payment to subscribe to a channel, that money is split between the streamer and Twitch. Those with smaller followings get a 50/50 split. But as a streamer’s audience grows, so does their cut. Big streamers typically get $3 per subscription, but with shroud previously being such a giant force, his cut was likely bigger.
Using conservative estimates based on figures from February, shroud was likely making at least $150,000 monthly solely off of subscription revenue. That figure doesn’t include personal donations and contributions from viewers, YouTube revenue, sponsorship contracts, or income from his merchandise.
A new streaming service joins the mix
In a surprise turn of events, shroud moved over to rival streaming service Mixer two months after Tyler “Ninja” Blevins took the plunge. Since then, a slew of Twitch streamers and personalities disembarked from the platform and opted to sign undisclosed contracts with Mixer, YouTube, and even Facebook.
In the months following shroud’s move to Mixer, though, it’s looked bleak. While he may have been on the receiving end of a hefty contract, his viewer count fell dramatically.
Goodbye Mixer, hello Twitch?
Shroud is finally back on the market, eight months after signing a multi-million dollar contract with Mixer.
Microsoft’s four-year-long attempt at dethroning Twitch came to an end on June 22, 2020, when the streaming service shut down and merged with former competitor Facebook Gaming.
Shroud was offered a new deal, according to esports journalist Richard Lewis, but instead chose to opt-out and receive full payment from his contract. This equated to a lump sum of a reported $10 million.
It remains to be seen where shroud will stream next, but a return to Twitch could be the answer. Shroud now has to choose between streaming on Twitch, YouTube, or elsewhere.
From taking home trophies in major CS:GO events to entertaining thousands of people every single stream, shroud has established himself as a true behemoth in the gaming entertainment industry. If you’d like to follow shroud on any of his platforms, he can be found on YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram.